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The end of outrage

In sports, like life, people mess up, so why act surprised?

Lazy thing for a writer to do at the end of the year – list all the big events that happened, offer some pithy commentary, then proceed to 2012, hands washed of the dirt of 2011.

More instructive, though, would be to take what happened and gleam some sort of lesson from it, and that’s what we’ll do here.

Everywhere on the sports landscape in the past 12 months, there was something scandalous to break, some sin to get outraged about, something to attach that utterly stupid ‘Gate’ tag to for no reason whatsoever (there, another thing to be mad at Nixon for), and it never let up.

Each time, the pattern was virtually the same. A bad thing happened, and it got replayed and recycled thousands of times. Eventually, the hue and cry went out – somebody had to get fined, suspended, fired, jailed, or some variation of all four. Eventually, the furor subsides, only to be replaced by another furor, rinse and repeat.

From large-scale horrors like the Jerry Sandusky case to the NFL and NBA lockouts to smaller bits of trivia (I mean, people got mad over a handshake at the end of the 49ers-Lions game), it got downright depressing to see the endless rounds of incriminations.

It’s as if sports have inherited all the poisonous aspects of politics, with more desire to stir up trouble than to, you know, solve anything. And it even crashed into Central New York with the Bernie Fine saga, still unresolved, though many are just sick and tired and want to move on.

Maybe there is a solution, a healthier perspective, to be found. It’s all based on the simple, yet unspoken, notion that people are (gasp!) humans, they (horrors!) mess up, and the sooner we recognize this, the better chance we have to work toward resolutions.

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