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Real men don't cry over sports

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article concerning basketball's March Madness. The article was titled "March Madness Turns Into Crying Game." It was talking about the recent trend where players cry after crushing defeats or uplifting wins.

This article greatly disturbed me.

I grew up in a time where a man did not cry under any circumstances. You could be working at a lumber yard, cut off your arm with a sawmill saw, and be expected to calmly walk to the foreman and ask for medical attention. There were very few exceptions to this rule.

Everyone knows a pass was granted to anyone reading or watching "Old Yeller," and a man was granted the right for a few tears if his best hunting dog died. I suppose it was OK to cry at a spouse's funeral, that is if the marriage was long term and things were going pretty well. Otherwise, a man was expected to suck it up and never cry.

The Wall Street Journal article noted that "crying has become a culturally acceptable expression of victory in the macho world of sports ..." Well, I don't know about the macho world of sports but for this good ol' Southern boy, I still cling to the belief that a man does not cry in public.

Now there are a few other exceptions concerning crying, but they are very few. For one, I must admit that I wept openly the first time I saw a poster of Cheryl Tiegs in a bikini. Tears of mesmerized adoration are acceptable.

It is also, under certain circumstances, acceptable to cry if your daughter is being married. It is preferred that the father of the bride not cry unless he is an old codger. Anything over 60 years old will qualify and then everyone will say. "Isn't it so sweet how old man Johnson had tears running down his eyes when his daughter got married?" I suppose this is good news for me considering, I had my daughter at a relatively advanced age and I am praying to God she does not get married before I turn 60. I will be 60 when she turns 16, which come to think of it is about the average age for a girl to get married in Terrell County. Around here, girls sometimes wait to get married later, but it's a little embarrassing because everybody is wondering what to do with the baby.

But speaking of crying at weddings, it also acceptable to cry at your daughter's wedding if she is marrying a long-haired, earring-pierced, tattooed boy whose sole means of engagement in any meaningful activity is playing the bongos in a band when he is not smoking dope. Under these circumstances, a complete breakdown may be in order.

A man may also cry at a wedding if his daughter is marrying a multi-millionaire. I would cry uncontrollably if my daughter married one of the heirs to the Coors beer fortune.

I believe it is also acceptable for a man to cry tears of joy when either of his children graduate from college. Come to think of it, I believe I cried tears of joy when both of my children became potty trained.

Also, the Indian that cried from seeing all the litter from the anti-litter campaign is OK by me. I could take that Indian around some of the homes in Terrell County and they'd need to lock the old fellow up in Milledgeville.

But back to this nonsense of crying after winning a big ball game. Folks, it is just a ball game. Display a little bit of dignity. A tear or two is acceptable when the Air Force does a fly-by before the game. Crying because you missed the three-point shot with two seconds on the clock is not. Crying because you won the golf tournament is not acceptable unless you are Phil Mickelson and your wife who has cancer comes up to hug you after the victory. All in all, I say if you are a man, cry by yourself.

Oh, one last exception. If you are a baseball player and are traded to the Chicago Cubs, it is OK to cry.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at tcolliergamble.com.