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Let's have a higher standard for playing through injury

June 21, 2012 - Keith Shelton
Great moments in sport are often made when athletes go beyond the physical limitations of us mere average humans. Matthew Stafford shaking off team doctors and throwing a game winning touchdown with a separated shoulder, Steve Yzerman skating in the Stanley Cup Finals with a broken ankle. Brett Favre...being Brett Favre on any given day. LeBron James...playing through cramps? I was pretty disgusted reading about the recap of Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday morning and it had nothing to do with the hated Heat getting one step closer to that elusive title. From the lead of the story to quotes from teammates, James was made out to be a hero, overcoming all odds, playing through agony and pain and having an outstanding game, and for what? Because he played through leg cramps? Now, who am I to judge how much pain James was in. I’ve had charley horses, I’ve had painful cramps and I’m not even an athlete (though I did run track during my school years). But let’s get real. Is it worth devoting an entire game story to a player playing through leg cramps? Should we really be elevating athletes to the height of legendary status for dealing with somehing we’ve all dealt with in our own lives? If I have a leg cramp, I’m not getting out of work. I’m not even calling my doctor about it. A broken ankle or separated shoulder? That’s something to write home about. In James’ defense, he didn’t go out of his way to embellish his ailment. That was the writer and his teammates who were quoted ad nasuem, describing the amazing effort. But in all the great moments of athletes rising to the occassion and overcoming injury, James playing through a leg cramp surely ranks close to the bottom of the barrel.


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Keith Shelton