Monday, May 14, 2007

Crying Bullshit

In which FTT puts to rest the following bits of Accepted Sports Wisdom.

Ex-Athletes Have A Unique And Superior Perspective On The Game.

This is kind of like shooting astronauts into space and expecting them to write great and moving works of poetry about their experience. Rather than, saying, going after their romantic rivals in deranged murder plots while wearing diapers.

If athletes had such an unbeatable life experience, there would only be ex-athlete Owners and General Managers, and guys like Joe Dumars and Larry Bird would never have drafted Darko and suffered through Ron Artest. Joe Morgan would not be insufferable. Joe Theismann would not be someone you would pay good money to punch in the face (Joe, email us me -- $50 is the opening bid). And so on.

What ex-athletes have is brand recognition, goodwill from past exploits (hello, Smoke!), and if they were sociable during their playing days, a good network of contacts. These are all formidable points in their favor, and in most industries, they would be more than enough to get you a corner office and a steady paycheck. But if you are looking for a unique perspective, you would be better off talking to the peanut vendor.

Booing never helps the home team win.

My first hometown, Philadelphia, is notorious for this one, where the responsibility for the 25 year drought of any kind of meaningful championship is frequently dumped on the fans. Clearly, we are the people that did not clap for Tinkerbell, and now she’s dead from blunt force trauma to the head, probably from something one of us threw, or maybe a flare gun. It’s no more than what Us Animals deserve.

(You know what? Screw Tinkerbell. She’s a murderously jealous little bitch who can’t accept that Peter will never be hers, and wants him to spend the rest of his existence as an infantile man-child, cuckolded to her bullshit wings. Plus, she’s probably two-timing him with Jiminy Cricket or maybe the dragon from Mulan – let’s face it, Eddie Murphy is everywhere -- and she was definitely faking that whole near-death experience. Total hatefuck. Anyway...)

Booing is, at is purest level, the ability to express an opinion that does not conform with The Authorities – nothing more, nothing less. That opinion may be wrong, ill considered, badly timed, unfair. It also might not. Philadelphia fans have booed Mike Schmidt, Allen Iverson, Donovan McNabb and just about every other superstar of note. We have also booed David Bell, Shawn Bradley, and Bobby Hoying. In those latter cases, we helped grease the skids for their exit. Tell me how that did not help the home team win.

These Teams Hate Each Other.

Sure, and you can really see why. After all, they are entirely composed of players from the region of their team, people with a firm sense of pride in the place that they live. They also have the majority of their salaries determined by who wins and who loses, and they never fraternize together off the field, or have the same agents.

Oh, wait. Crap. Yeah, so much for the hate.

There are players who truly, truly hate the other team. They are able to do this through a short-term force of will that helps them focus more on the contest. When the final whistle blows, they toss that hate aside like a used jersey, only to bring back when they need it. And if they do not, they are borderline psychopaths who you should steer a very wide berth from, especially when they are driving.

But as for true hate? That’s just for fans. And why do we hate? Maybe, just maybe, because it is what the media wants us to do to drive up the ratings, since a game without hate is also a game without compelling drama. In Philadelphia, we have always been at war with Oceania, the Dallas Cowboys, the Boston Celtics, and the New York Mets. (Especially since Terrell Owens defected to Oceania.)

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