Welcome to The Final Ball Blog! This is where we’ll have weekly a weekly detailed insight into the last week of sport for those of you who just couldn’t live by only listening to us for an hour a week!
And as we come to the end of Black History Month, one thing we won’t miss, is the “victim” narrative that the majority of sports media outlets have decided to attach to it. The constant focus on portraying stories of black players and their traumatic experiences, the cringy use of “more urban” music & Motown classics that the presenters don’t even know, everything just feels much like a “tick box” exercise. We’ve heard endless amounts of stories of difficulties and hardship of black people (we’ve been through it!). At this point it, it almost feels like they’re try to rub it in our face. There are more than enough stories of us doing great things. Why aren’t those stories being focused on? Instead of making it seem that “all black people do is complain about racism”, why not portray us being successful, show more examples of black people living their lives just like everybody else. Give us things to be inspired by. Not relived trauma to trigger us back to some of the darkest parts of our life. It has more of an impact on us. And the more positive stories of us white people see, the further away from the stereotypes that we will be. We’ve done enough bad vibes, let’s have some good vibes.
As we said on this week’s show, it seems crazy that the NBA are set to be thrown back into a 72-game season by the end of the year. Has everyone just forgotten about the virus and what it can do to people? To finish off the play-offs in a Disneyworld “bubble” is one thing, but to follow this up with a full season becomes every team travelling around the world, just two months after finishing the last season. And there isn’t a bubble big enough to host the teams that would be involved. And you can’t keep families away from each other for months on end. And if the country-wide road trip results in even 2 players catching the virus with the possibility of the rest becoming at risk, a team quickly depletes at a rate that a Basketball team just wouldn’t be able to handle. So, it doesn’t really work for anyone expects the fans would have something to watch as lockdown gives us more and more apocalyptic vibes by the day. This clearly needs more time to be thought through properly. Let’s have a bit of empathy towards the burden of requirements put on the playing & non-playing staff that make this sport so entertaining.
Another topic we spoke about that highlights the inhumane treatment of sportsman in the modern-day sport, the unfortunate death of Jeremy Wisten. What a depressing sight to see a young boy, with his whole life ahead of him, feel like there was nothing left for him to do on this earth. But we’ve got to question the academies. What are they doing for the players that don’t graduate? The ones that held onto the dreams that they have been sold since they were 8 years old a bit too tightly. Knowing the percentages of players that do graduate in each year, does it not seem crazy to sell such a dream consistently for so many of somebody’s formative years? Shouldn’t there be more contingency plans for those that fail to fit the purposes required? Instead they seem to prefer the option of an “Inverse Hunger Games”, pitting kids against each other, giving them all the tools to be successful, with the knowledge that they could all “not make it”. This year has shown that our minds are all capable of going through fragile moments, mainly from the simple task of “staying in our houses”. So now more than ever, these institutions need to start investing in contingency plans for the masses of young minds that they have become responsible for. People dedicated to keeping tabs on the mental health of these kids, and helping them map out their futures, assessing options both in and out of the sport. This isn’t fantasy football; you can’t discard of these people the same way that you throw away cards on “Ultimate Team”. There needs to be more empathy towards them, especially to those who had injuries as a major contributor to their failure, as was the case with Jeremy. The damage that this has done to this family is irreparable, and it hurt more knowing that the incompetence of the people that you trusted were at fault.