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The Bubbly Side

We didn’t do a podcast this past weekend, but there is stuff that needs talking about. With professional sports returning from a pandemic hiatus, there are a few leagues that are doing the comeback the right way. European soccer and the NBA have done an exceptional job of keeping their athletes and staff quarantined and tested properly. Major League Baseball, and now, the NFL are seeing their fair share of hiccups. It’s these hiccups that I was expecting to hear about and made me want to see what kind of professional athlete can exist under these quarantined mandates.

When we were kids, time just felt slower, some of us were in rush to grow up, or forced to grow up faster than others. For some of us, we just had so much time on our hands. Being a kid in the late 80s and early 90s, during the summers I had to stay inside with my sister until my parents got home. All that time inside was spent in front of the TV or the video game. Then when my parents would get home, I went outside with my friends playing sports well into the night.

With all this time and access to the things I enjoyed, it became a natural obsession. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to play my video games, and I was like a caged animal ready to break free out of my house as soon my parents came home to go play with my friends. Whatever you’re into, time and access will breed obsession. To this day, I still play video games, and of course, that same group of friends turned out to be the Ebbtide Crew.

As we grow up, our time and access become limited as we take on more responsibility in our lives. There is seriousness to life that puts us at a crossroads: Will we benefit from our obsessions or let them harm us? Unfortunately, this is something that we see too often with college and professional athletes. They don’t know when to benefit from their obsession of a sport that they love and become obsess with the excess of benefits that their obsession provides.

Don’t get me wrong, I will never know the level of access that comes with celebrity. The stories that are released to the public about that scandalous foolery that they get into barely scratches the surface I’m sure. But with this pandemic, there has to be some hope of perspective with athletes. All livelihoods have been effective by this deadly virus. Our way of life, will never be the same once we get control of this situation.

The few reports that have come out of these Sports Bubbles have been disappointing. From NBA players posting on social media their limited meal options at their Disney 5-star resort hotels, as well as their limited wine menu, to MLB players being careless going around big crowds at casinos during the season. The most egregious offense came from the NOW former undrafted rookie defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, Kemah Siverand. He actually got caught on hotel surveillance sneaking a girl to his room disguised in Seahawks gear.

I’ve never held college and professional athletes in high regard. Many of them don’t even try to benefit from their talent. This fact hit me in the face long ago when I was a merchandiser for a popular beverage company. I came to help out a particular grocery store one day on the job and I met the guy who I’d be helping. When he told me his name, it sounded so familiar, and I said there is a guy who used to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars with the same name. He said, “Well you just met him.” I didn’t think anything of it because I didn’t know his circumstances.

This memory just makes hope that more athletes take advantage of their opportunity rather IT take advantage of them. Whether they like it or not, they are role models. Our youth are looking up to them like or not. This pandemic is the perfect time to show that they can be better than expected off the field. Kudos to athletes such as Deshaun Watson, Odell Beckham, Jr., and Tyreek Hill, for spending time with young athletes during this pandemic.

While we must remain safe, these small gestures of humility and willingness to risk their own health to help young athletes who are missing their own training was quite admirable.

These hiccups were expected and for the most part I am not disappointed. I think the Sports Bubbles are headed in the right direction and there have been athletes who have actually taken advantage of the different type of atmosphere that the Bubble provides. It’s a bubbly surprise to say the least, and I for one like look forward to the good surprises.

Tony Love

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