Monday, November 1, 2010

Patience and Incompetence - this was no Bye Week

I love baseball, period.  So watching Juan Uribe playing in October is a treat, even if its for another team.  He still feels like "one of us."  Who can ever forget the spectacular 2 outs he made in the 9th inning of game 4 v. the Astros?   I called this series for the SF Giants in 6 games, but it would give me no greater pleasure than to see the Giants celebrating a win over the Rangers,  in front of the Bush league family tonight in Game 5.  Another "Blue State"  carrying home their World Series rings, over the "Reddest" of all states.  But patience is something I'm still working on. 

I guess I learned this from my father, Zozzy:  We can growl and groan with dropped passes, fumbles, leaving the bases loaded, missing free throws, or wondering how our general managers allow our star players to head off to other teams.  Yet, he once told me that, in the end,  Chicago Sports fans need to be patient. Enjoy the moment, as he did with my younger brother in Wrigley Field, watching Sayers rush for 6 TDs.  A White Sox 2005 World Series flag was planted in his Westlawn grave by my sons, as were hundreds of others. Patience won out, and he was smiling with the rest of us.

Chicago  Sports fans have no choice, really, and we've learned to "get it while we can."  But when we win, we celebrate like no other city. Rallies in Grant Park.   Parades that go on for miles, attended by millions.  No matter how hot, humid, cold or wet, we're there on State Street, as the confetti flies from buildings and people hang out from every window, with a city's collective "high" that  is far and away much better than what Josh Hamilton reported "smelling"  out in Center Field at San Francisco's AT&T ballpark this last week.   

And so,  our patience is challenged once again, after watching our teams lacking defense:  the Bulls' breakdown in the 4th quarter v. Oklahoma, or the Blackhawks giving up 4 goals in the first period v. the Oilers.  Losing ugly is worse than some costumes I've seen this week.  Even worse is accepting the injuries which have plagued Hossa, Campbell, Bolland, and Boozer, or the reality of salary caps which sadly have Andrew Ladd and Big Buff scoring for the Thrashers.

Yet I'm losing patience, quickly,  due to incompetence and lack of taking responsibility.    Has Lovie and Company gone into hibernation already?  Too fearful of being upstaged in Chicago news media by the election tomorrow?  When you hit the Canadian border for next Sunday's game, I'd say you need to remind your organization to bring their passports, along with a decent  passing game and offensive line.  And by the way:  don't forget to pack the  running game. it must be stuck in the side compartment of Martz's suitcase.  Just leave that turnover game  at Halas Hall, across the border where the immigration officials can't see it. By the time the Bears return next Sunday night, I question whether the U.S. Border officials will even allow them back in to the U.S.  What?  this is a real football team, they ask?  Maybe we'll just keep them here in Canada for a while and have them play in our CFL.  Could do them good. 

Ultimately,  the worst incompetence of our regional sports teams is now in full view at Notre Dame.  Declan Sullivan's tragic death is front and center, and yes, I have no patience ever, for a young life lost in this manner.  His last tweets to friends and family said it all, characterizing a young man reportedly scared for his life, rightly so,  with 50 MPH winds on a scissors lift, taking videos/ pictures of the team practice, just doing his job.  Where were the adults who are, in legal terms, loco parentis?  Concerned about their football players and the big game on Saturday, instead of caring for one of their own, on a hydraulic lift, allegedly violating the standard safety policy of using a scissors life beyond a wind speed of 25 MPH.

As a mother, I'm infuriated at the incompetence.  Where was the leadership by Notre Dame coaches, the athletic director, the president, the board of directors?  Why was there no Red Cross Critical Incident Stress Debriefing protocols offered for all the witnesses and survivors who were most likely in shock, and continue to be?   Are there no staff psychologists with whom to consult with in South Bend?   You wouldn't consider canceling the game, right?  Too much money lost in TV revenues? 

And David Schuster, on Chicago Tribune Live, was right on, when he said, "This is not a sports issue, it's a human issue."  We're asked to be patient in an exhaustive investigation, which the Indiana Occupational  Safety & Health Administration will carry out.  But for this southsidesportschick, this is not just another workplace fatality.  We all know the university will ask for a settlement before this case can ever go to court.  Mark my words.  In these times, we'll just put a price tag on a wonderful life lost.   Incompetence at the highest level needs to be examined and re-examined.

We're asking our local, state, and national politicians to be held accountable for their actions, or inaction, when we vote tomorrow.  Will we expect the same from those in command at Notre Dame? 

The Long Grove Carmel High School community is grieving.  The family is grieving.  Declan Sullivan's colleagues and fellow athletes are grieving.  We offer our prayers, condolences, and  courage to his parents, his family, and friends.  We somehow try to make sense of this senseless act.  I only know that this was no Bye Week, for any sports fan in Chicago.  We collectively said goodbye to a wonderful soul. 

Why am I going over all this history?

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