I hate hypocrisy. Just the notion of saying one thing and doing another drives me nuts. That’s why writing this blog is going to suck. (I’m sure reading it won’t be much of a picnic either.)
In 1987 you weren’t going to find a bigger Mark McGwire fan outside of Oakland, California than me. Mark played first base, I played first base. My sister was dating the brother of Iowa’s second-string quarterback. Mark McGwire’s brother Dan was Iowa’s first-string quarterback. In my eleven-year-old mind we were practically related.
When McGwire was traded to my beloved St. Louis Cardinals in 1997, that cemented it. Here was the guy who was going to take the reigns of my baseball allegiance in the post-Ozzie Smith world.
But, a funny thing happened on the way to 70 homeruns…allegations of steroid use sprung up around my new favorite. I always gave him the benefit of the doubt; innocent until proven guilty and all. But, that only held up until he showed up at a Congressional hearing unwilling to talk about the past.
I wasn’t in denial. I knew that his statements were basically a coward’s admission of guilt. So, I boxed up all my McGwire stuff and put it in the basement.
(Oddly enough, that box of shame now houses a ton of Chris Benoit stuff. Maybe the lesson here is; never be one of Gordon’s favorite athletes.)
I hate when athletes are bad role models. I know that it’s kind of ridiculous for us to treat young men like gods and then expect them to have morals consistent with the rest of us, but I still hold out hope. But the truth is, we’ve become so used to athletes letting us down, that we’re shocked when someone doesn’t. When someone looks at Albert Pujols with his dedication to his family, his humanitarian trips to the Dominican Republic, and his Down syndrome charity, you have to assume he has a legion of dead hookers in the trunk of his car.
What’s worse are the fans who defend athletes who are obviously creeps. The Giants fans who looked the other way during Barry Bonds’s run on the single-season homerun record and those who vilified Jenn Sterger during the Brett Favre debacle drove me nuts.
And now I’m going to join them.
You see, I graduated from Penn State University…but I don’t give a crap about Penn State football. Why? Because I was brought up rooting for the orange and blue of Auburn University. The team that enjoys confusing the nation by being known as the Tigers and responding to the battle cry, “War Eagle!”
Why do I root for a school from a state I’ve never lived in? Because my dad lives and dies for their football program.
My dad’s an interesting fellow. He’s very even tempered. I’d assume most people have never seen him lose his cool. But when it comes time for the Tigers to take the field he gets quite animated.
And if you haven’t been paying attention to this season’s college football standings, his Auburn Tigers will be squaring off against the Oregon Ducks for the national championship tonight.
I’ll be there with him. Rooting for the Tigers to take home their first official national championship since they were awarded one by the Associated Press in 1957.
So where does this hypocrisy come in, Gordon?
Well, look to your left. The handsome guy you see there is named Cam Newton. He’s electrifying to watch, has skin that seems like it was made for high definition, and is the most recent recipient of the Heisman Trophy.
Oh…and he might be involved in some shady dealings.
I’m not going to go into all the details, but the fact is I realize I’m viewing him differently based on who he plays for and what his leading Auburn to a national title will mean to my dad.
So, I suck.
And War Eagle.