Jeff Pearlman

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Shoot

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Most Saturday mornings I play pickup hoops at an outdoor court about two miles from my home.

It’s an absolute joy—a mishmash of people, ages ranging from, oh, 18 to 60. The skill level varies from hack to above-average small college player. Few fouls are called. There’s almost no trash talk. Seriously, it’s a delight.

Today, however, I made a mistake.

There’s a guy who plays regularly. A really nice guy. In his 50s, backward baseball cap, wears a Mets shirt. I can’t say enough nice things about him, from his game (very solid and professional) to his demeanor (chipper, upbeat). Again—a wonderful man to have on your pickup team.

Anyhow, one of the guys who showed up today was 19; a local college student who said he aspires to be a journalist. I mentioned that I, too, am a reporter. And then, the man I like and admire and enjoy complained.

About.

Fake.

News.

Fuck.

We chatted. And it got a bit heated. He loves Trump. He hates Obama. He thinks Fox News is too liberal, and also thinks CNN is an arm of the Democratic Party. We started shouting a bit—I asked how it was kosher for candidate Donald Trump (Mr. Patriot) to spend five years insisting a sitting president was actually a Kenyan-born Muslim. It turned heated. Not physical, or even close to physical. But spirited—in a bad way.

Fuck.

I hate that. Seriously, I hate that. We calmed down and moved on, but why did it even have to come up? Why couldn’t I turn the other cheek and say nothing? I’m not changing his mind, and what would really be the benefit were I able to change his mind? I mean, what would have been the gain?

So now I know he loves Trump and hates Obama.

And it changes something.

It really does.

Fuck.

  • TLM

    I would’ve flagged the guy at Mets shirt …

  • starreporter

    It can be disappointing when you learn that people you otherwise really like and admire have viewpoints that you just can’t agree with. I recently joined a fantasy baseball league with some older guys…this is a long-running league and I was honored to be invited to join. I met with the commish at his house and we had some great conversations about baseball, about our families, our other hobbies. We really hit it off. Then later I looked him up on Facebook and saw that he posted a lot of pro-life stuff I disagreed with, along with stuff praising Trump, blasting immigration, blasting the liberal media. It annoyed me, because I really liked the guy up until that point. But I finally settled on the idea that these were his views, and that they didn’t need to impact whether or not I got along with the guy. So we just don’t talk politics, and we keep our conversations to the things that brought us together in the first place.

    The thing I struggle with now, though, is that if we aren’t willing to engage people we know in conversations about these issues, how can we change peoples minds? If we’re beating ourselves up about arguing with friends over politics, or purposely avoiding these conversations at the Thanksgiving dinner table, then are we submitting to the status quo?

    • Ted Mark

      If there is one thing I’ve learned is that there is NO chance of changing Trump supporters’ minds, nor those of uber-right Republicans. Think of the revelations of the last twenty months. Has any of that had any impact of the Trump supporter? Fuck these people.

  • Patrick M

    What you speaking up changed is this: the Trump fan base, just like #45 himself, are a bunch of bullies who count on their “enemies” to not challenge them and just turn the other cheek as you mentioned in this post. I, for one, refuse to back down. And if enough of them realize that we outnumber them and aren’t afraid of standing up for what is truly right, then we actually stand a slim chance of getting our society back.

Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life