to Be a Good Sport
by Mad Dog
I have to say that on my list of favorite things
to do, sports falls somewhere between watching a Brooke Shields retrospective and moving
next door to Slobodan Milosevic.
|| Im not a sports guy. There, Ive said it. You can call me
unAmerican, half a man, and Alan Alda if you like, Im still not going to enter a
twelve-step program. Well, not one for sports, anyway.
I know Im in a minority here. After all, following sports
is our national pastime. Well, after stockpiling water, food, and plenty of Danielle
Steele novels just in case everything really does melt down on January 1st. There are
magazines devoted to it, cable channels dedicated to it, and divorce papers based on it.
This is big stuff.
Its amazing how much time people spend with
sportswatching them on TV, reading about them in the newspaper, and shopping for
paint to slather on their bodies so they can honestly call themselves a fan when they go
to a live game. Yet as much fun as all that sounds, I have to say that on my list of
favorite things to do, sports falls somewhere between watching a Brooke Shields
retrospective and moving next door to Slobodan Milosevic.
Its not that I dont like playing sports, its
that the idea of watching and following them seems like, well, a strange way to use up my
precious natural resources. The concept of voluntarily spending a beautiful sunny Sunday
afternoon huddled in front of a TV watching grown men try to hit a little white ball into
a hole in the ground while Im wiping beer from my chin and adding to that orange
Cheetos residue build-up on the Barcalounger is completely foreign to me.
Face it, sports without participation is like hearing about someone else having
sexIm happy for them but its not any fun if Im not personally
|| The thought of
reading the sports section before the news sectionor even the horoscopeis
inconceivable. And the very idea that I would consider using up those few working neurons
I have left by memorizing players names, batting averages, rushing yards, and the
personal statistics of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders theyve personally auditioned
during halftime when I barely have enough available to keep my social security number and
multiplication tables up there is, uh, what was I saying again?
Maybe like drinking scotch, eating caviar, and
listening to Fran Drescher without losing your Tuna Helper, following sports is an
acquired taste. Maybe I need to sit down and spend an afternoon watching professional
bowling to appreciate how exciting it is to *yawn* see a ball roll down an alley. Again.
And again. And again.
Perhaps I need to experience a few more
televised baseball games so I can gain a better understanding of just how relaxing those
catnaps in between pitches can be. And maybejust maybeI havent seen
enough basketball to be appreciative of the fact that these guys are earning as much money
in a year as Bill Gates does in a minute so they can run aroundare you ready for
this?trying to toss a ball into a basket.
Face it, sports without participation is like hearing about
someone else having sexIm happy for them but its not any fun if Im
not personally involved. Maybe the attraction is that since most people will never get the
chance to participate on a professional level (well, in sports anyway), watching makes
them feel like theyre a part of it. Especially since they can do it without having
to deal with the bad aspects, like rigorous year-round training, constant pain, intense
pressure to perform, having to decide which supermodel to ask out tonight, and wracking
ones brain trying to figure out how in the world youre going to survive on a lousy
$5 million a year.
It would be an opportunity to get on the field and play with the big boys. A chance to
prove to your father once and for all that youre not a sissy-boy, even if you would
rather sip white wine than chug a Bud.
|| Theres no
question most of us want a taste of fame and notoriety. Just look at the people who appear
on shows like Jenny Jones and Jerry Springer. Okay, dont look too hard or you might
get depressed. Every day they get on national TV and let the world watch as their
girlfriends admit to having had sex with their brother, mother, hamster, and priest.
Anything to get their fleeting taste of fame (and one hell of a video to show the
Why dont sports nuts get the same
opportunity? Dont you think there are plenty of men and women who would go for their
moment of gusto by putting on some hockey gear, praying to the god of strong teeth, and
wobbling down the rink picturing him or herself as Wayne Gretsky reincarnated (when they
know full well theyre more like Wayne from Waynes World)?
"Coming up next, Jack Splat, an overweight, out of
shape accountant from Duluth, Minnesota who has trouble lifting his remote without
panting. Hell be the guest quarterback for the Oakland Raiders when they meet the
Miami Dolphins on this weeks edition of
.Whos Got the
Think about it. It would be an opportunity to get on the field
and play with the big boys. A chance to prove to your father once and for all that
youre not a sissy-boy, even if you would rather sip white wine than chug a Bud. And
who know, you might even score the winning points! Okay, even this fantasy has its limits.
But no matter how you look at it you would get your fifteen
minutesor at least fifteen secondsof fame. And probably a few bucks to boot.
Or at least a case of Turtle Wax as a consolation prize. But best of all youd have
the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. Well, as long as you dont mind that it may
be at the expense of spending the rest of your life in traction. Come to think of it, that
Cheeto-stained Barcalounger doesnt sound so bad after all, now does it?
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them instead of watching Jai Alai this weekend.