Who’s better - Oregon or Auburn? Boise State or TCU? Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? Or Drew Brees? Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay? Or Cliff Lee? The Lakers or the Celtics? Or the Heat? Michael or Kobe? Or LeBron? George W. or Barack? Rush or Michael Moore? Let’s delete the last pair since each has an agenda to get personally wealthy while dividing the country beyond salvation.
In each instance, there are numerous - and loud - votes cast for each. Any of the above comparisons will elicit extreme emotion from the debaters. Yet, everybody can’t be right. Or wrong.
Every time I hear one of those topics discussed - or when I used to participate in them when I was younger and (thought I was) wiser, one tactic would invariably creep into the discussion. That tactic was demeaning the opposition. Hey, maybe we shouldn’t delete Limbaugh vs. Moore after all. Demeaning the opposition is at the core of each of their messages.
As an example, let’s look at the top two teams in the current college football poll. Oregon supporters will argue they’ve blown away everybody (except Cal). Auburn backers will talk of how their team plays in the nation’s toughest league. Before long, however, UO people will be saying that Auburn is a one-man show and that one man probably is ineligible. AU folks will counter with the Pac-10 being nothing but a bunch of soft teams and that if Phil Knight ever pulled his support, the Ducks would shrink to mid-major status.
I was guilty of this type of immaturity - when I was a teenager. Maybe even a few years (decades?) beyond. But after reading an article on the Harbaugh brothers in Sports Illustrated, I’ve come to the same conclusion that my friend Jeff Van Gundy stated on an NBA broadcast a couple weeks ago. After reading the same article, Jeff says he has sworn off comparisons because of something that John Harbaugh said in that interview:
“I’ve got this rule. We make no comparisons. Somebody is going to be devalued.”
If people would follow the “somebody is going to be devalued” rule, the world of sports would be less fun for the fanatics and void of talk radio, but a lot more sane for others.