My Sign That The Apocalypse is Coming

blog slot chair

Apocalypse (def.): A great disaster: A sudden and very bad event that causes much fear, loss or destruction.

Sports Illustrated has a small section of it’s weekly magazine entitled “Signs of the Apocalypse”. It’s purpose is to “ collect and feature weekly signs from the world of sports that the Apocalypse is upon us: Tales of frenzied fans, egomaniacal coaches, future Hall of Famers who run afoul of the law, mind boggling bureaucracy, violent behavior and tastelessness run amok”. Some examples from 2013:

A manager of a British soccer club learned he had been fired while he was working as a BBC analyst and was handed a script that included an announcement of his dismissal.

The word college was misspelled on the roof of the third base dugout at the College World Series in Omaha (it read COLLLEGE)

Citing more than 24 fights over last 3 years the Kentucky High School Athletic Association advised teams not to engage in post game handshakes.

A player’s grandfather was punched in the chest---causing his pacemaker to temporarily stop---during a brawl among players and fans at a youth soccer tournament at Disney World

A school in the West Coast Conference self reported an extra benefits violation to the NCAA after one of it’s golfers washed her car on campus using water from a university garden hose.

It’s designed to get you thinking, shake your head just a bit and go “really!!” and I look forward to it every week.

In Las Vegas for a recent speaking event I saw the sign with my own eyes.

One of the better modifications to travel, tourism (and life in general) has been the improved access to facilities for the disabled. I think, however, I may have observed where it’s gone a bit too far.

I was walking through the casino of the hotel I was speaking at. Observing the slot machine activity and I saw him and as we say in the Army he looked “hurtin”. He appeared to be in his late 60’s early 70’s, scrawny, looking like he had just rolled out of bed (Pajama pants, slippers, t shirt, matted hair) in his motorized wheelchair, oxygen tank attached and in use, cigarette lit and puffing. His “vehicle” had stopped at a slot machine and he was using what little physical strength he could muster to lift himself out of his wheelchair into the chair by the slot machine so he could play. I saw in his eyes the laser focus of an Olympic weight lifter on his final lift for gold. But victory here wasn’t a medal, it was using his minimal muscle mass to get his butt in that slot machine chair to get 3 bars across the screen. Once there, he had the steps down like a third baseman fielding grounders; puff, push button, observe result, repeat. He Wouldn’t have to move except for a lavatory run or when the money ran out (Odds are you stay there long enough, it does).

Struck by the scene, for the rest of the weekend I looked a little closer and saw them everywhere; gaming tables, slots, Texas hold em rooms. Seniors using their, canes, motorized scooters, walkers to get them to their preferred game of chance. (Now full disclosure, I partake of the slots when I go to Vegas and have no children).

I know the motto is “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and it’s readily apparent from the size and opulence of the city that what’s staying is the money tourists are bringing in.

I found myself wondering 2 things; do the grandkids know what’s happening to the college fund they were thinking they could count on? (They might want to get to Vegas to see it before it goes) and, what that focus to get in the chair would have done in any number of other endeavors.

An English essayist, Owen Feltham, once wrote: “By gaming we lose both our time and treasure: two things most precious to the life of man”

I hit the gym.

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