Back in my day...
It’s no secret that my love of sports extends well beyond my job. I read countless websites each day to keep up with the happenings of the sports world and do my best to relate them to what I see each day in Rutherford County.
Every morning I watch ESPN for the latest news from 9-10 a.m. and then I flip over to ESPN 2 to watch “First Take” from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. to listen to two veteran sports journalists debate the biggest topics of the day.
Some folks give me a hard time for watching “First Take” religiously, but it not only entertains me, it makes me think. Watching that show prepares me to discuss topics with others and analyze the views of others.
But by far, my favorite show is “PTI: Pardon the Interruption” with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
Both of those guys have incredible senses of humor and truly know their sports. Every episode I watch I feel like I’ve learned something new. And television isn’t their strong points, they’re actually incredibly accomplished columnists that I read regularly. But the one thing that bugs me about the show is how often they reference the 1960s, 70s and 80s and the great players and moments they witnessed. I don’t know what you’re talking about, guys.
However, it got me thinking. What are the moments that I’ll reminisce about when I’m approaching my 60s? What players and performances will I mention when I’m comparing players of future generations to those that I saw during my most impressionable years?
Late the other night I was talking about this very thing with my father. I told him even now I have a hard time keeping up with all the new names I see on television and online every day. I can rattle off nearly the entire 1998 New York Yankees roster but I don’t know if I could tell you much about this year’s bullpen.
So I figure I should really start paying attention to what I experience now so in 40 years I can be an expert at making 20-somethings like myself feel stupid.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid that the baseball I grew up knowing and loving will forever be known as the steroid era and I can’t talk about Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and others the way today’s “old-timers” refer to Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays.
But you best believe that when people ask about Derek Jeter I’ll be the first to stand up and talk about how great he was and how much I admired him as a youngster.
So now I hope that young players like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper turn out to be the players they’re capable of being so I can say that I watched them when they we just getting their start.
One thing I’m reluctantly happy to say is that I’ll be able to talk for days about LeBron James and the player he was the way those slightly older than me talk about Michael Jordan and how Kornheiser and Wilbon remember greats like Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
As much as I hate them, I can say that I witnessed a Miami Heat team that practically owned the NBA despite the efforts of other incredible talents like Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.
As far as football is concerned, I think about the NFL Draft of 1983 and the Hall of Fame quarterbacks that highlighted the class.
Now I only remember the tail-ends of the careers of John Elway, Jim Kelly and my favorite, Dan Marino. I had an itty-bitty Marino jersey when I was just a young pup.
But this class resonates throughout history for their accomplishments and they way they changed the game in one revolutionary year.
In the recent documentary about the class of ‘83, countless journalists and fans relived the days where those three guys controlled the NFL. Even my dad talked my ear off about how he remembered so many of the moments featured during the documentary. Honestly, I wish I could relate and join the discussion.
Instead, I hope to have the NFL Draft of 2012 to recap in 30 years. I hope quarterback Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson become the modern-day version of Elway, Kelly and Marino. I hope that in the year 2042 I’ll be on a documentary talking about how I remember when these three great quarterbacks were drafted and forever changed football.
So I’m keeping a close eye on the sports world to prepare myself to be one of those old experts that loves to bring up the players of old.
I know it’s rough for us sometimes, my fellow 20-somethings, but before you know it we’ll be the ones frustrating younger generations with our “back in my day” moments.