Maybe it’s me, I don’t know. But 20 years ago, you wouldn’t see current and former pro athletes crying all over the place like they do today. They wouldn’t get away with it. Sure, you’d see guys getting emotional after they won or lost a big game. I can’t forget the image of Larry Bowa sitting in front of his locker after the Phils lost a playoff series in the mid-1970s, his elbows resting on his knees and his head bowed down staring at the floor. All you saw was the back of his curly black mane as he spoke in between muffled sobs about how depressing it was to lose, after such a successful season and how it was going to be hard for him to get over the depression he was experiencing. The picture is indelible.
And understandable. Even for that time.
This time is obviously different. Now it seems everywhere you look, there’s some dude in a uniform or who previously wore a uniform crying. Over nothing.
It’s enough to shout: What the hell is going on here? Have all of our sports heroes turned into menopausal china dolls?
Has someone slipped an extra dose of estrogen into a generation of athletes that we don’t know about? Think about it. We have Jeremy Roenick getting all choked up because … “it’s the Blackhawks, man, the Blackhawks.” This comes a night after the Lakers’ Derek Fisher got all gooey after an exceptional game in which he led Los Angeles to a Game 3 victory over the Celtics, pushing the Lakers to a 2-1 series lead.
I can see getting all welled up over winning another NBA title for Fisher. I can even give Roenick a pass–if he just finished playing in his last NHL game. I just can’t see nor imagine guys crying in front of TV cameras at the flick of a switch. I can’t. Maybe I’m missing something. Are today’s athletes more in touch with their feminine sides? If they are, fine, they don’t need to share it in front of millions.
Call me old school, but I can’t see Fisher or Roenick getting away with the teary-eyed act 20 years ago. Someone would have called them out on it. It’s why I loved what Angelo did this morning with JR, who made some valid points why he got emotional after seeing the Blackhawks hoist the Cup for the first time since 1961. But correct me if I’m wrong, hasn’t it been some time since Roenick last wore a Blackhawks’ sweater?
In fact, it’s been 14 years since Roenick wore a Chicago jersey. And he didn’t exactly depart the Windy City on the best of circumstances. Let’s say it was a frosty exit, after JR claimed the ‘Hawks turned their back on him. Give JR points for maintaining his passion to one of his former teams, though he’s on a different team today as an NHL analyst. It’s a position that sometimes requires experts to remove themselves emotionally from the games they’re asked to break down. JR forgot that. For a second there, he thought it was about him.
As for Fisher, I have no idea where that burst of tears came from. He was magnificent in leading the Lakers past the tired, old Celtics and maybe his emotions got the better of him. This whole outpouring of emotions reminds of a great scene in the movie “The Dirty Dozen,” when the Lee Marvin character turns to a superior officer he just angered after duping him, sarcastically saying, “I didn’t know you were you so … emotional.”
Maybe it’s something I have to digest when it comes to the modern, new-wave athlete that plays our games today. Maybe there is crying in today’s hockey, baseball, basketball and football. I just never got the memo or press release.