It's time to start facing the music

May 04, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

Reality can be a real pain.

I always suspected there was a reason why people skirt reality's absolute truth with niceties. It's like taking a stretch limo to a mud-bog race while trying not to get it dirty.

For me, action spoke much louder than any candy-coated words could last weekend.

It came when I played (loose interpretation) in the annual Hagerstown Suns Media Softball Tournament. It was the validation stamp on things that I already knew ... painfully.

1. My range in the field is like my hairline - receding.

2. To steal a line from other "mature" athletes, I lost another step. For me, that means I'm standing still, since I never had that step in the first place. I've always had an orange triangle on my back, saved for slow-moving, wide-load vehicles.


3. I noticed I run the bases like Gene, Gene, The Dancing Machine from the old Gong Show. For the younger set, that's like being a mobile William Hung, the "She Bang" guy from "American Idol."

Most of all, I realized my body rebels more now than it used to. I woke up the next day and started moving around like Fred Sanford, from the old "Sanford and Son" character on TV Land.

What's the reality of it all?

I'm getting old. I admit that. And when you link that with the things I already knew - like being overweight, unathletic and lacking speed - it only goes to prove my theory of "Those who can't do, write."

It's not all bad, though.

Realizing my reality allows perspective. I think it allows me to look at the bigger, clear picture and understand some things.

God knows, I have more time to do it since I'm sitting here too sore to move. So let's consider:

  • Can the greed of some of sports' star athletes become any more obvious?

    For years, we have heard guys whining to the press that all they want to do is get the chance to play for a winning team with the chance of winning a championship.

    Yeah, right.

    Here we have Kobe Bryant and Pedro Martinez, both playing on arguably the top teams in their respective sports, talking about testing the free-agent waters to see just how much they are worth.

    Is that because they want to share the wealth of their experiences or experience the share of someone else's wealth?

    Winning really isn't everything, I guess.

  • We had another case of a top pick in the draft dictating where he wants to play.

    Eli Manning told the San Diego Chargers not to choose him in last week's NFL Draft. He didn't like the fit. He threatened to sit out the year, not play and wait until the 2005 Draft.

    The Chargers took Manning as the No. 1 pick and then, made something out of what could have been nothing with a trade to the New York Giants.

    So, in a sense, Manning threw a tantrum and held his breath until he turned blue (NY's uniform color).

    San Diego should have called his bluff and forced him to miss a season of football. It's quite likely Manning wouldn't have been drafted No. 1 again next year, especially if he didn't play.

    The reality is that Manning had more power than he should in the situation.

    The Chargers couldn't afford to have a player not play after having such a horrible 2003 season. That's bad business. That forces the trade.

    Manning gets what he wants, probably at the price he wants. And if he didn't, I'm sure there would be some collusion lawsuit.

    It all gives winning at all costs a bad name.

  • Why are fans so loyal to any professional sports team? How loyal are they to you?

    Just what have the Orioles, Redskins, Capitals and Wizards done for you lately? Not much, especially when it comes to winning.

    That makes the affiliation issue even more perplexing when it comes to the Suns. It's about baseball, not Orioles baseball.

    Besides, the Orioles left Hagerstown, minor league baseball didn't.

    So who's the loyal one?

  • Sometimes, I wonder if we are living in a time warp.

    Washington County seems to be wandering through life with blinders on. There seems to be this belief we are living in 1964 instead of 2004.

    Now if that were true, I'd still be an awful Little League player. But it's not. I had to grow up.

    This area has to do the same.

    This area has put up a gallant fight to stop growth and keep things "the way they were." We're not Barbra Streisand.

    No matter what we do, this area is about to grow in leaps and bounds. Just look at the housing developments and real-estate prices if you need a clue.

    With all the extra population, there will be a need for recreational facilities, like it or not.

    Monday's North-South baseball game at Municipal Stadium proves a nice facility can have multiple uses. Something like a new stadium could hold many local games, concerts and, oh yeah, minor league baseball.

    The need also cries out for a facility at North Hagerstown. It is a structure on a smaller scale that would level the playing field for all the schools in the county.

    Before anyone starts shouting about tax money, need and how it's not something that is listed on their own personal agenda, let's try something novel.

    It's call "planning."

    There are other recreational facilities that could come from it all, like soccer fields, parks and fitness areas, if time is taken to think before acting.

    If it's all done now, we have the opportunity to make the area we want to live in while accommodating for growth. If we wait, someone will certainly do it for us and control our quality of life.

    And that's the reality of it all.

    Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2310, or by e-mail at

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