Leagues confuse professional with pedestrian

Who remembers one of the common themes of children’s cartoons and movies where there was that faraway land that had no fun, no enjoyment, no creativity and no expression?

Remember how life was tremendously dull there?

It was more boring than that first period high school physics class and slower than the clock ticking toward second period.

Do you remember how the last resort to gaining enjoyment in that faraway land was left up to that clever superhuman figure (like Michael Jackson in the Epcot Center’s “Captain Neo”) to introduce what life really had to offer?

I feel like I should dig deep inside myself and find that superhero power that will enable me to jumpstart the fun and creative sparkplugs of the sports world. If not me, who will?

I know for a fact it won’t be NBA Commissioner David Stern or the NFL’s competition committee. Can’t we all just have a little fun?

At the recent NFL league meetings in Orlando, the competition committee voted 29-3 to limit the newfound creativity of touchdown celebrations made famous (or infamous in the eyes of a select few) by wide receivers Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers, Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals and Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys, among others.

In the opinion of the committee, the celebrations had begun to get out of hand.

Johnson did one where he appeared to perform CPR on the football while Owens held the ball as if it were a waiter’s tray. Celebrations as elaborate as these (or too “show-boaty” in the eyes of a select few) will now result in a 15-yard penalty assessed on the kickoff.

As if the dress code passed by the NBA in the off season wasn’t enough, they’re now considering banning the compression tights that many players, including Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade, have sported this season.

The old guys running the league believe it to be a fashion statement that these “hip hop thuggish ballers” are starting.

Not true.

“It’s something to keep you warm,” Joe Smith of the Milwaukee Bucks told the AP. “It keeps my knee from swelling up, keeps some tightness around it so it won’t blow up on me when I’m out there.”

Sounds like a good enough reason to me. After all, the NBA would love to see its star players, the ones they’re eating off, healthy and in shape. Right?

We know Bill Russell didn’t wear tights, but Walt Frazier had his own eclectic style of fashion. We know Bart Starr wasn’t a flamboyant figure like Owens, but Broadway Joe sure was.

Nobody attempted to put a stranglehold on Frazier or Joe Namath when they did their things. Call me too hip if you want to, but what’s the big deal with stepping out of the old school and allowing our sports stars to define the new?

When this country experienced terrorist attacks and disasters, who did the public come running to to take their minds off the madness they were going through? Athletes and professional sports, that’s who.

These athletes are supposed to allow common, everyday working people to free themselves from the rigors of bills and jobs and provide them with entertainment and a good time.

Why can’t athletes use sports to free themselves from their everyday lives and have a good time as well? Seems like a bad contradiction to me.

LeMont Calloway is a senior newspaper journalism student from Chicago. He can be reached at thefamuansports@hotmail.com.