If You Can’t Take the Heat, Have Yourself a Good Cry

Lebron doing what his tear-ducts do.

At the risk of being culturally relevant for the second time in a week (my post about ignoring Charlie Sheen got over 1100 views, shattering my previous record by 1000—and I’m not crediting my witty writing style), I have to say something about the whole Miami-Heat-crying-in-the-locker-room- nonsense.

For the uninitiated, Lebron James was a free agent this past off-season and decided after much fanfare to leave his hometown basketball team in Cleveland and join two other superstar players in Miami. He was completely within his rights to do so, but still came off  like the greedy, self-centered, spoiled jock he most probably was before this whole debacle started. Since then, you can’t change the channel without hearing noise about how great the Miami Heat is, how terrible the Miami Heat is, what an evil villain Lebron James is, blah de blah—if you still have no idea who Lebron James is, just hang in with me for awhile. So recently the Heat lost a string of emotional games, many in the last seconds. Their coach stood up at the press conference after the latest game and said players were crying in the locker-room afterward.

Stop the presses! Did you say “crying”? Who was crying exactly? How long did they cry? Did you count the tears? Were they showering while they cried? Did they hold each other? Do these particular players cry during touching movies? Songs? Hallmark commercials? Is the rest of the team accepting of their teammates’ homosexuality? Is the entire team homosexual? How long have you known about the rampant homosexuality in the NBA? Coach, did you comfort your players while they cried? Physically? Can we weigh your loafers please?

RI DIC U LOUS NESS. When you cut through all the BS, what they’re playing upon is the oldest, alpha male, macho, John Wayne, sexist, “don’t overcook the steak” stereotype in the book: men don’t cry. Athletes, being the foremost bastions of testosterone-driven masculinity in American (and many of the world’s) culture, are especially subject to this dry-eyed dictum. If men don’t cry, supermen don’t even well up. It’s a load of dung and it’s about as out-of-touch as Father Knows Best. Men aren’t hunters anymore (in the cromagnon sense), they don’t have super-powers, they’re not grunting, aloof, work-obsessed money machines. They can be tough, aggressive, dangerous, selfish jerks. They can be selfless, sensitive, well-intentioned jerks. Men are people. Fundamentally different from the female of the species, but still technically people. With working tear ducts.

Now I KNOW that’s not going to sit well with your cliché sports fanatic who ignores his family on football Sundays, yells at his kid when he strikes out in Little League and laughs whenever somebody flatulates. Suck it up, pansies. Have the guts to face the truth. You cried at the end of “Field of Dreams,” punks. Hell, you probably cried when Andre the Giant died. If you think I’m painting too broad a picture of the typical knuckleheaded yahoo sports fan, yes. Yes I am. As broad a picture, perhaps, as “men don’t cry”.

But let’s not forget the real culprits here, the slugs who perpetuate this malarkey. Oh no, he’s not going to blame the press is he? They’re still smarting from that who “not hounding GW Bush out of office after he led us into war under false pretenses” thing. Well…yeah, I am. Sports reporters, more than any other types of reporters, are bound to the Marlboro Man vision of maleness. They have their own cliché–the hard-bitten, hard-drinking, cigar chomping, skirt chasing anti-sissy, who would rather chop off his writing hand than watch a grown man cry. You ever actually see one of these fops? They look like hobbits. They’re usually five-three, glasses, 75-80% body fat, and couldn’t make a layup without a ladder. The weakest player on the NBA could make the strongest beat reporter cry in approximately eight seconds. Yet these tough guys are the ones who pass judgment on who is allowed to cry and when. And we eat it up with a big, wooden, Lee Marvin man-spoon.

I’ll stop crying now…Charlie Sheen!

    • Kae
    • March 8th, 2011

    Re: the hits as a result of your discussion about Charlie Sheen, I’ve resolved not to click on articles about him. At first, I thought he was truly mentally ill, and he well may be, but I’ve become more and more convinced that he’s playing us much as Guildenstern tried to play Hamlet. I don’t like being manipulated, either by the press, celebrities, or anybody else.

    I love your blogs, Brian, and I read them every day!

  1. Thanks Kae. We saw pics of the baby–adorable! Congratulations!

    Charlie Sheen has reached such a critical mass of press interest I fear he will soon supernova and take the rest of us with him. I was sick of him before his latest bender, but here we are still talking about his sorry, untalented butt.

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