Upper Deck: 'The Year of The Loon'

The Chinese calendar dedicates each year to a different animal, the Year of the Rat, the Year of the Ox, the Year of the Dragon, etc. Based on an observation of the sports and entertainment world of today, it is becoming fairly obvious that this is the Year of the Loon.

This is a different time. It is a time unlike any that has passed before. There is an ancient Hebrew saying that "This too shall pass." In today's world, the difference is those things can pass very quickly. A message sent by way of social networking soon becomes a movement. A revolution begins with a blink of an eye the world changes in mere moments. So-called Twitter Revolutions have sprung up overnight, it seems.

There is both good and bad in these instant revolutions. The good comes from the knowledge that today more than any time in history, one person can make a difference. The bad part comes from the fact that the one person might be Charlie Sheen, and might have spent too long licking the glue of the back of his press clippings instead of putting them into a scrapbook.

Not to diminish the seriousness of these instances where people literally lay their lives on the line for purposes of gaining basic freedoms and to escape from the oppression of despots, but it astounds me, how we have not adopted the instant network methodologies into dealing with political and sports issues more. Serious social pressures could be placed on a company, a sports team, or a league by the populace if they were so inclined. We no longer live in the age when we have to simply allow loons to be, well, loony.

It may serve notice that it is a time that we as citizens of world moved by instant communications to begin to take action.

The NFL and NFL Players Association are locked in what can only be considered a battle of won'ts, as they try to figure out why they cannot divide a few billion dollars in a way to make everyone is happy. A shame really, one would think they would not want to alienate fans in an economic crisis when going to a sporting event can be one of those perks easily cut out of the budget of many people and which once out of the budget may be surprising difficult to get back in. But, after all it is the Year of the Loon.

We have a similar labor war looming in the NBA, and there is considerable doubt as to whether we will have football or basketball next fall. While there are some that disregard this because they feel there is nothing that we can do. We should remember the alternatives that lie before us. If we are not watching sports, we will be forced to communicate more with our families. Our wives may want to talk about "feelings." They might even insist that we go to the mall with them. This is not a matter that we real men can take lying down. We have to get up off the couch, put down the remote control, and walk over to our keyboard where we can send stirring emails and instant messages to everyone we know. We have to be willing to throw down the virtual gauntlet, we have to be willing to use inflammatory words by calling people names like Idiots and Boogerheads, and we have to be willing to cling together for a common cause.

It is only a matter of time until sports fans realize that this power to affect outcomes would apply not only to governments but to sports as well. We have already seen it to an extent, there was a significant online movement to fire Wade Phillips from his job as the Cowboys coach. But, there are other changes that need to be made by sports teams, and will only come about as a result of fans banding together. I think it is time for fans to use the model of the Twitter Revolutions come together to help save sport from the loons.

The first step is making a commitment to not immediately go back if a strike occurs, and mean it. Make plans to instead support a college or high school team. Instead of buying jerseys and pretending to be Peyton Manning or Dirk Nowitzki, buy t-shirt depicting your favorite entertainment star in action: Britney Spears shaving her head, Lindsay Lohan escaping from rehab, or Charlie Sheen throwing up.

I am convinced if we work together as fans we can affect real change, we can stop work stoppages before they start, creating "work unstoppages.'' We must all band together to be successful. Mavs fans, Thunder fans, Magic Fans, the remaining Cavs fan, fans of all 32 NFL franchises and 29 NBA franchises fighting for the good of sport. I know there are 30 teams in the NBA, but you know we have to draw the line somewhere, and the line circles San Antone.

Once we succeed there will be no stopping us. I mean, we can all agree that charging six bucks for a glass of soda or a box of popcorn is outrageous? Why has no "Fair Concessions Movement" sprang up? Why don't fans stand together and say, "No, we will not pay 10 dollars for a small, dry hamburger!"? We will not be sold temporary seats so that you can cram 400 more chairs into a shoebox! It is time for the Fans' Rights Movement to get off the ground, and I will be there to lead, right after this television show.

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