By Boot Girl Myra
In the theater of professional sports there are plenty of dramas unfolding. Most of them are full of scandal and intrigue that end up becoming made-for-tv movies or if illicit enough, the big screen. Some of the most recent that come to mind: Ohio State’s debacle and the now famous inks for memorabilia scandal that brought a coach down, the NFL lockout, Tiger Woods fall from the top spot and failure to post anything near his skill set in the last year. The Tour De France just began and it’s already riddled with rumor of performance enhancing drugs. Maybe the report last spring about the 204 college football players boasting felony records but still playing for the sake of the game might get your juices boiling. It seems surreal doesn’t it? The sports we love for the game, the entertainment, and the sheer marvel at the human effort is debunked with scandal practically on an hourly basis.
That’s why I took a deep breath when I opened my July 4th issue of Sports Illustrated. I figured, as is the norm anymore, it would have a special report of something unfolding for which more athletes would be under the scrutiny of a sporting regulatory agency. To temper the effect of this now common weekly occurrence, I went straight to the thing I know I can rely on: The Pop Culture Grid. I love this grid. It asks several human interest questions that professional athletes answer in one-two word responses.
This week, Justin Upton, Right Fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks restores some hope in the realm of professional sports by his responses on The Pop Culture Grid. His comment to the “books in my summer beach bag” was none other than Lone Survivor. Gotta love a professional sportsman who admits he carries a summer beach bag! I wonder about that anyway. He plays baseball. When does he have time to go to the beach and read a book? As a matter of fact he states in a previous question about “July 4 vacation dream spot” that he wished he had a July 4 vacation.
Nonetheless, he’s wise in his pick for summer reading. He will marvel at the sheer determination of the men in the story. He will respect their athletic ability, even though they are not playing a professional sport, and the only drug they’re allowed to take is Tylenol, for fever. He will identify with their will to develop a physical strength that when challenged, is used to overcome their opponent, even if it costs them their lives. He will need a vacation day just to finish the book, because it’s so good, and riveting he won’t be able to put it down. My hope is he will be moved by the story enough to give the rest of the team copies to read.
Perhaps at the end of this season, a special feature will come out about how a professional team did something scandalously good for a change by reading this compelling book and maybe even putting boots ON in support of people like Marcus Luttrell and those featured in the book Lone Survivor.