There’s a sports-news-talk radio station out of Detroit that I really like to listen to when I’m home – 97.1 “The Ticket”. Well, one of the daytime-shows on there do a bit called “Champ and Chump”, where every Monday they have listeners call in with their nominations for a sports figure Champ and Chump for the week previous (ending Sunday). I’ve always loved this. It’s amazing how some people’s nominations can go, too, depending on where their team allegiances lie – quite frequently, they have people calling in to nominate the same sports figure, but one person will be a vote for Champ, another for Chump. Just yet another example (cigars, politics, religion, cars, food, etc., etc.) of how beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder – a differing viewpoint can make all the difference sometimes.
Anywho…I love this idea, but have always thought it applied to so much more than sports. Since I started listening to this radio station years ago, I’ve always had this “Champ and Chump” thing in the back of my mind when reading and hearing about various world news. Who, in various world events, would we generally like to see put into a Hall of Fame, or Wall of Shame? So, I’m gonna pirate the idea a bit and tweak it to make it my own. I’m gonna try to make it a regular Monday thing here – my “Champ and Chump of the Week” when it comes to various world news stories that have impressed or depressed me over the course of the week previous.
CHAMP: Pope Francis
What a pendulum swing the Roman Catholic church has been on over these recent years. As a born and raised one myself, I’ve been anything but “Catholic” since adolescence – adulthood definitely threw back the veil from my eyes, especially after some missionary trips to the Dominican Republic in the mid-90’s. While I generally feel and respect that there’s “some great deity up there”, I also generally disdain the “big business”-like attitudes, corporate greed, and inner-sanctum-secrecy that the Church has been exposed for lately. For me, it’s similar to that line from the movie “Stigmata”, where the Church tried to hide a gospel of Christ Himself, stating “…the Kingdom of Heaven is inside you and all around you, not in buildings of brick and stone…”, etc. – self-serviant pricks.
But, not to turn this into a diatribe about organized religion itself (as there’s definitely some good ones [religions and persons within each] out there)…
Case in point – Pope Francis. The Church as a whole is definitely seeming, in recent years, like it’s wanting to correct actions and attitudes in the past that have been hard for them to move past, but still with lots of the higher clergy acting like ostriches with their heads in the sand, refusing to make right a wrong of the past.
Pope Francis seems like he wants to lead that charge of change. How? By marrying a bunch of adulterors living in sin, and bastard-breeders (according to how some of these crusty pricks in the Church would refer to them)…
Good for him! Friggen’ awesome! After all, I remember when I was active at church as a young kid and then as an alterboy (don’t read too much into that, before your mind goes to the gutter), that when I wasn’t falling asleep and missing ringing those damn bells signalling the priest was holding up that giant stale cracker, that every now and again there was a homily with some good messages. But mostly teachings that God and/or Jesus wanted us to love our neighbours as we do ourselves, to treat everyone like a trusted family member and friend, to love each other, to do as would be done upon us, etc.
So, its awesome then that Pope Francis is reinforcing that feeling of humanity and humility within the Church. It’s been BADLY missing lately.
You just know though that there was likely a consortium of crusty old prick cardinals in the other room, and when word spread of what the Pope was doing, they were like, “WTF DID THAT JAGOFF JUST DO?!?!?!!?!?”
Good for the Pope, man.
But…imagine being the poor pricks who got married by him. It’s been 14 years since a Pope married anybody. DAMN. Like a marriage doesn’t have enough stresses and pressures on it! Imagine getting married by the Pope – if your marriage fails, you’ve got one HELL of a lot of people shitting down your throat afterwards!!!! You guys out there think your mothers and mother-in-laws can give you a hard time now; imagine what it’d be like if your marriage failed after you brought the family before a Pope!!!
Anyways, Pope Francis is my Champ of the Week, for leading by example, continuing to work on striking out the hypocrisy that the Catholic Church seems to be built on, and working towards a better future for Catholics hopefully.
CHUMP: Roger Goodell and the NFL
Seriously – like WTF?!?!?!!?
Like the NFL doesn’t have enough issues going on, that Goodell and the NFL decides to shit the bed on this whole domestic-assault-of-players’-wives-and-kids thing. I’m not even bothering to quote any news links here – there’s more than enough you’ve likely already been bombarded with here. Whether you like football or not, if you don’t know what’s been going on with Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, Adrian Peterson, et al, you’ve either got your ass stuck at a research station in Antartica, or you’re a Martian.
And don’t get me wrong – I’m in no way against corporal punishment with your kids (for example) when needed. I was spanked as a kid (needed it more than others maybe!) I was even hit with a strap and stuff like that. But times have changed, and the laws need to be respected (along with moral norms). Throwing left-jabs and knocking out your woman, or beating your kid with a switch/branch is way different.
The NFL has already become the “No Fun League”. It’s ridiculous anymore – I remember (and dude, I ain’t that old) when it was uber rare to have 20 penalties in a game. We didn’t know who the referees know because it didn’t matter – the players were allowed to play the game. They’ve messed with things so much, shit penalties that have no more gray area for “roughing the passer” or barely touching the kicker (after you’ve been hit in mid-air, and there’s no way to change trajectories)…but then in the same breath, their drug policy is a joke, and now this comes out.
Hey, I did specialized security years back. I knew NFL and NHL stars that had wallets full of one special card – to a special 1-800 number with the league’s special on-call lawyers, ready to protect the interest of the leagues and the teams at all costs, whatever the issue. Protect the bottom line. Protect the leagues. Pay off whoever’s needed. This or that accident never happened, etc. Such a crock of shit. Same then, no doubt the same now.
Unfortunately for those of us who are into things for the pureness of the sport – it’s never gonna change, ladies and gents. The commissioners don’t even run these leagues. The bottom-line does, and the shareholders in that are the owners, the players’ associations, the sponsors, etc. Fans and the pureness of the respective sports get fucked over for it. It’s happened in hockey (gawd, just LOOK at what Gary Bettman has done to fuck up the NHL lately, but under the whim of the owners), cycling (a la doping scandals), even “amateur” sports (while I love the Olympics, even that’s gone to shit), etc., etc.
So Roger Goodell’s not the first to pull the wool over society’s eyes by covering up for his players beating on their chicas. But the nature of how he’s shit the bed on this, and how it’s spiraled so ridiculously out of control (come on – you didn’t see/get all the video tapes from that casino/hotel?!?!?!?), makes him my Chump of the Week. Jagoff.