Spread the Love
It can be easy to forget that professional athletes are actual human beings. They are larger-than-life figures (literally) who perform such incredible feats with their bodies that we tend to mythologize them. To many observers, they might as well be characters in a play acting out their lives in an alternate reality, or collections of statistics on a fantasy sports spreadsheet. But that sort of separation is an illusion. Just because these people get paid millions of dollars to pursue careers that most of us can only dream of, it doesn’t mean they experience emotions that are any less valid than those of you average Joes. Last week, NBA players including Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan and Kelly Oubre came forward to discuss their struggles with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. They opened up about the toxic masculinity that infects sports culture, discouraging men from speaking out about their emotional distress and ultimately leading to a more dire situation further down the line. In a moment like this, it’s important to remember that mental health conditions really can affect everybody, regardless of how well-off their lives seem at a distance. Next time you feel like ripping an athlete apart for not being able to perform in the clutch, or seeming disengaged in a huddle, take a step back and consider that there might be more going on behind the scenes than you are aware. Hopefully, this will also serve as a reminder and a positive message to anybody currently struggling with their own mental health. You are not alone. You are not unusual. And most importantly, you are not weak for feeling this way.
I’d like to be clear that nearly every other time I use the phrase “magnum dongs” in this space, it will be in reference to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton home runs. This is merely the exception that proves the rule. With nearly the entire core of their memorable 2015 World Series-winning team now calling another city home, perhaps the Kansas City Royals thought they needed to do something controversial to make a splash in the national media. Maybe team executives have been watching reruns of the 700 Club. Or maybe somebody on the roster forgot to knock on their teenage son’s door before barging in. The world may never know! But for some mysterious reason, the Blue Crew decided to partner with an anti-porn group called “Fight the New Drug” in Spring Training. As part of this agreement, members of the Royals organization from the major league roster, the front office and all the way down to the minor leagues were required to attend a seminar on the harmful impact of porn. What are we supposed to make of this? GM Dayton Moore has expressed concerns about pornography addiction in the past, and a large part of the seminar supposedly dealt with porn addiction, which I suppose is a noble cause. But the setting for that message just seems bizarrely out of place, and maybe just a wee bit intrusive into the personal decisions of the people involved. If nothing else, I’m definitely going to be a little more skeptical the next time I hear Jon Kruk reporting a Royals player using the clubhouse bathroom during Sunday Night Baseball.
A true student-athlete
Congratulations to Adam Roderique, who was named the American Conference’s Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for cross country. On top of his demanding training schedule and athletic success, Roderique managed a 3.906 GPA with the brutal double major of mechanical engineering and finance, which means he’s probably much smarter than you or me. Well done to you, Adam, and make sure not to forget the little people here at TU when you’re killing it on Wall Street one day!