In a perfect world, there are a number of things that need changing.
For one thing, we all could use legislators in Washington, D.C., and Lansing who are more concerned about the needs of their constituents than their own selfish agendas.
Getting gasoline prices under $2 a gallon would be nice ... if unrealistic. And by the way, how many gallons of gas did we get out of Iraq after sacrificing nearly 5,000 lives and billions of dollars?
But since the above things aren't going to happen soon, and the year 2012 is bearing down on us, let's look at some of the things that should be changed in the world of sports.
1. Excessive celebrations in the NFL: I don't know about you, but I'm sick and tired of watching these clowns denigrate the game with their absurd and often offensive celebrations. Not only are they offensive, but they often end up with their teams being penalized. I can only imagine what Green Bay Packers coaching legend Vince Lombardi would have done to a player who cost his team a 15-yard penalty by putting a ribbon on the football after scoring a touchdown. I'm positive that Vince would have gift-wrapped a bus ticket out of town for the offender after first delivering a well-deserved swift kick to the pants.
2. Fans like the ones in Los Angeles who chant "MVP, MVP" for Lakers' forward Kobe Bryant ... in the season opener. Kobe Bryant is no MVP, on the basketball floor or in the world anymore. He's a self-absorbed prima donna, like most of the players in the NBA, who no longer deserve the respect of even the few people who follow the league. The NBA hasn't been the same since Larry Bird of Boston and Magic Johnson of LA retired. That was real basketball.
3. Baseball executives who simply go out and attempt to buy a pennant. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have been doing this for many years and the Philadelphia Phiilies aren't far behind. Now, we have the L.A. Angels of California (or whatever they call themselves) trying to do the same next season. It's simply not fair to the rest of the teams, especially those in small markets like Milwaukee, Minneapolis, etc. Buying yourself into a World Series is not the same as winning it the right way.
4. Television announcers who try to make themselves bigger than the sports they cover. Now, there are a few talking heads out there who do a reasonably good job. I thought Dan Patrick came up with a good one after the latest end of the world prediction when he said: "Now, the Mayans are on the clock." But there are far too many others who spend most of their air time trying to be cute. Give us the facts first.
5. Calling sports figures superstars. These are strictly athletes, they didn't invent the cure for cancer or come up with world peace. Take the example of soccer player David Beckham, who came to this country with all the publicity usually reserved for a world head of state. Beckham spent most of the time on the injury list and scored something like four goals for his L.A. team. Those are not superstar stats in anyone's book, regardless of how good-looking a wife you might have.
6. Slap on the wrist penalties for "name" sports programs.
The Ohio State football program committed enough transgresssions to get at least two years of bowl penalties and the loss of several scholarships. Instead, their penalties were relatively light. Had a university like Bowling Green or UTEP done the same, they would have been banished to the far reaches of NCAA sanction-hood. But the Buckeyes are big money in college football and the diminishment of their program would have been felt.
I'm sure I could have expanded this list three-fold, but that's enough venting for one column.