You’re a newspaper columnist. You’re on a deadline. You have to find something worthy of 800 words and you’re stumped. What do you do? Why, you use a horriffic 18 year-long child abduction, rape and imprisonment as a hook for a rehashed “aren’t those athletes just nutty” piece!
It doesn’t sound as if Jaycee Dugard got to see a sports page. Box scores were not available to her from June 10, 1991 until Aug. 31 of this year. She never saw a highlight. Never got to the ballpark for Beach Towel Night. Probably hasn’t high-fived in a while. She was not allowed to spike a volleyball. Or pitch a softball. Or smack a forehand down the line. Or run in a 5-footer for double bogey.
Now, that’s deprivation
Can you imagine? Dugard was 11 when she was kidnapped and stashed in Phillip Garrido’s backyard. She was 29 when she escaped. Penitentiary inmates at least get an hour of TV a day. Dugard was cut off from everything but the elements. How long before she fully digests the world she re-enters? How difficult to adjust to such cataclysmic change? More than that, who’s going to explain the fact that there’s a President Obama?
Dugard’s stepfather says she’s going to need a lot of therapy — you think? — so perhaps she should take a respite before confronting the new realities. So, Jaycee, whenever you’re ready, here’s what you’ve missed:
The writer, Mark Whicker of the OC Register, then proceeds to bullet point a couple dozen “oh, how times change” sports zingers. He ends the piece with what I guess is a pun of some kind: “Congratulations, Jaycee. You left the yard.”
Classy, Whicker. Now please go die in a fire someplace so I can use it as a hook for a “who’s hot, who’s not” bit.