Friday, October 20, 2017

Hayward Breaks a Bone, Sports World Gets Weird

By Kevin Beane

I'm sitting here watching the Cavs/Celtics NBA opener, asking myself if I want to write a liveblog about it. About two minutes prior to me writing this very sentence, Gordon Hayward broke his leg. There was no doubt about it; it was bent perpendicularly.

On TNT, Kevin Harlan said immediately, "Hayward has broken his leg, Hayward has broken his leg." That was followed by those two minutes of graceful nothing from the announcers while we looked at the shocked, pained faces of all the players. And I do mean all the players.

If I would've done a column, I even had a flippant joke about Hayward ready, but in the space of less a minute, it becomes in poor taste to make it. Life comes at you fast.

To the announcers' credit, they did not say, "It's times like this you realize it's just a game." I hate that phrase more than any other in sports. We should remember that even if no one gets hurt. Keeping sports in proper perspective ought to be something we are decent at even in the face of someone else's harrowing injury.

It sucks for the Celtics, Hayward, and their fans that (I'm guessing; still too early to tell) Hayward is out for the year. At least Hayward is likely to walk again and resume his career at some point.

Football, of course, is where we see a few players per year have injuries that may or may not rob them of their ability to walk ever again. I'm glad Hayward joined the Kevin Ware/Tyrone Prothro club and not the Eric LeGrand/Darryl Stingley club.

I don't know what I'm trying to say here. I find something unseemly about our reactions to serious injuries in sports. We, as fans, know they can happen. The players know it can happen. But we still act shocked when it does.

Well ... maybe we should stopped being shocked. This is sports as we know it. Even as the players are in the immediate throes of horrific injuries, they often reject the solemnity of the moment; when teammates were waxing poetic at him with tears in his eyes after he was stretchered off the court, Kevin Ware was responding, "just win the game."

Now in the second quarter, word is that Hayward broke his ankle, not his leg. He'll soon be a common sight — a player on the sidelines in crutches. In 2013, Mavericks' top pick Shane Larkin broke his ankle on July 12th and played in his first game November 18th. If all else is equal, Hayward will be back in February.

I still won't make my joke, though. You guys would be weird about it.

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