Friday, May 30, 2008

The Humanization of Professional Athletes

It's our perspective that too often we see and think of professional athletes as almost machine-like characters that do a job, put up statistics, succeed or fail to succeed and then fade into the background until next game/season. It's difficult, especially in this time when fans focus more and more about fantasy sports than the actual games and players salaries (in all sports) are seemingly rising at extraordinary rates that are already above for a season's work what most normal fans make in almost a lifetime.

All of this builds up to the point where we don't see players as regular people. Hell, they're not regular, as they've been segragated from the rest of the kids at an early age and have trained hard and specialized to be very good at what they do: play sports. And as a fan, that's all you necessarily need to do: watch and cheer for players playing sports.

Then you see a picture like this and it snaps into place...

You don't have to be a professional athlete to know how it feels to lose someone close to you. Unfortunately, that's a normal and somewhat regular fixture in life.

We're not sure if this makes as much sense typed as the idea did floating around our head. We feel for Kris Letang, the guy who was about to buy a motorcycle of his own when his off-season started. We all know what it feels like to lose a friend or relative and it sucks.

In a way, we're kinda glad that the Penguins had already replaced Letang from the lineup for performance. In the aftermath of what the past 24+ hours must have been like for him, we don't see how anyone in that position could be expected to go out and play at a championship level....Let alone a kid who just turned 21 last month.

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