AMERICANS WANT SPORTS TO BE SOCIALIST, BUT NOT THEIR LIVES

Thursday, September 21, 2006

On a quiet Monday morning before work, a lower-middle-class man flips through his newspaper to the sports section, to read about the New York Yankees' clinching of the American League East for the eighth straight season. "What a surprise," the man thinks to himself, "They only have $200 million to work with."

He turns the page to a headline that reads, "Bonds hits career homerun 732," and grunts disapprovingly. "This megalomaniac will stop at nothing to succeed. He doesn't deserve anything he has; he took the job of someone more deserving by taking steroids."

With a few minutes to spare, he logs onto the Internet with something to write on his blog. "How to Fix Baseball," he calls it. A bulleted list follows:

Proud of himself, he drives to the office for the usual nine-to-fiver in his 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Because of his low income, he hasn't been able to fix up the car the way he'd like to, and as a result, his car breaks down on the highway. Coincidentally, his boss -- running a bit late -- drives past him in his new 2007 Audi A8. The fact that he makes nearly half as much money as his boss doesn't even cross his mind, and just marvels at the coincidence. "At least he knows I'm not lying," he chides to himself.

His car is towed and he finally arrives at his office forty-five minutes late, immediately logging onto his computer at work after a brief discussion with his boss. Out of sheer curiosity, he opened up the Recycle Bin on his desktop, and saw that his resume file was in the trash. He restored the file and opened it to see what he had written. He laughed at how every other statement on his resume was made up:

"I wonder if I ever would have been given this job if I hadn't lied on my resume," he thought.

Afer wasting seven more hours at work, he was given a ride home with a co-worker. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, they turn on the sports talk radio, where the topic is the Yankees.

"Turn it up, man, I want to hear what they have to say about these losers."

The radio personalities lauded the Yankees for their success and ability to overcome several key injuries and a slow start to the season.

"Well, what do you expect, they have money coming out of their ears!"

His co-worker agrees, "I'm sick and tired of these goons throwing money around while my team can barely afford to keep the lights on at the ballpark."

They arrive at his house a few minutes before seven o'clock.

"Hey, the Yankees game is coming on in a couple minutes, want to come in and have a beer?" His co-worker informs him that he's got nothing better to do, so they walk up the steps to the house.

"Wow, nice digs," gawks the co-worker.

"Yeah, I gambled on a horse race and it paid off."

"Eh, you got the money to toss it on a horse like that -- wish I could do that; I'm paying alimony and I can barely afford to drive to work."

"You're a sucker, I quit my job before I went to court so I wouldn't have to pay it," quips the man as he handed his friend a beer. They turned on ESPN for the weekly Red Sox-Yankees game, and their introductory piece centered around the Yankees, especially Jason Giambi.

"Giamboids!" he hollered at the television. "Cheater, go back to Oakland you loser!"

"Man, I hate baseball nowadays. Used to be every team was just about equal and no one had to do anything to get ahead of the other guy."

His co-worker was puzzled. "You talkin' about Sweden?"

"Huh?"

"You know, Sweden. No one has to compete or anything, they're pretty much equal; it's socialist."

His hypocrisy hit him like an anvil: his denouncement of cheating athletes while cheating on his resume to get a job; his denouncement of inequality in sports while supporting the inequality in his daily life. "It would be nice," he mused, "to not have to resort to barbaric behavior to get ahead in democracy."