Volume 93, Issue 14

Wednesday, September 22, 1999


Mustang's runners get bronze

Women ruggers trample Yeomen 48-3

Hockey team breaks even

Stangs continue their tennis racket

Sports just not living up to the hype

Sports just not living up to the hype

Don't, don't, don't. Don't believe the hype.

Chuck D and Flavor Flav tried to warn us back in '88, but to this day, the world still succumbs to public enemy #1 – the sporting universe and their endless pursuit of creating events which time, supposedly, should stand still for.

Now don't get me wrong, there have been moments when even Father Time has dropped his hour glass to catch a glimpse – Paul Henderson's goal in the Summit series, Joe Carter's homer in the ninth, Micheal Jordan sinking the Utah Jazz and Joe Montana hitting Dwight Clark in the end zone.

But for the handful of magical events which have taken place in the relatively short history of professional sports, there have been so many over-hyped flops the sporting world has been stunted in its growth.

Take last weekend's fight pitting Oscar De La Hoya against Felix Trinidad in the "Match of the Millennium." Does professional boxing really know what kind of Star Wars: Episode 1-type hype a "Match of the Millennium" has to live up to?

The messages resulting from these events is that fights in the last decade (featuring unknown street fighters like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield), the last century (a time when no names like Mohammed Ali, Joe Fraser and George Foreman fought for nickels) and the last one thousand years (summed up by 1002's classic between hunched, sloped brow man versus upright, straight brow man) were in fact, all for nothing.

Or even a couple of months ago when Tiger Woods and David Duval faced off in one round of golf to decide who was the better golfer – a prime time, made for TV money maker which fell well below the media hype with Woods beating Duval in the end. Does this mean Woods' is superior because ABC put "showdown" in the program title, even though Duval had a higher ranking and monetary winnings?

The grand daddy of all hype, however, is seen in the big four sports and there is always a let down when every season is said and done. The Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, the NBA championships and the World Series are the pinnacle of the over hyped/under achievers in the world of sports.

Seventeen weeks of pigskin, 10 months of power-plays, eight months of double dribbling and a summer of spitting and crotch grabbing, for what? A blowout, sweep, or some reasonable facsimile there of. My question is – how can a final game between the two "best" teams or individuals in each respective sport, always be a let down when the final buzzer goes?

It happens because we let it happen.

We allow the media to toy with us by dangling those past rare magical sporting moments in front of our eyes. We allow the grueling length of the regular season to wear down our guards until we are mere putty come championship time. We allow million dollar ads to trick us into purchasing their products only because they were seen during the finals. We allow the hype to scare us into thinking "if I don't watch, I'm going to miss the greatest event in sport's history and I'll regret it for the rest of my life."

In order for sport to start living up to the juggernaut of hype it produces on a daily, monthly and yearly basis, it's going to have to start performing when the spotlight is shining it's brightest. If not, time will not stand still but continue to march on, with or without sports.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999