Friday, February 6, 2009

Would everyone please just leave Michael Phelps alone?

Hi Folks,

Don't tell me you didn't shed tears of joy when Michael Phelps won his record-breaking eighth gold medal last year (at least if you are an American). That was a public feat of victory on the world's stage. The boy is a fish, to steal a phrase backwards from my brother Mike.

What I'd like to see is pictures of the butt-head who took the picture of Phelps and sold it for money. How smashed was s/he? And probably the editors of the tabloid that published the slanderous story were drunk on Pernod at the time.

This is a private affair that he needs to talk to his Mom about, not something we should all be sticking our noses into.

I will boycott Kellogs for ending their sponsorship. I will boycott any of his sponsors that drop him. I will also stop swimming, because USA Swimming is beating up on him. (That's a joke...we can't swim in February here in Erbil.)

Anyway, the way I see it, unless they shoot someone, or fight dogs, or illegally cut down trees, or dual-net fish for tuna, I don't give a flying what star athletes do. There are only so many I really respect, and they deserve that respect. I don't care if Tiger Woods smokes crack when he's not playing. He goes out and does his thing, and does it consistently well.

I don't care that Michael Phelps smoked a bong. He's still a hero to me. And he's from Bawlmer, hon!

Thirty-some years ago, we might have read that Terry Bradshaw snorted coke after winning a Superbowl. There might have even been pictures of him, Lynn Swann, Franco Harris and Mean Joe Greene all bug-eyed with ear-to-ear grins. But that was in the days before cell-phone cameras could spy on you from across the room. Still, does that diminish what they did?

Whether or not we know about these things, they happen.

I am sure that Bono and his boys have done a little toke once in a while in their day. I suppose they have all quit now, like I have quit drinking beer. Does it matter? Are they not still amazing?

Not to mention the Beatles.

There is all this yadda-yadda about Phelps being held to a higher standard because he is an example for others. Face it, people, in our own small worlds, we are all an example for someone. Aren't we all expected to live up to a higher we can really never reach without the grace of God?

Frankly, I think you should look closer to home for your role models. Wish we could all be good role models for those that look up to us.

Love and Peace to all!

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