Gilbert didn't want to get Haynesworth'd
Gilbert Arenas might be in Orlando, but D.C. sports still course through his blood. When reporters asked him on Wednesday how he handled things down the stretch in Washington, he made the ultimate Washington sports analogy.
"I noticed things, so I knew I was gonna be out of there pretty soon," Arenas said. "So it was just don't do nothing to just get banned like Haynesworth did. So I basically was just walking on egg shells: didn't want to say anything, didn't really do much."
Good thing he didn't demand to only play on passing plays. Anyhow, you can see by his expression that some of the old Gilbert seems to be coming back. Jason Richardson told Michael Lee that Gilbert is smiling like he hasn't in years, and Otis Smith said Gilbert's trying to get the fun back. Can't say a cross word about any of that.
One more thing on Gilbert. I got a good deal of feedback on the thing I wrote about Gilbert's departure earlier in the week. It's sort of a complicated subject, as silly sports subjects go, and I'm still not sure exactly what I think. But this comment, from HogShotGlass, made me want to reconsider yet again. Who knows. Check it out.
Dan, this is thoughtful, solemn, 'mature', and profoundly, wrenchingly wrong....
You seem to be betraying the joyful, larger-than-cliche philosophical spirit that has made Arenas and the Bog itself so wonderful for so many years. And you're trading it in for... the ultimate sportswriting platitude, that nothing matters except championships?
Sorry, Dan, but Gilbert's wisdom strikes a deeper chord than you seem to be able to appreciate these days. Championships are not the tree, bro. They're just not. The tree is life -- the journey, as gidge says, the living, the being, the loving, the endless human splendor of existence. And Gilbert delivered so much of that that, so wonderfully, that I can't begrudge for not also producing something as relatively puny as a 'championship.' I wouldn't trade him for seven overserious Tim Duncans, or fourteen desiccated Bill Belichicks.
I appreciate the thought that went into this essay, but I'm genuinely disturbed by its conclusion. Exactly 1 of 32 pro sports teams wins a title each year. Giving into the [nonsense] that the rest are losers, no matter how phenomenal their swag, is surrendering to the worst and most brutal tendencies in American life -- the banal, pernicious, deathless Protestant Ethic/Horatio Alger nonsense that destroyed Jay Gatz and somehow, ruinously, still dominates discourse in sports, politics, and society today. Really, I thought you were better than that.
I don't want to be banal or pernicious, nor do I want to be ruinous. I'll keep thinking.
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