IBJOpinion

BENNER: A badly needed week off from sports lunacy

Bill Benner
November 19, 2011
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Bill Benner on sports

How many times did you hear it the past few days?

“Man, did the Indianapolis Colts need that bye week.”

Well, guess what?

I needed a bye week, too.

From the Colts and a lot of other things.

I needed a bye week from a coach with an 0-9 (about to become 0-10) record who decides—on fourth-and-short near midfield—to send the punting team in.

I needed a bye week from Pierre Garcon flapping his arms like a big bird before fielding punts. Keep the showboat docked, my man, at least until you have won a game.

I needed a bye week from wondering what the heck ever happened to Anthony Gonzales.

I needed a bye week from the long-locks quarterback throwing the football more accurately to their guys than our guys. Is that Curtis Painter or Matt Painter throwing the passes?

I needed a bye week from hearing “Peyton Manning” and “Andrew Luck” in the same sentence over and over and over again. At this point, it’s nothing more than mindless speculation.

I needed a bye week from $7 for a 12-ounce beer and $4.75 for a small bag of popcorn.

I needed a bye week from the silliness of unnamed sources, toxic environments and rats in the sewer. The adults have left the building.

I needed a bye week from correctable mistakes since they now have had a preseason and 10 weeks to correct them.

I needed a bye week from Jimmy Irsay’s tweets. Put me in the category of No Longer Amused.

I needed a bye week from being told that the Colts look so much better on tape than they do with the naked eye. Pig, meet lipstick.

I needed a bye week from The Voice whining about the officiating. Are you kidding me?

I needed a bye week from thinking about the fact that I have season tickets to two teams (Indiana University football, Colts) who, as of this writing, are a combined 1-19 and have been outscored 660-360.

I needed a bye week from NBA Commissioner David Stern and the NBA players’ union chief Billy Hunter and their lame defense of indefensible positions.

I needed a bye week from the sheer lunacy of professional athletes and their agents labeling ‘unfair” a system that pays them average salaries of $5 million annually, flies them to their work on luxury charters, lodges them in five-star hotels, and hands them $100-plus in per diem.

I needed a bye week from guaranteed contracts for underperforming workers.

I needed a bye week to try to not think about all the people—and I certainly don’t include the owners and players—who will take a serious hit financially because of the NBA labor dispute.

I needed a bye week to stop thinking about the fact that, according to a survey, a family of four will spend an average of $300 to attend an NBA game (that’s tickets, beer, soda, a snack and a couple of souvenirs) and no one seems to much care about them. I’d like to see David Stern or Billy Hunter explain this to a 12-year-old fan.

I needed a bye week from turning on ESPN at 6 o’clock on a Tuesday morning to see two college basketball teams playing a game for the pleasure of the television audience.

I needed a bye week from turning on ESPN2 at 8 o’clock on a Tuesday night to see two college football teams playing a game for the pleasure of the television audience.

I needed a bye week to recover from hearing the voice of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky tell NBC’s Bob Costas that his only mistake was taking showers with young boys.

I needed a bye week to get past the revulsion of Sandusky describing his activity in those showers with young boys as “horseplay.”

I needed a bye week to erase the image of the knucklehead Penn State students rioting after their football coach was fired.

But I also needed a bye week to reflect on multiple blessings both in and beyond the world of sport. Despite my whines, there’s still more sweet than sour. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.•

__________

Benner is senior associate commissioner for external affairs for the Horizon League college athletic conference and a former sports columnist for The Indianapolis Star. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at bbenner@ibj.com. He also has a blog, www.indyinsights.com.

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