One of my favorite features on NPR is Frank Deford's commentary every Wednesday during Morning Edition.
Yes, it's about sports. No, I don't give one rat's tail about sports.
But it's really less about sports and more about his love of the game...any game...and Mr. Deford's delivery that I particularly adore.
This morning, he offered up commentary on the government's role in cracking down on doping among athletes. And I'll be the first to confess, I've never understood why the government ever gets involved in these kinds of cases. Why the congressional hearings? Why the federal charges? It was something I never understood. What a waste of time. What a waste of money. Isn't there something better - less trivial - for our government to do?
And then? Mr. Deford comes along and says this (emphasis mine):
The goal of sports is victory, but the essence is fairness. What's the first question a kid asks entering a game? "What are the rules?"
If we Americans don't accept playing by the rules in sport, where else do we lay down that marker? That's what's serious about sport, and why, yes, although we are weary of all the doping distractions, why it is worth the while of governments to go after athletes — especially the celebrities — who might have cheated their games and cheated what a very visual institution in our society teaches us.
Yes, it's time and money. But yes, it's only fair.
Oh. Huh. I hadn't thought of it quite in that way.
All of a sudden, it doesn't seem so trivial.
Fair is fair! \0/
PS Hee hee. Billie Jean references in a post about sports. Who is awesome? Jane is awesome.
PPS If you've never heard Frank Deford on the radio, you should listen to the story and tell me he doesn't have a wonderful radio delivery. I won't believe you. I may convince you.