Rage against the machine

“Nothing really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters – nothing really matters to me.” — Freddie Mercury

Ironically, this began as a sports blog. After all, why would anyone call a political/social blog “The Hall of Fame Index.” Finding a balance for work, family, self-care, and sports is difficult for a number of people. I’ve been there too. I’ve written four books about baseball and might have sold about 1000 copies combined. Grand total, I’ve lost more money than I’ve made over the years.

So, I get it on a grand scale. If I could earn a living doing anything other than what I’m doing it would definitely involve sports. While I am interested in politics and care deeply about current events, I probably wouldn’t have the stomach for doing it forty hours a week or more.

This weekend saw a rare combination of sports and politics locally. For those not in Houston, you may have heard snippets about what has happened with the Texans. Essentially, Deshaun Watson (the starting quarterback) is not happy. How unhappy he is is an open question. He hasn’t really spoken to the media.

What we do know is that the Texans seem to be under the throws of a modern day Rasputin. The Rasputin story is a fascinating one in history. Some people call him a wizard and others a conman. Either way you slice it, he wormed his way into power in Russia before the bolshevik revolution. In fact, there are many that would say he was the catalyst for all of that.

Enter Jack Easterby. Easterby is a preacher/character coach that somehow weaseled his way up to the vice president’s role with the Texans. No one in the organization cares to say exactly what he is good at or exactly what he does. Yet, he clearly has the owner’s ear. To my knowledge, none of Cal McNair’s children have hemophilia, but something is going on. Suffice it to say, players, coaches, and executives are not under the spell.

What does this have to do with politics? Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Somehow, about 150 Houstonians felt that yesterday was an appropriate day to protest Easterby’s presence in the organization. So, that solemn day was a good time to go get a character coach turned executive fired. Somehow, I don’t think that’s what Dr. King had in mind.

Mind you, I’m not defending Easterby. When a large enough group of people say someone is the problem then they are probably the problem. It just seems with everything going on in the world that whether a quarterback wants a preacher in the organization should be somewhere far on the back burner. Sports are entertainment at the end of the day. At the very least, we can say the situation with the Texans has been entertaining.

Of course, the psychology of it all is fascinating. Watching people get so hot and bothered that they travel downtown to shout at the stadium is surreal. I buy the gear. I watch and listen to the games. I even get emotionally involved in the games too. It’s never occurred to me to make a poster asking for someone to be fired. Then again, maybe that’s just me.

The other fascinating part of this is the concept that our personal and political anxieties might be boiling over. It’s hard not to feel rage when watching the news. No matter what side you are on you undoubtedly feel that rage. Even after the event is over, the rage just doesn’t go away. It has to go somewhere. Maybe it’s not a bad thing that it goes into a demonstration to get some yahoo (that few outside of Houston have heard of) fired. I suppose it could be a lot worse.

Sports have unified us in the past. Earlier in our childhood, the entire country rejoiced when the U.S. hockey team defeated Russia in the 1980 Olympics. The Super Bowl is always the most watched single event of the year. Locally, everyone remembers vividly where they were and what they were doing when the Rockets won their two titles and the Astros won their World Series. So, maybe uniting behind Deshaun Watson will have ancillary benefits. Watson is no Dr. King, but then again, who is?

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for thefantatasyfix.com. You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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