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Simpler Days

This article is more than 15 years old.

It may be true that years ago we lived in simpler days,
When athletes who were idolized behaved in better ways,

And we were less inclined to muck about with what they'd do
When off the field or court, or how they screwed up, and with who,

Ah, whom. Still, I recall, some thirty years past, speculation
That basketball's Bill Walton, on the court a huge sensation,

Was in his spare time hiding Patty Hearst beneath his bed,
Or in his car, or in the woods, or somewhere else instead,

And I received a letter from a friend who wrote in jest,
"Why can't he just delight us with the thing that he does best?

Why can't he just play basketball, and stay off the front page?"
Alas there's nothing funny 'bout the charge that fouls our age...

The trial of Kobe Bryant looms as he resigns to play
For millions and more millions, if he doesn't go away

For up to twenty years or so, should judge and jury feel
That Bryant is a rapist who, despite the sweetest deal

The Lakers could concoct to keep their tarnished star in town,
Should exercise exclusively where grizzled guards peer down

From towers into yards where inmates count not points but time,
In places grim beyond the reach of idiotic rime.

It may be it was ever so, and old times were the same,
With players fouling their own nests, then offering the lame

And vapid explanations that the players still concoct,
When their attempts to save their precious images are blocked,
But even if it's so, and current heroes are no worse
Than villain/athletes of the past, I still can't help but nurse

The nagging, bleak suspicion that we live in times as sad
As they can be, because things have veered sharply toward the bad,

When rooting for a team means not just praying it won't fail,
But hoping that its players don't get caught and go to jail.

This program aired on July 23, 2004. The audio for this program is not available.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.


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