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The 2012 Book of the Year Award: "The Fix Is In" by Brian Tuohy
As the saying goes, "Truth hurts." It surely does, but it sets you free, and that's what I got (you will too). Being a pro basketball fan for almost 16 years, a pro bowling fan, a so-so hockey fan and admiring Michael Jordan as if he were my dad, I'm amazed the majority's veins hasn't popped at the show business-like storylines that has coated the world of sports (hello, WWE). Because of their deceptive 'scripts' that has kept many people from focusing on the real world and doing some good for the life of others, it's about time the curtains burst into flames, unveiling the hidden antics where sports leagues of all kinds have set down for the sake of acquiring high ratings and revenue. Hey, the idea hasn't broken yet, so leagues shouldn't fix it if it works, right? I mean, look at all that money they're making...and some of that money is YOUR money! (I grew up with sports-obsessed classmates at school, where even the nerdiest nerd knew who God Shammgod was and what team he played for during his time—Washington Wizards, in case you forgot.) From the Olympics to the NBA's/MLB's push to numerous Game 7s extracting any more revenue with a touch of drama, there's no question that Sports Conspiracies have risen, and such skepticism is here to stay until all leagues come clean. The more this goes on, it is then conspiracies quickly turn into truth—rib-breaking truth, as many sports skeptics use the leagues' own video footage to prove a point. Thanks to the internet, Sports Conspiracies has become a frequently trending topic (keep it up, folks), and judging some plays being so suspicious, even sports analysts themselves couldn't help but admit it, without getting fired for it. In fact, sports journalists and the media work all they could to report off-topic discussions, like gun control, to cover up an athlete's recent criminal arrest. To add insult to fans' injury, gamblers, bounties and organized crime infiltrate the outcome(s) of the games and paying/bribing/conning athletes/coaches for it. Many have said, "well, that's pro leagues for you and that's why I watch college because it's more real." Good riddance, except that college sports are just as corrupt, and rightfully so since it's easy to con gullible kids out of some money, who won't be drafted to the NFL or the NBA anyway, getting them to toss out an important game or keeping a watchful eye on the score to comply with the point spread (cover or not to cover?). And who doesn't want free money just to throw a game?
Even sports fans themselves have weight to carry. Certain teams WILL NEVER win a championship because of their market value, regardless of what great players they have (hello, Cleveland Cavalier fans). Yet no matter what, these guys, and some women, dump their life savings in hopes their favorite team wins. What do fans get in return? Just a "thank you"? From fans threatening to kill someone over insults directed at "your" team to skipping school/work to watch a crucial playoff game and not being affected by your significant other finding someone new who makes her happier, fans have worshipped their sports team, or athlete, like religion. (I know someone personally who admittedly gave his soul to the LA Lakers. His days, self-esteem and disposition are based solely off of the successes/failures of the Lakers' performance.) So Jesus Christ isn't our Savior, but it's Tim Tebow or Carmelo Anthony. Fans say "we" as in "we did really well and won that game." Reality check: you didn't score the winning goal, you didn't force overtime with that game-tying three-point basket and you're not playing for the team. Fans have gone all out, from their income to their soul, to sacrifice that one moment just to see their team win the gold no matter what. Suppose "your" team doesn't win, will the world end tomorrow? Nope, it's not.
This choice for Book of the Year seems rather controversial, since it'll put my friendships and acquaintanceships in serious jeopardy (oh well). I, personally, refuse to succumb to the corruption running on this planet, infecting us with lies, just to make a quick buck. I've had a couple of instances where folks think I'm livid over sports because "my" team isn't good, while another one hoped I burn in Hell; yes, seriously. The catch is these guys are older than I am, so I can only imagine how they were able to rummage through life's troubles when they were my age. These are the same folks who constantly yap about hating liars, yet it's okay to lie to yourself and be a diehard fan of sports/reality TV shows/TV news—examples of mediums that have the rights to lie. It is not against the law for them to do so (football fans, who wanted to sue/boycott the NFL after that Packers-Seahawks game, please rejoice). If you thought government was corrupt, as corrupt as ShinRa from Final Fantasy VII, sports are included up there as well.
What should shatter you, the fan, and others along with you, is that IT IS NOT ILLEGAL for these sports leagues to rig their own games. So why do they do it, even if they know it's unfair? Benefits. Back in the day when movies were growing in popularity, filmmakers added violence, gore and sex scenes to spike audience viewership while telling a great story, or sending a message on certain issues in the world. Same goes with sports. If rigging their own games spikes ratings and advertising revenue, wouldn't it make sense to pursue such idea? For TV networks to bring in viewers, they fund professional sports. However, if an athlete/coach gets in trouble, they subtly try to curve the story into something positive, or they sweep it under the rug until people forget about it. Sports leagues aren't going to be honest and say they actually rig games, given all this money from TV networks to "put on a show for the fans." They rig games and expose any drama (á la Tim Tebow during his season with the New York Jets), which keeps fans on their toes giving them something to talk about, while they draw up their next script in how to end the season, for money-making benefits. And yes, that also includes the hats, t-shirts, accessories and 'authentic' jerseys you purchase as well.
Now going out and playing sports is a good thing. Nothing like a brisk run and sweat-breaking adrenaline to keep you going and keep you in great shape. However, those who sit and watch sports 25/8, this book guarantees to open eyes and put one back in their place to reevaluate their life skeptically, and everything else. You learn everything, from the fans themselves, TV networks, questioning crucial games, unapologetic athletes (some of whom are convicted criminals, wife-beaters, gamblers, rapists, etc) and The Great Hippodrome. The content written in this book is about as harsh and direct as you can get without any holdbacks, so much so that it'll make Stephen A. Smith jump off his seat. Author Brian Tuohy doesn't speak kindly about the lies going on in sports in this book; he presents it straight to your face. Get this: He released an article explaining how he was constantly rejected for interviews by major sports outlets, after having read the book themselves; that's how heart-wrenching it is, making it a sign that the leagues are shaking their knees, knowing they'll get cornered with their frauds. It's truly going to break that shell that you've been living under for years. The second you see lights through those cracks, it'll burn your eyes, but you'll be walking on sunshine eventually. Sound good? Great, now pick this book up and get reading.
Don't want to know the truth about sports, just to continue lying to yourself that sports is all pure? I bid you the best living a life of lies—if being lied at makes you happy, that is. Peace.