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Sports commentary: Oops! We did it again!

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The People-ization of sports

By Mike Forster

  Wake up, people!  Your sports are being over-taken.

In what seems to be a nefarious plot, we're witnessing the People-ization of sports.

That's my term for it, anyway.  Just as People magazine gets all goofy about, well, people, we're witnessing the same thing happening from publications that are ostensibly dedicated to sports.

Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, sports sections of daily newspapers:  They're all guilty.

It used to be that these august journals focused on who won the big game, the strategy involved in devising the win and the big plays that made it happen.

Stories about individual performers usually focused on a player's knowledge, skills and abilities relative to his (or her) sport.

Not anymore.

Now, the focus is on the human side of things.  Let's take this past weekend's Daytona 500 as an example.

The lead headlines screamed in 60-point lettering:

"DANICA'S TOP TEN FINISH"

In smaller-case font underneath that screamer was:

"Oh, Yeah.  Some Johnson Guy won the Daytona 500"

Similarly, last fall, the greater Washington area was struck by RGIII fever.  Sportswriters and editors became positively giddy over the exploits of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

My belief is that he is a very gifted athlete, who seems like a fine young man.  He certainly knows how to play some quarterback.  Others felt more strongly.  Hence, we had game headlines such as:

"RGIII SCORES FOUR TDs"

With a sub-headline: 

"IS A LOCK FOR ROOKIE OF THE YEAR"

With another sub:

"QB EATS SUBWAY SUB AFTER GAME"

And, finally, in the small print:

"Redskins make playoffs"

OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  Still, you can't deny that the human side of sports has overtaken the degree of coverage of the games, themselves.

To wit:  Why is it, at the end of the winter Olympics, you know the life history of every figure skater, but still have no idea what a triple axle is?

Or:  Which got more attention in the immediate aftermath of this year's Super Bowl, the superb play of Raven quarterback Joe Flacco or the insults tweeted out about Ray Lewis by Wes Welker's wife?

Or:  Do you know more about college football kingpin Alabama's defense or about its quarterback's girlfriend?

We here at the Bedford Bulletin have not sipped from the People Kool-Aid.  We like to think we stay true to the spirit of sports.

Call us old-fashioned, but we think that fine play, sportsmanship, athletic prowess and winning are what matter most.

Leave the celebrity side of sports where it belongs:  In the gossip magazines.

*****

In a completely unrelated development, it's been reported via several reputable news sources that the new romantic interest of Britney Spears is David Lucado.

Why does this matter to you, the readers of the Bedford Bulletin sports pages?  Well, it seems that Mr. Lucado played golf for Jefferson Forest.  In fact, he helped the Cavs qualify for the State tournament in 2003.

He's now living in Los Angeles and has been spotted on a few outings with sultry songbird Spears.

It is not every day that someone with a Bedford County sports connection takes up with someone who has sold over 100 million albums and been named by Forbes as the highest-paid musician of 2012.

Besides her musical talent, she's, well, she's Britney Spears, for crying out loud.

At this point, we're debating shifting the coverage of our sports section from local preps to 100% coverage of Britney, David and golf.

Or, we might just ignore the whole thing, wish the young man good luck in all of his ventures and keep our noses out of places they don't belong.

Yeah.  That's the ticket.