Remember when we used to have inspirational sports stories of great accomplishments against all the odds, when there would be movies based on true sports stories that always made people cry, when people would watch athletes do incredible things and never utter a sound except for a possible “wow” in hushed and amazed tones?
That was a nicer time, wasn’t it?
Sadly, that world no longer seems to exist. Today’s inspirational sports stories are one of two things: riddled by questions of what’s going on behind the scenes (basically anything with steroids) or just waiting for that other pin to drop, for the horrible aftershock to come ripping through and destroy whatever inspirations existed before.
We’ve had quite a few of these aftershocks in recent years. The first (and still possibly the biggest) domino to fall was Tiger Woods, he of the perfect swing and even better life. Until, you know, the world learned he was doing all sorts of Charlie Sheen-esque things behind closed doors.
Since Tiger’s fall from grace, we’ve had some strange ones, the most relevant being the double whammy of Manti Te’o and Lance Armstrong. We all know the stories: two inspirational tales torn apart by lies and manipulations and now lacking almost all of what made them shine to begin with.
And now we have the saddest of all. Oscar Pistorious, famed for being the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympics, was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend this past week. Whether he is found guilty of the crime or not is irrelevant to the story at this point — already the inspiration is gone. The man the world cheered on is now being torn apart, and could spend his life in prison for committing a terrible crime.
These stories are merely the biggest of the inspirational tales lacking in staying power, and set a terrible trend for the future. What if we never see something again in sports which can truly inspire us? We certainly seem to be heading that way.
So to any athletes who might inspire us soon, hear my plea. Don’t do anything to lose your luster.
In the meantime, I’m going to go watch “Remember the Titans,” recall a more pleasant time, and have a good cry.