Ah, the middle of July. The days are long, the heat swelters and the sports world is in a state of transition. Especially for football fans, this time of year is tough. Any distractions until the real games kick off are welcome. Even the ESPY Awards make for a good diversion.
Ah, the middle of July. The days are long, the heat swelters and the sports world is in a state of transition.
Especially for football fans, this time of year is tough. NFL teams don’t start training camp until the end of the month, then it’s a long way to the start of the actual season. In the meantime, fans are teased with four more preseason games than they care to watch.
Any distractions until the real games kick off are welcome. Even the ESPY Awards make for a good diversion.
I’ve always thought such offseason awards were a way to drum up attention during a down time of the year. The NBA season is over and MLB is at the midway point. Something, even if manufactured, is needed grab eyeballs.
Comedian Bill Maher made a good point when he posted a mini-rant on Twitter. Here’s what he tweeted, cleaned of its grammatical errors: “ESPY awards? Is anything stupider? For best football team ... the team that won the Super Bowl! Sports don’t need awards. We know who won!”
That’s the nice thing about sports; usually someone wins. A committee doesn’t decide the victor of a football game -- it’s quantified on a scoreboard for the whole stadium to see.
Still, it was nice to see some new faces pick up trophies this year. Sports megastars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Jimmie Johnson and Albert Pujols were all up for male athlete of the year, but the award went to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
After an unprecedented Super Bowl victory for the Saints last season, Brees lifted himself to a higher status as one of the few elite athletes in the sports world. Not bad for a player thought to be washed up after shoulder surgery a few years ago.
Brees entered a daunting situation when he signed with New Orleans right after the city and the Gulf Coast had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Despite the obstacles, he stayed cool and collected, and led a storybook rise from the ashes.
As Saints coach Sean Payton put it, “We were playing more than just football.”
Payton and Brees led the way for the Saints as they brought smiles and tears of joy to fans who had fallen on hard times.
That sort of thing doesn’t show up on a scoreboard. It can’t be found in a box score or a stat sheet.
The Saints weren’t just any old team last season when they won the Super Bowl. They represented more than just a bunch of guys who strapped on helmets and played a game on Sundays in the fall.
It's that element that awards like the ESPYs recognize. It’s all the big picture, seeing the forest for the trees. It’s truly appreciating the rich tapestry.
Weekly Citizen (Gonzales, La.)