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Remember, sports aren’t everything

Ryan Stieg

Sports are important in many people’s eyes, and rightfully so.

They bring us joy, excitement and anticipation, while at the same time providing us with pain, sorrow and disappointment.

It’s hard to find a bigger thing in life that can give you that much emotional feeling in a short period of time.

Just look at the Detroit Lions-Green Bay Packers game on Monday night.

Detroit fans thought the Lions were on the cusp of beating Green Bay for the fifth straight time and also the third consecutive time at Lambeau. Things were going that well.

However, the Detroit offense had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns as the game wore on and then the Lions were defeated by their oldest rival, the officials.

Detroit was hit with two bizarre hands-to-the-face penalties along with a personal foul and a missed pass interference call on Green Bay. Eventually, with the help of Detroit’s offensive struggles and some gifts from the officiating crew, the Packers prevailed by one point and that roller coaster of emotions for Lions’ fans hit bottom.

And this wasn’t some kiddie coaster. This was the Screaming Mimi from the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation” that caused John Candy’s character to throw up. Lions fans probably felt the same way.

The wrath on social media was massive from current NFL players to former players and coaches. Media personalities also didn’t hold back, demanding that the league do something to fix what has been arguably the worst officiated season in league history.

That may seem like hyperbole, but let’s be real here, it has been. The NFL in typical fashion has said nothing about the debacle and won’t because, well, why should they? That would require effort and it’s got a money bin larger than Scrooge McDuck’s to play in.

Yet, as frustrating as it is to watch the NFL repeatedly crash into things like a clumsy waiter and then patiently hope that fans will be eventually OK with spaghetti on their clothes, there’s a bigger picture out there that we should keep in mind.

Sports aren’t everything and this is coming from a guy who writes about them for a living.

Here’s a good example. Washington Nationals pitcher Daniel Hudson, who clinched the team’s first-ever World Series bid on the mound Tuesday night, missed Game 1 of the NLCS for a personal reason.

His wife went into labor with the couple’s third child and he wanted to be there because in his words, “My family is top priority for me.” He went on paternity leave, but he was back in time for Game 2.

Some people didn’t think that should be the case, though. The Nationals were in the playoffs and everybody’s mind should be on that, they said. Hudson wasn’t committed enough to the team, they said.

One particular guy with a clown take was former Miami Marlins president David Samson, who tweeted “Unreal that Daniel Hudson is on paternity list and missing Game 1 of NLCS. Only excuse would be a problem with the birth or health of baby or mother. If all is well, he needs to get to St. Louis. Inexcusable.” This guy must be a peach to hang around with.

As Yahoo Sports’ Jack Baer pointed out, this is the same guy who had a RICO racketeering lawsuit filed against him when he was an executive with the Montreal Expos (who later moved and became the Nationals), had a Security and Exchange Commission investigation begin over the stadium deal the Marlins got from taxpayers, and lost his mind over an octopus mascot winning a fun between-innings race.

The octopus is supposed to lose every time, but he ended up winning once because another mascot tripped. Instead of realizing that sometimes unplanned stuff happens, Samson went berserk and threatened to fire all the mascots if the octopus won again.

If that wasn’t enough, he was the first person voted off the TV show “Survivor” in 2014 after his strategy failed. Hey, when you’re a slimeball with a temper who makes stupid decisions, you’ve got to stay consistent.

While Samson was being a jerk on social media, Hudson’s manager Dave Martinez was supportive of Hudson, saying “Family’s always first” and “We get him back when we get him back.”

As it turned out, the team didn’t even need Hudson as former Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez almost threw a no-hitter for Washington and the Nats took Game 1.

See what happens when people support you, everything tends to work out.

It’s not just Hudson’s story that shows how sports can take a back seat. Kelly Stafford also has a tale to tell.

The wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, Kelly suffered a brain tumor and ended up going through a 12-hour surgery to remove it. She recounted her experience in an ESPN essay and said she had to relearn how to walk and couldn’t see her kids for two weeks.

Her surgery took place in April, so her husband wasn’t in the middle of the Lions’ season or a playoff run like Hudson.

However, Kelly said that her husband had to report to training camp in July and that she knew that it “killed him” to be gone. Matthew Stafford said back in May that football helped him to cope with his wife’s recovery, but he also said that “situations like this change your perspective on a lot of things. It kind of puts stuff where it should be.”

And things like that should be kept in mind. As important as sports are in our everyday lives, they ultimately should take a backseat whenever something personal happens, whether it’s your health or the care of a loved one.

The NFL and its officials are a constant thorn in our sides, but the rollercoaster of sports can never compare to your own ride.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.