Category Archives: Point of Contention

Point of Contention: Do Emo kids have a place in sports?

You’ve seen them, of course. They walk amongst the shadows, clutter your local food court, constantly amble with a hanging head, and maintain a leering glare. They grow their hair out to obscure their faces, dress in dark attire, and seek the public attention they so desperately crave at home. They are like the Children of the Corn, except the Children of the Corn had a purpose and direction; these kids do not. They skip middle school classes, listen to teeny rock, and prepare for the angst and social awkwardness of their undoubtedly weird transition into adulthood. Yes, by now you may have figured out who we’re talking about. They are Emo kids, and they are the face of American youth. From Gen-X, to Gen-Next, to Gen-Y, we’ve reached Gen-Zero, an entire generation of adolescents charactized by their absolute nothingness.

Outside of skateboarding, Emo (short for “emotional) kids aren’t known as avid sportsmen. At one time or another, they may have been forced onto a court or field by an all-too-pushy parent, but by the time they’ve crossed over to the dark side, athletics are little more than a distant memory. At this point, they’re more concerned with the prospect of piercings and tattoos, or the staging of a perfect self-taken bathroom shot of teenage misery to post on MySpace. Nevertheless, in our sports-frenzied society, we have to ask the critical questions of how athletics and culture can intertwine to produce sweet, sweet beautiful love. All of which leads us to the question of whether Emo kids do or do not have a place in sports. Without further ado, we’ll examine both sides of the argument.

Pro: Emo kids do have a place in sports. I have a great idea. Let’s say a Major League Baseball team has an “Emo Night” event. They hire a popular Emo rock band to play a postgame concert, and offer reduced admission to Emo kids with a paying adult (scratch that, no paying adult required…their parents don’t love them, after all). Of course, there has to be a catch, and there is. The catch is the Emo kids must submit to a haircut and an exchange of clothing at the gate; a well-coiffed ‘do in place of the long, dark locks, and a normal person’s wardrobe instead of those goofy-ass skintight disasters they buy at Value Village. It’s not unlike the scene in Return of the Jedi when Luke removes Darth Vader’s helmet and essentially turns him into the peaceful Anakin Skywalker once again. It’s not just an isolated incident; it’s an entire statement about life.

From a societal standpoint, the transformation has multiple repercussions. One, the sports franchise willing to stage this endeavour has quite possibly created a repeat customer who will be overwhelmed by sports fanaticism. Two, the younger Emos may be intervened during a point early enough in their Emoism to give athletics a try on their own; rather than just their lame-o attempts at skateboarding, they may take up baseball, basketball, football, or any other sport that frowns upon, rather than embraces, the use of mass quantities of hashish to drive success. Three, by capturing Emos and exposing them to athletics, we will accelerate their extinction and incorporate a whole new set of fans into the world of sports; in doing so, we will keep our world thriving and avoid the downfall of sports franchises, sports media, and anything else sports related. Diabolical.

My backup plan is much more simple. We submit the Emos to an all-day marathon of ESPN’s First and 10. I have a feeling they’ll establish a connection with Skip Bayless, slowly but surely drawing them into the sports spectrum. Also, it’s quite possible that Bayless is one of them. Two birds, one stone.

Con: Emo kids do not have a place in sports. Let’s face it, this is a lost cause. Emo kids hate stuff, and sports can be tough to hate. The only way this will work is if we send them all to Detroit. There, they can quickly adapt to the atmosphere of losing and fall in love with the misery that is the Motor City sports scene. Of course, we don’t have the funding to do that, so our attempts to convert the unconverted are simply futile.

For example, what are Emos in Florida supposed to do? The Florida Gators have won two football and two basketball National Championships in the past five years. That culture of winning will repel Emos quicker than sunlight and happiness. The bright blue-and-orange color scheme probably won’t perform any miracles either.

On top of that, everyone knows Emo kids are completely unathletic. Have you ever seen an Emo throw a football? Of course not, his hand would melt and his parents might appreciate him, two things most Emos try to avoid. Even running track might be a stretch for most Emo kids. The exposure to that much sunlight could be harmful to their pale, sensitive skin…and it’s really tough to run in nut-hugging, button-fly jeans.

Sports doesn’t need Emos, and Emos don’t need sports. The love Emos could receive from sports would likely overwhelm them and possibly short-circuit their brains. Their home life might be repaired, and they might develop some semblance of a personality. They might possibly spend their Saturdays in the gym instead of walking the mall, shopping despite the fact that they have no money. They may become better human beings, establish a future, and actually become whole again. These are all things we don’t need.
Okay, so there you have it, both sides of the argument. Now it’s your turn. Take a moment to share your thoughts on Emo kids and their place in sports. Thanks for reading, and for chipping in your opinion.

Point of Contention: McGwire should be in Hall of Fame

Point of Contention is a new segment where we will weigh in on controversial topics in today’s sports world. As always, we encourage you, our readers, to provide your opinions as well.

I don’t have a say in which ex-players are elected to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, but if I did, I would vote Mark McGwire in every single chance I got. Blasphemy, I know. I don’t even really like McGwire, nor am I a fan of any of the teams he played on, but the fact that the media has so blatantly warped our perception on one of the greatest first basemen to ever play the game is a tragedy and speaks to society’s tendency to believe anything they hear on the radio, read in newspapers, or see on TV. Why elect a man who so many have turned against, you ask? Simple: besides giving a wishy-washy testimony about steroids in front of a judge, McGwire never did anything that was explicitly wrong during his playing career. And because of that reason alone, it’s unfair of the people given the task of turning mortal men into immortal legends to stick their noses in the air at one of the game’s greats, simply because it’s the popular choice.

Allow me to elaborate, if you will. In my mind, I’d say there’s about a 99% chance that Mark McGwire used steroids in some form or fashion during his playing career. That said, he never tested positive for steroid use, nor was convicted of using any form of steroids after his playing career was over. But one look at the physical transformation he made from beanpole to goliath during a short period around the late-1980’s to early-1990’s would insinuate that something beyond nature was taking its toll on the Oakland first baseman. The fact that McGwire has opted not to discuss steroid usage over the years doesn’t help his case either, nor does his admitted use of androstenedione (andro), a steroid-like substance that is now banned by most sports leagues, including Major League Baseball (though it wasn’t banned when McGwire was using it). Even under the strictest interpretation of the law, McGwire is guilty of nothing more than possession of a weak moral code, perhaps, for not standing up and admitting any wrongdoing. Beyond that, the man is innocent and should be viewed as such by our holier than thou society.

Secondly, take a look at the players who preceded McGwire in the game of baseball. In books and articles chronicling the game as far back as the 1950’s, former players have openly admitted to using substances which would now be considered steroids. Many of those players are in the Hall of Fame (Mickey Mantle, a known abuser of “greenies”–aka today’s ‘roids–may be the most notable). Many more Hall of Famers, I’m sure, have used steroids and simply not owned up to it. We can overlook the faults of these ex-greats because they played in an era in which media was limited to primetime television news and daily newspapers. Now, however, in an age where information is up-to-the-second and everyone (myself included) has an opinion on everything, we see a man like McGwire, who twenty years earlier would be a lock for the Hall, being scrutinized and torn down by individuals who want only to destroy his reputation and nothing more. He can’t provide them answers, so he becomes the enemy.

Amidst the constituency of the modern era, amongst his peers, McGwire was simply one of the guys when it came to using steroids (that is, if he used steroids…there’s always that doubt). So many players used steroids, that for us to assume the role of judge and jury and accuse these individuals of wrongdoing years after the fact is just wrong. We’re doing nothing more than forming opinions on people who, in reality, we know nothing about.

The way I see it is, if players were a) allowed by the league to use steroids (which they were) b) encouraged to enhance their game by using steroids or any other means necessary (which they were) and c) provided with game-enhancing substances like steroids in order to achieve b), then why the hell not do it? When a female actress gets plastic surgery to prolong her acting career, the gavel does not come hammering down on her. When a golfer gets laser-eye surgery to cure his failing eyesight, we do not call him a cheater for seeking out a competitive advantage over his foes. When football players in our very NFL are convicted of steroid usage and sentenced to a four-game suspension for doing so, we simply turn a blind eye to their transgressions (ahem, Shawne Merriman). But when a baseball player, holiest of the holy, is even suspected of committing the same crime that guys like the Chargers Merriman have been convicted of, we can’t handle it. We break down, we start throwing accusatory haymakers, we tear apart whoever we can get our hands on. It’s a product of the media, it’s a product of our hypocritical society, and unfortunately for guys like Mark McGwire, it’s what will ultimately keep him, and others like him, from being immortalized the way they properly should. It’s a travesty, and it needs to be stopped.