Nobody tried harder to pretend to be normal in 2020 than professional athletes and celebrities. They worked in bubbles and sheltered in luxury. They were tested more often than they peed which for the cheaters, was also a test.
In previous years, quips by pro athletes were light and funny. Like when college football player Matt Elliott said of his opponent Alonzo Spellman: “Physically he’s a world-beater. Mentally, he’s an egg-beater.” Or when Andy VanSlyke explained why his Pittsburg Pirates were last in their division: “You can’t ask Mr. Ed to keep up with Secretariat!”
2020 was a dark year even for quotes. Said former major league outfielder Carl Everett: “God created the sun, the stars and the earth and then made Adam and Eve. The Bible never said anything about dinosaurs.” Well despite a time lapse between Dino and the Holy Writ of approximately 66 million years, there actually is a reference to Tyrannosaurus rex in the Good Book. See Romans. Raptors. Kawhi Bounce 4: “Raise thee on high thy NBA Championship Trophy yee Five King’s of the B-Ball court.”
Weighing in on the COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming NBA season, Raptor’s star Kyle Lowry said: “It’s going to be a tough year.” Yeah, living in the Tampa Marriott Hotel with 24-hour room service, masseuses, first class food and travel will be sheer hell. Less so for your colleagues Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Rudy Gobert and Giannis Antetokounmpo who just signed contract extensions in excess of $200 million… each. Let’s see, for $800 million divided by the annual salary of $80,000 you get 10,000 nurses on the front line of healthcare for one year.
I’ve always considered Boston Bruin legend Bobby Orr to be — along with Wayne Gretzky and Slava Fetisov — a gem in the greatest hat trick of hockey talent in the world. But when Orr endorsed Donald Trump for president with a full-page US newspaper ad — thumbs up and claiming Trump had come through for Americans “regardless of race, gender or station in life” — as a Canadian, it hurt to read that quote. Orr may have thrilled Trump’s fan base but his own took a real shrinking. Orr ended the ad by saying of Trump: “The kind of teammate I want.” Yeah, but you’ll have to hide the women and children whenever he comes to the rink.
From male athletes to men of another planet comes the enigmatic Elon Musk with: “The coronavirus is dumb. Fear is the mind-killer.” For sheer optimism that is off the chart and out of this world, my favourite news photo of 2020 shows the Space X founder striking a two-thumbs up pose and looking like he just won the Power Ball lottery, then lost the ticket and really could care less. His gushing quote: “Successful ascent, switchover to header tanks & precise flap control to landing point!… Mars, here we come!!” Elon Musk uttered those words just moments after his Starship prototype exploded into a fireball during a failed re-entry maneuver. If his house ever burns to the ground, he’ll likely jump what’s left of the couch.
Former President Barak Obama put an amusing spin on America’s sudden meltdown of factualness when he coined the phrase “truth-decay.”
A lot of threats were thrown around during November’s US election but none as confusing as: “If Biden wins I am leaving the United States and moving to Hawaii!” Headline: “Trump supporters self-exile, holed up in Waikiki.”
“Love Trump?… Thank President Trump by contributing to this campaign to buy his childhood home in his honour!” That’s the go fund me pitch to buy Trump’s boyhood home as a gift to the outgoing president when he leaves office… in 2029. Unfortunately young Donald told so many fibs, they can’t figure out where he lived. Last report, they were zeroing in on a castle made of sugar plums in a place called Narnia.
Said actor Will Smith’s son, Jaden: “If everybody in the world dropped out of school, we would have a much more intelligent society.” Yeah, and turn all those empty buildings into… think tanks?!?
Not only did Justin Bieber capture the zeitgeist of Millenials with: “How blessed are we to be able to like — a lot of people in this time have a crappy situation… you know they look at us. And obviously, we’ve worked hard for where we’re at, so it’s like, you can’t feel bad for the things we have.” — he also gave us a glimpse of what the world would be like if everybody did drop out of school.
Perhaps the sports quote that best describes how we all feel, gutted and tired after a year under house arrest harks back to NBA’s Utah Jazz coach Frank Leyden who scolded a rookie for his poor performance. “I said Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy? And the kid said: “Coach, I don’t know and I don’t care.” Depressed, confused and we don’t give a rip — the year 2020 is in our rearview mirror but hardly soon enough.
Any of the ten books written by
William Thomas are available at www.williamthomas.ca