Monday, June 22, 2015
Courage is word that gets a lot of use these days – more than it should – in my humble opinion. Courage is defined as having the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. I have been told I have courage because I compete at a high level in cycling even though it causes me a great deal of pain because I have a neurological disorder. However, I do not possess courage. It may be difficult and painful, but there is nothing for me to fear (I am not facing a life threatening disorder) so it is hardly brave. I am doing cycling for selfish reasons: because it makes me happy. Bruce Jenner will be honored by ESPN for his supposed courage for converting from a man to a women. A few decades ago this may have required some courage, but not in these times. Besides, Jenner has been open with the press and everyone about his change. Jenner drew attention to herself. If it was that difficult, she would have done with humility and in secrecy. Jenner is not much different from me in the sense she is making the change for selfish reasons: to feel better about herself and to be happy. This was hardly a life or death situation for Jenner. I am sure this was not easy for Jenner, but is it really courage? The first thing Jenner did after the change was do a photo shoot for Vanity Fair magazine. Jenner seems to like attention and that is great if that makes her happy, but that is not courage? No, it is simply about satisfying Jenner’s insatiable ego. Everyone is entitled to do things that make them feel good and to be happy. But that is not necessarily courage. Courage is the people in our armed services that face life and death situations on a daily basis. They have to make life or death decisions that can affect them or their men. And the decision to serve may make service members feel better and be happy, but it is also a selfless act. More than a million Americans have died in wars so over 300 million of us today can be free. That is the ultimate sacrifice – that is courage. Courage is someone like Lauren Hill who died at age 19 from cancer. Despite being gravely ill, Hill competed in college basketball. Sure, that may have made her feel better, but she also made the sacrifice to help her team. Hill would obviously be a better choice for ESPN’s courage award (and even Bob Costas agrees). ESPN makes me sick and I stopped watching Sport Center a decade ago. Episodes of Sport Center are a charade loaded with political correctness instead of highlights of sports. It is actually more depressing than watching a nightly newscast of negative stories (at least these are real). ESPN instead lives in a fantasyland and tries to be more of a talk show than a news program. ESPN is laced with broadcasters that are more interested in being unique (like Jenner) than factual. They only cover and talk with star players (LeBron James, Tiger Woods, etc.) and show highlights of the best and worst plays of the day – but they do not always report the final scores or outcomes. The bottom line is that Jenner is more of a star than Lauren Hill and that makes for a better story than the truth – that there are literally millions of people around the globe that would be candidates for the ESPN Courage ESPY than Jenner. The Jenner decision by ESPN should not come as any surprise because they both have something else in common – Jenner is a reality TV star and ESPN has become a reality TV network.