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sports spot

The other day in the closing seconds of an NBA game a player (Bob Sura of the Atlanta Hawks, if you're keeping score at home) threw up a bad shot on purpose so he could get his own rebound and assure himself his third triple-double (double digits in points, rebounds and assists) for the third consecutive game. It worked, and it was quite a feat: only a handful of players have ever done the three-in-a-row before. Even better, the first of the three was his first triple-double of his career. So everyone was happy for him, right? Sadly, no.

Too many people who watch sports, it seems, have a certain notion of 'sportsmanship,' and they think that Sura's little stab at personal glory went against it. Note, of course, that the people who complained the most aren't athletes at all, and couldn't be if their lives depended on it. This is especially true of the commissioner--commissioners of all the major sports are pedantic reactionaries who care more about the perception of sportsmanship and the image of the game than they do about the games themselves and the sportsmen who play them.

Because really, who did this hurt? Sura's teammates liked it, his coaches liked it, the crowd liked it I'm sure (I believe it was a home game for Atlanta); and the opposition Nets didn't mind too much, because they were losing by a big margin anyways and I'm sure they just wanted to go home. What good does it do anyone to take the triple-double off the books, and make Sura apologize in public to boot? Besides making a few self-important non-athletes feel better about themselves, of course. And it's not even like Sura was playing selfishly: that little thing about 'double-digit assists' means he passed the ball off pretty well too.

All told, this is just a big ridiculous fiasco that makes me sputter with indignity, rather like I do when I hear people wax indignant about 'excessive celebration' by NFL players. Or talk-show denizens moaning about baseball salaries being too high. Who created this absurd image of hero-athletes being perfect examples of humanity, and stuck-up humanity that never has any fun at that? Fans and commissioners, I think. And those folks who run the Olympics.

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