Russ Kent column: No real sports on TV? I’m surprisingly OK with that


When it comes to sports on TV, absence makes the heart go wander.

I haven’t watched a meaningful sporting event on TV for more than three months.

And I’m doing just fine.

A couple of weeks ago, after a Sunday morning golf game, while sitting in a local restaurant, I watched as ESPN personalities were having some kind of virtual bike competition. While I admire their determination and their stamina, I rather watch paint dry that watch sports personalities exercise.

On another channel was, I think, a Korean baseball league game. No thanks.

There were at least 10 TVs. All had some kind of sporting endeavor.

How memorable were they? I have no clue what was on the other TVs.

No March Madness. No Masters. No NBA. No spring college football. No Major League Baseball.

And you know what, I really am doing just fine.

I do miss high school sports. Mostly I fell terrible that a lot of good athletes around here never got to experience that last season. If just disappeared. At the snap of a finger, their high school seasons were over.

I feel their pain.

But the more crap thrown at me by those TV networks that live and die on the popularity of sports, the less I miss it.

Virtual auto racing? Come on! Seriously! People watch that?

What was it? Ten — or maybe 100 nights — of Michael Jordan. I’m sick of Michael. I was sick of Michael before COVID-19.

Yep, Michael was one of the best. He was also a bit of a selfish jerk, and that’s one of the reasons he was so great. But I felt no obligation to watch 10 nights of Michael Jordan. I didn’t even watch one night.

And thy question I wanted answered was never even brought up. Why did he really leave basketball and take a shot at pro baseball? I don’t believe the story that’s been told for more than 20 years. But that’s a secret I feel will go to the grave of the two or three people who really know what happened.

Enough with the Michael Jordan worship?

Another series was, or will be, about Lance Armstrong? I don’t even know if this one has aired yet. That’s how little I care about watching anything else about this guy. He won. He lied. He cheated. He threw dozens under the bus on the way to fooling Americans.

There ya go, all you need to know about Lance Armstrong.

Play back that special about Andre the Giant. Or give me a 10-part series about Rick Flair. Throw in some tidbits about Johnny Powers, The Sheik, Ernie the Big Cat Ladd or Bobo Brazil. At least I understood that the personalities those guys showed to the world day after day for years weren’t real.

They were fake. They were made up. Everyone knew it. Everyone was in on the joke. And professional wrestling fans loved it.

In other sports you never know someone is a fraud until they get caught.

They lie, TV talkers spread the lies, and we believe the lies … over and over and over again.

It’s weird. There seems to be a lot more honesty in professional wrestling that in big-time pro sports these days.

I’d rather listen to Nancy Pelosi stumble through a live news conference than listen to most pro athletes expound about … well, nothing. And then have to listen as well-paid sports talkers relay and then try to analyze that nothingness.

I hear the NBA is putting together some kind of tournament at Disney World in Florida. Do I care? Nope. Will I watch? Absolutely not!

Major League Baseball is contemplating a 50-game season. But billionaire owners and millionaire players can’t come together on a way to share their wealth? I find that ironic.

I hate to see anyone lose potential income. Even millionaires live on a budget … a budget much larger than mine … but a budget nonetheless.

So I do feel for some of the players and their families, but I’m having trouble finding any empathy for team owners.

Out of sight. Out of mind.

That is more true of baseball than other pro sports I think. I have been sitting here for five minutes trying to come up with the names of 10 members of the Cleveland Indians. I can’t.

If no ball is played in 2020. By 2021, I may not know the name of a single player.

If they have real golf on TV — with fans — I will watch. Especially the U.S. Open and TPC and PGA Championship, and maybe even the Memorial in a few weeks. But golf without a fans cheering or booing doesn’t seem like as much fun. It seems more like a job than a sport!

And watching people work just isn’t that much fun for me.

I will miss college football or pro football. But if it is played in front of empty stadiums, it loses a lot of interest for me.

I hope I get my passion back for sports.

I don’t know … and I guess at this point in time I don’t care that much.

The Browns left Cleveland once. My feelings for pro football has not been the same since. There was at least anger about the Browns leaving.

Now? There are no feelings at all. I just don’t care.

This lull is different. There was no strike to disrupt play.

A virus stopped sports in America. I didn’t see it coming. No one did.

How will it play out?

I don’t know. And I’m really not that anxious to find out.

How about you?

Photo courtesy
"The Last Dance: was a 10-part series about the greatness of Michael Jordan and his relationship other members of the Chicago Bulls. It appeared recently on ESPN. courtesy
"The Last Dance: was a 10-part series about the greatness of Michael Jordan and his relationship other members of the Chicago Bulls. It appeared recently on ESPN.

Email Russ Kent at [email protected]

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