April 4, 2012
Growing up in Indiana, I was a Pacers fan in the ABA, and a Warriors fan in the NBA (because I loved to watch Wilt play). Baseball would have found me cheering for the Reds, Cubs, or White Sox, but after a few visits to Yankee Stadium in the fifties, I became a dedicated Yankees fan. I remember that fireballer Ryne Duren usually threw his last warmup pitch to the top of the backstop, just to scare the opposing hitters by showing his wildness. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area just in time to watch Rick Barry and the Warriors during their championship run in the playoffs. I didn't take much interest in the 49ers -- because I was a dedicated Bears fan -- until recent years. And I finally became a Giants fan after Steinbrenner took over the Yankees. I adore bowling, and I think the top professional bowlers are among the most underrated athletes in all of sports. I'm retired now, having sold my publishing company a couple of years ago. I moved to Henderson, NV just last year. I don't care to attend sporting events (except bowling tournaments) anymore, because of the long walks and big crowds, but I'm lucky to get the Warriors and the Giants on my TV lineup, without having to pay extra.
Although my heart is with the athletes and sports teams of the 60s and 70s, I recognize the superior athletic abilities of today's athletes, in almost every sport. I believe that is a result of enhanced training methods, which may in turn be a result of huge salaries leading to more intense competition. I'm glad that owners are being forced to share the wealth. I admire these contemporary athletes because I believe that most of them would play for room and board from love of the game. I wish that I could foresee what professional sports will look like at mid-century. Will there still be flesh-and-blood athletes who play for the love of the game, and who sometimes engage in stupid but human behavior? Or, will professional sports teams consist of virtual robots?