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Athletes: Neither Patriots or Role Models

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Some of you may know that I used to be active duty in the military before leaving the service and joining the corporate America rat race. A couple of years later, it felt like something was "missing" in the corporate culture so I actually signed back up for the Army Reserves. There were many reasons behind it but one in particular was to belong to something that had more big picture significance than just end of year profits. So until my new unit comes on-line I am temporarily part of the 77th RRC until they deactivate. As such, whatever they’ve got scheduled for weekend drill I am subjected to until we begin our mission.

After ninety years, the 77th RRC is being deactivated this month. Amongst the various pomp and circumstance occasions associated with the deactivation was a showing at Shea Stadium. Once there, we gaggled onto the field …. unfortunately I must say gaggle. Perhaps one of my misguided stereotypes of the Reserves was that they did nothing but drill and ceremony all day. Maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t, but I can say without hesitation that these Reservists cannot march in formation worth a damn.

Before I sidetrack myself, we gaggled onto the field where the Mets staff lined us up along the foul ball line. The color guard (who did perform well) marched the colors onto the field and someone sang the Star Bangled Banner. Now this leads me to my perturbation. Unless my eyes deceived me, only six or seven Mets actually took the field for the National Anthem. I could not see behind me, but if the Braves stood in the same place as the Mets players across from me, then not one Brave took the field. Across the way, I could see into the Mets dugout where I saw one player just smacking a baseball bat into his cup at this time.

Seriously? The professional athlete as a patriotic role model has fallen a long way. Too lazy to even make it to the field, let alone the dugout. Too lazy to even stand up with any sense of respect. Too lazy to stop playing with their genitals with a baseball bat. I remember going from being a die hard baseball fan to losing complete interest in the sport after the 1994 baseball strike. Fourteen years of bitterness later, I don’t think the Mets or the Braves did anything to reinvigorate my interest in baseball after that display of self interest. I suppose these athletes struck a special chord of discontent with me considering I never would have seen it if the bug of patriotism not caused me to be there in the first place.

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