While my chosen career path has led me to this sports desk, I have to allow that my sports tastes have not always been the most varied in the world. I have always been your football/baseball/basketball guy (basically in that order) with possibly a little bit of golf, hockey and auto racing sprinkled in.
That was pretty much it. Anything beyond that, and I'd just as soon be reading a book. (Not a bad thing, mind you.)
But I have to say that my reading habits have suffered thus far this summer. A serious Triple Crown bid in Big Brown, the Tiger/Rocco classic at the U.S. Open, Euro 2008, the College World Series and Wimbledon have all helped expand my tastes considerably of late. (Much to the chagrin of my wife. There's always something on).
I used to try and be a hardliner, but I can't do it anymore. I supposed I've soften somewhat by being a sports editor and seeing that all these kids work just as hard, regardless of whether or not they are in a sport that gets all the usual publicity.
I suppose it also doesn't hurt that my beloved Reds and Tigers have been disappointments this year. (But then again, what makes that any different from most years?)
However the real test will come in August with the Beijing Olympics. I am not a big fan of the Olympics in general because I think they encourage high levels of blind nationalism. (Blind nationalism did give us two world wars, approximately 20 million deaths and most of the major political problems of the 20th Century.)
But this Olympics is especially troubling to me given its location. For starters, Beijing is one of the world's most polluted cities, and therefore a horrible place for top-level athletic competition. Secondly, it gives the Chinese government a chance to clang its own gong and try to show what a "great nation" China is.
What part is great? The oppression of working class that makes cheap goods for the west, the countless human rights violations or the vilification of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama?
No thanks, China.
On the other hand, though, all bets are off for me this summer. I probably won't like it, but my recent track record indicates I'll be tuned in with everyone else.