PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – We write and talk about the drunks, degenerates and knuckleheads in sports probably too much.
Same thing with the guys who get suspended. And the dregs, louts, ruffians and that ilk — but, hey, there seems to be an audience for it.
Drama sells. Drama moves the meter. Drama makes us all perk up and pay attention.
We are magnetically drawn to consume nonsense for some reason and I’m just as guilty as everyone else.
But how about an escape?
How about Anthony Rizzo and J.J. Watt?
How about a story of a couple of good guys and what a couple of good guys have done in the past few days? Man, isn’t it refreshing to know the sports world has men like these.
Rizzo, the Chicago Cubs’ first baseman with a penchant for pretty much standing on top of the plate in games, stepped up to the plate big-time off the field earlier this week as he gave a $3.5 million gift to Lurie Hospital in Chicago to fund children’s cancer research. That means a ton coming from anyone – but there’s a much, much more to it as Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as a teenager, underwent chemotherapy and is now in remission, going on to be not just a cancer survivor but one of the most powerful forces in Major League Baseball. The hospital also named the 18th floor after Rizzo and he became very emotional while giving a speech recalling his own treatments and how he remained positive even in his darkest time.
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) August 29, 2017
Anthony Rizzo — big-time talent, better person.
Same thing with J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans defensive end.
Seems you don’t have to turn far and the media coverage of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey will hit you. And it is utterly devastating, as greater Houston has been overwhelmed by the storm and its lingering impact. It isn’t hyperbole to say the happenings of the last week will render Houston — one of the country’s biggest cities — a place that will never, ever be the same.
Watt started what appeared to be just a personal, honest social media campaign to raise some money for the people impacted by Harvey. His goal was $200,000.
That was on Sunday.
Here it is Wednesday afternoon and Watt has surpassed the $6 million mark and his new goal is at $10 million. And, again, this just started as a man with a message on Twitter who understood that his celebrity could be used in a positive way so he produced a small video and people got behind him. They have stayed behind him and most likely will continue to do so.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) August 30, 2017
Just the same with Rizzo — a man who can use his celebrity (and monies gathered as a result) to help aid the fight of a dreadful disease afflicting far too many people.
So it is, you flick on your computer or pick up your iPhone and scroll through the sports stories all the time and see the requisite jerks and jackwagons. You read, see and hear about the guys who get in trouble and do dumb things, even though they have stardom and have gathered riches few in the world ever will.
Then you see this stuff about Watt and Rizzo and remember there certainly are good people out there too.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.