Let Them Play

Yep, this is was the battle cry when the Bad News Bears were being shortchanged in their big game.

C’mon, don’t act like you don’t remember, or say you never saw it. It was Bad News Bears Breaking Training. It was back before sequels had snappy names like “2”, “reloaded”, or “Empire Strikes Back”.

Anyway, the boys earn the right to travel to the Astrodome and play against a team of Texas rednecks that appear to be a good 4 years older than they were. This was well before Danny Almonte made us aware that this was a problem. But I digress.

So the boys have a van, but don’t have an adult driver. Kelly Leak does the trek from California to Texas in the driver’s seat. Timmy Lupus doesn’t make the trip which prompts Tanner to give the boys a “Win one for the Luper” speech. Kelly’s conflicted about seeing his Dad that moved away after divorcing from his Mom, but not too much to ask his Dad to coach him and his buddies. Chachi’s annoying cousin (Jimmy Baio) plays a New York pitcher with little real game. Tatum O’Neal’s gone, but at least Walter Matthau is too. And even though Tanner goes Tony Robbins with the Luper speech, he still tries to throw down with anybody that disses him.

In between innings, the Astros are kind enough to let the two teams play about seven minutes of ball before telling the kids the game was over. The Bears and their coach, Kelly Leak’s Dad (William Devane) are bent. Tanner refuses to leave the field and a chase by security ensues like when a squirrel, or cat gets loose nowadays on a field.

Coach hears someone from the crowd yell, “Let Them Play!”, and starts running around like a cheerleader getting the whole Dome crowd to join in the chant. The mlb ballplayers join in from the dugout, which means that the officials have no other choice than to let the game continue.

I won’t ruin the outcome of the game for the six or seven of you that couldn’t afford the 75 cents back in the day. All I’ll say is that it doesn’t turn out like the first movie where the Bears end up losing.

So now I just want to say, “Let Them Play!”

Of course I’m talking about superstar pro athletes that time their retirement well after their peak performance days are over. And no, this isn’t about the cheating first baseman in Baltimore that recently wore earplugs like he was seven. Next time, why not just stick your fingers in your ears and go “La, La, La, La, I can’t hear you!” You’d hit just as well.

I’m talking about players like Jordan, The Babe, Willie Mays, Magic, Emmit Smith, Joe Montana, and this week’s Bronco waiver victim, Jerry Rice. Real Hall Of Famers each of them in their own right.

I used to be like you and shake my head when I’d see someone continue to play after their game diminished to that of the play of the local high school.

But, then I had an awakening. It allowed me to continue my active daydreaming that with just a couple different career decisions, I could still be playing pro sports. The fact that my game was below average at my peak doesn’t matter. If I wouldn’t have devoted so much time to table tennis (ping pong for those undercultured), and spent more time on my Nerfoop, I could still be on the end of the bench for the Lakers. Heck, John Salley did it, and he has like 4 rings.

It’s not like I’m that old dude that still recalls his first single single basketball game, or keeps his own stats weekly while playing church league softball. Ok, maybe I am that dude, but I won’t wear one of those wrist rocket things when I bowl. I mean, if I were to ever bowl. Plus the stats are printed out automatically as part of the league fees. Ok, I do have a report framed and hanging in my office showing I’m batting a 1000. Who cares that it was the first game of the season, and I only batted once.

Plus, do you know what an advantage it is while playing basketball and going up with the ball while pretending you’re Willis Reed? Exactly, and the young dudes I play with don’t either. It’s called competitive A-D-V-A-N-T-A-G-E.

So let them play! If someone is willing to give them a job, they should be able to play. Even if they don’t realize that the team is using them to sell tickets. You’d probably do it. I know I would.

Oh yeah, if you ever made it all the way through the movie where the Bears go to Japan, you’re a bigger man than I am. And that is saying something, trust me.

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