Over the past several years I have become somewhat of a listener to “sports-talk” radio. For those unfamiliar with term it literally “is what it is.”
The sports-talk listener fits a certain demographic insofar as it is used for audience and sales revenue purposes. Yet the listener, the typical one at least, is not a guy like me. Who
is me am I? Unfortunately, we don’t have the time to discuss that.
Many people who tune to sports radio are hard-core sports fan. They are fans of men’s sports and mainly team sports. One will hardly hear a story or talk about women’s sports unless there happens to be a sex angle involved. Apparently, some listeners also like to gamble on sports. A lot of discussion is often heard about the “line” and the “over and under.”
So you probably know where I am headed with respect to the huge story about Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito. The veteran and Pro Bowler is in the center of a controversy with another player, Jonathan Martin. Incognito has been accused of leaving phone messages using racial slurs and threatening Martin.
Martin left the Dolphins, saying he had enough of the hazing-gone-wild in the Miami locker room. Incognito has been suspended. Many hard core sports fans and some players say boys will be boys.
Some forms of hazing is prevalent in NFL locker rooms and only rises to a mild form such as rookies carrying shoulder pads or getting drinks for the veterans. As one who has worked in several all-male environments — naval ships before women were allowed and likewise for firefighting — the presence of some meager forms of hazing wasn’t a real surprise. I only experienced such behavior during my ship’s crossing the equator ceremony. Some sailors fresh from boot camp, at least during my time, may have found themselves scurrying off to find some ridiculous item ordered by a more senior enlisted. For instance, hunting for “relative bearing grease” or waiting for the “mail buoy.” I was never exposed to such, nor knew much of it happening on my ship. I would only venture to guess why was perhaps that I came onboard as petty officer with almost three years of service. Likewise, I heard of some tepid hazing shenanigans occurring “back in the day” as a firefighter but never experienced the like.
I was bullied by several fellow students during some of my school years. One little bastard used to act if he was going to hit me with his small car while I was walking home. I also received verbal abuse from several people. The only actual violence was when a kid in junior high punched me in the nose for no reason. I can’t remember any particular reason why I was targeted, perhaps because in my late elementary through junior high days I was a fat kid. I later slimmed down and grew out my hair. Of course, I was targeted for my long hair. No one actually did anything although one girl I went out with said her dad would shoot any long-haired boy who brought her daughter home.
Now I can’t claim to know what all is happening with the Richie Incognito story. You have those who reward bullying, as long as he is a fierce competitor. Incognito is, by all accounts, a tough competitor. He is also known as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players. So we will see what happens with that story.
In good sports news, it was heartening to hear Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak went home from the Methodist Hospital (home of my first spinal surgery) after nearly collapsing on the field during halftime of Houston’s narrow loss to Baltimore. Doctors said Kubiak had a temporary ischemic attack, or TIA.
TIA, also called a mini-stroke, usually lasts a few minutes. It involves a blood clot but it normally dissolves in the body soon after it cuts off blood flow. A TIA usually does not cause brain damage. However, a TIA can be a warning sign of an impending stroke. There is no word on who will take the reins of the troubled Texans.
Kubiak was not the lone leader for a Houston professional sports team to be carted off to the hospital due to an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Houston Astros manager Larry Dierker was rushed to the hospital during the eighth inning of a game they were winning 4-1 over the San Diego Padres. Dierker, a beloved Astros pitcher and later broadcaster, suffered what doctors said was an “arteriovenous malformation.” He suffered a two-part seizure known as “Grand Mal” because a group of blood vessels to his brain tangled. Dierker recovered following surgery to remove the small clump of malformed vessels. The game was suspended until the next time the Astros played the Padres. Too bad that didn’t happen for the Texans. Of course, they might have also blown that chance as well.