few years ago, I
wrote an article that looked at reports and
articles and claims and more about accomplishments in sports that
were presented as moments that would never happen again. At the
heart of the piece were events taking place during the 2012 Olympics,
with thoughts exploring elements that I believe have become standard
and routine media practice:
A rush to write/create a story
Getting swept up in the hysteria of the moment
A desire to incorporate talking points (potentially by being
controversial and creating the talking points out of thin air
rather than actual considerations)
overall, it was an attempt at looking into ways that these factors
tend to result in journalism-of-the-moment as opposed to providing
any lasting or worthwhile effort. For instance, the avalanche
of stories about whether or not a champion will repeat.
Bowl winners are crowned on Sunday evenings in the United States.
By Monday morning, media outlets on television, radio, internet
and newsstands are already overflowing with articles about the
winner winning again.
original article of mine focused primarily on the beach volleyball
team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings. And, one of
my thoughts involved how a sport that had at the time the long
and legendary historical background of five Olympic appearances
with medals at stake hardly had been around long enough for reporters
to be making claims about the dominance offered up by Misty and
Kerri as unapproachable.
that time though, a different thought has been swimming around
in my mind. Is it even fair to wonder if something significant
could ever happen again (or be topped)?
the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl in 1980, there were
twenty-eight professional teams. There are thirty-two now.
Berra was one of the most celebrated baseball players in history.
When he won his last championship as a player in 1962, there were
twenty professional teams… including the Washington Senators and
Houston Colt .45s, along with the Kansas City Athletics and Milwaukee
the Cleveland Cavilers won the title in 2016, part of the story
was how the city hadn’t won a professional championship in more
than fifty years.
any of this so amazing? Really? Consider…
we went on a run where every NFL team in the league today won
a championship before any of the teams won a second, it would
take us thirty-two years to cover that ground.
than three decades. And the stories are similar throughout sports.
Even just getting each team to the World Series once would take
us fifteen years.
it out of the question that lengthy droughts such as those experienced
by the Red Sox and Cubs will not happen again? Of course not.
Thirty-plus years to get every team a title if we split them up
fairly and evenly… which is not how it works, but basically means
once in a generation if it did. That never again perspective actually
has difficulties because of course, many things could happen again.
when we are treated to runs of stellar players and organizations,
never again is harder to measure and define. And that’s before
even wondering about whether or not comparing a team or athlete
from today’s games to teams and athletes from generations ago
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings… Johnny Vander Meer…
there are records requiring unreal runs of virtual perfection.
It’s hard to think that they might be approached, matched, or
do believe it’s fair to wonder if the media and more pull out
the debates a bit too early. Never again… odds of a repeat… and
so on. Actually, as I write that I realize it isn’t fair to wonder
if they do, because it is a fact that they do.
importantly though, I think it’s up to us to appreciate the attempts
at greatness. The stories. What is happening, as it’s happening,
and the end accomplishments. Because the play of Tom Brady and
the New England Patriots… the run of playing in the finals from
LeBron James… women’s basketball at UConn… we may never see careers
and achievements like this again.