"Mostly I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world everyday. There's too much of it. It's like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can you understand?" -- John Coffey, The Green Mile
I understand, John Coffey. I really do.
(And trust me, I realize, given the fact that John Coffey was able to heal a trampled mouse by blowing on him, heal "boss' peckah" by grabbing Tom Hanks' junk, and suck a grapefruit sized tumor out of a woman's head, that I should probably just go with what he says.)
But all due respect, it would appear based on the Google analytics of sports searches in 2013 that we as a society are not tired of the pain at all. In fact, we find the pain downright refreshing! "Honey, pass me those pieces of glass so I can jam them in my head!"
Indeed, it would appear that not only do we tolerate pain and ugliness, we actually search it out. To that end, here are Google's top five most searched for athletes for the year 2013:
5. LANCE ARMSTRONG, disgraced cyclist and steroid abuser 2013 kicked off with a bang, as the multiple time Tour de France winner (and widely assumed steroid abuser throughout his career) went on Oprah Winfrey's show and admitted pretty much everything we all already knew -- Lance Armstrong was super fueled by performance enhancing drugs to help win all of those yellow jerseys. Not just that, but he also admitted to being a big meanie, conceding that he bullied people and frivolously sued accusers throughout the years.
4. KEVIN WARE, Louisville basketball player whose leg snapped in two Prior to March 31, 2013, only diehard Louisville Cardinal fans and college basketball junkies knew who Kevin Ware was. That is until the Louisville Cardinal guard jumped out to contest a three pointer against Duke in an Elite Eight game in the NCAA Tournament and landed awkwardly, snapping his lower leg into a gruesome, letter-L shaped contortion. Players nearby had to look away, some of them in tears. Fans sitting courtside were practically driven to vomit. Naturally, in 2013, it made Ware the fourth most searched athlete of the year...
If this were 2012, Adrian Peterson would have been the third most Googled athlete because of his superhero like recuperative powers, bouncing back from a nasty ACL injury in 2011 to rack up over 2,000 yards in 2012. (Actually, who am I kidding? That's a nice story. He wouldn't have even cracked the top 20!) In 2013, sadly, the death of Peterson's two year old son in an alleged assault by the boyfriend of the boy's mother is likely the main reason Peterson finished the year so searched.
2. AARON HERNANDEZ, accused murderer At some point in the next week or so, I plan to go back and count up who I wrote the most about this past calendar year. I don't know that Aaron Hernandez will win the tally (my guess is it'll be a dead heat between Johnny Manziel and the blended two headed person known as Mary Schaubiak), but he will finish awfully high on the list. And Google tends to mirror this, as it's clear we just can't get enough of gangland style whackings, odd peripheral deaths of associates and family members, and bodily murals of scary tattoos. 1. OSCAR PISTORIUS, admitted
murderer accidental shooter When a runner is able to overcome the amputation of both legs as a young child and become an Olympic sprinter, it should be (and was) a feel good story like no other. But apparently that Olympic runner doesn't become truly interesting until he allegedly murders his supermodel girlfriend (Reeva Steenkamp) in cold blood. We just couldn't get enough of that!
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So there you have it -- steroids, broken bones, murder, murder, and more murder.
They say that every human decision is made with two guiding motives -- to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It would appear that most of us combine those two into some sort of big schadenfreude speedball, seeking pleasure in the pain of others.
So with all due respect, John Coffey, you need to toughen up a little bit. Because the rest of us apparently eat pain and ugliness toward others for breakfast.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.