If there are kids who are reading this or if there is a grown-up still infatuated with the glorious and infallible power of sports, please step away from the page now.

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 24, 2006

I fear that what I say may destroy dreams and conjure tears from depths most of you have never thought of.

It’s a painful job sometimes, but I have to do it because no one else will work as cheaply as I do. I’m just kidding. I’ll be able to afford an air conditioner for my house in no time.

Moving on, I’m about to tell you things about the world of sports no one else dared to.

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Or maybe they just never thought to.

5. The truly good athletes never make it – It’s the saddest truth. If you ever have the opportunity to have a conversation with a professional or college athlete, ask him or her to tell you about some of the best players they knew growing up.

Dwyane Wade, Jerry Rice, Steve Nash – I bet they all knew at least three guys that were head and shoulders above them when they were coming up.

Even Michael Jordan didn’t make the varsity basketball team on his first try.

Injuries, drugs or just plain laziness all take their toll on the best players in the world.

4. The endings are scripted – Come on. How else do you explain a team that looks totally dominant to begin a championship series all of a sudden finding themselves fighting for their lives?

The other team finds its pride in the bottom of the laundry bin? I think not.

Professional sports are the sweatiest, most violent realty shows on earth.

Wait a minute, I’m a Red Sox fan. That would mean them coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the American League Championship Series two years ago was – a hoax.


3. Everyone flirts with cheating – Don’t care who you are. It could be as blatant as taking steroids or as subtle as tugging a referee’s tail.

Of course, no one is going to get on your case for jawing at an official every once in a while because it’s technically not a violation of any written rule.

But any advantage that can’t be gained inside the lines puts you one step closer to going too far.

2. Athletes are not role models – Not even the ones that are squeaky clean, have charities and all that good stuff.

Seeing people on television every day doesn’t make them any more familiar than the guy walking down the street.

If a kid wants to copy some player’s batting stance, fine. If he wants to have a crossover like the NBA’s best point guard, fine.

But an athlete, if fortunate, will have celebrity that will last for about a decade.

I’d rather people look up to something more permanent.

1. None of this is meant to be taken seriously – Well, not all of it. Take from it what you will.

I forget sometimes that my sarcasm is like my Aunt Nana’s banana-beet-prune pie. Only one person in the world likes it.

George L. Jones is sports editor of The Selma Times-Journal. He can be reached at