Scott Simon, whose shiznit I just jacked, is the exception that proves the rule. Most sports coverage is unbearable. SportsCenter? I’ll need the entire bottle of Cointreau to endure that garbage. It’s either the players themselves going to press conferences and saying unbelievably retarded shit verging on formal thought disorders or Lou Holtz tendentiously sputtering through his jowls about God knows what. Even Chip Kelly, who had a reputation for competence and not mental retardation at the University of Oregon, has apparently been explaining his coaching of the Eagles with comments about how they need to go out and play some football. In fairness, Oregonians are so masterfully passive-aggressive that they see no need to resort to the blunt rudeness of Philadelphians, but still. Kelly is one of the sharper tools in that shed, so none of it bodes well.
Spending one’s weekend afternoons watching that crap when one does not already have a girlfriend is a straight, sure path to involuntary celibacy. I’d much rather be involuntarily celibate from watching too many pruning tutorials on Dave Wilson Nursery FruitTube. No, I am not exaggerating a thing; I genuinely find it more interesting and emotionally stabilizing to watch some tree dork graft and tar peach cuttings than to watch meatheads give one another the gift of concussion to an earsplitting soundtrack of video game sound effects.
The trouble here goes a lot deeper than the sport itself, even for a horrifically violent sport like professional #FOOTBALL. Scott Simon could preach his word in Amharic, and I wouldn’t understand a syllable of it, but at least it would give me the general feeling that there are adults in the room. This is mainly to say that it’s better to listen to the intelligent and thoughtful discuss the stupid than to listen to the stupid discuss the stupid. Scott Simon is not a vector of infinitely recursive idiocy. Most sports broadcast media are. It helps that Simon, a loyal son of Chicago, has a sort of civic thing for the Cubs, who are mere losers, not knuckleheaded, subnormal losers under a cloud of suspicion for rape. Aaron Hernandez never failed to lead the Cubs to a World Series pennant. Sure, the Cubs had Sammy Sosa, who [Jimmeh, Jimmeh, Jimmeh, Jimmeh, [roid mainline] JIMMEHJIMMEHJIMMEHJIMMEH!], but Tim Tebow never had to futilely try to talk Sosa into not beating a dude to a pulp in a Florida bar fight.
It’s not even that I’m offended by piss-poor role models being retained to entertain us as athletes. Ben Roethlisberger is a top-notch quarterback, one of the most engaging to watch, but by many accounts he’s a piece of shit as a human being. This doesn’t discomfit me because I am not stupid enough to turn to foul-tempered wiggers under suspicion of rape as role models. If you can’t distinguish one of America’s coarsest gladiators from Cincinnatus and wring your hands about how Ben Roethlisberger is never as gentlemanly as Fred Rogers, that’s because you’re an idiot, and that’s your problem. I’m not one. Judge Judy can’t fix stupid, and neither can I.
My objection is to the assumption that because a man is a famous, accomplished athlete, he must therefore also be a role model for our youth and our more gullible and impressionable grown children. This is offensive, and ultimately ruinous. As a society, we end up smearing good men in the same sports by their association with provable asswipes. Richard Sherman seems to be a true gentleman. So does Tim Tebow, even if he’s a bit preachy and goody-two-shoes. Tebow has thrown some real facepalm passes in his day, plays that were intrinsically garbage and painful to watch, even when he completed them and managed to pull the Broncos’ chestnuts out of the fire by the end of the fourth quarter, but only a stupid people cannot distinguish his shitty football from his civic rectitude, leadership, and courage. It takes courage to try to stop a big, bad motherfucker with an uncontrollable temper from pulping a stranger’s face. Maybe we are too stupid a people to discern such differences. Some of us certainly are.
Another objection of mine is to the assumption that these guys deserve to become wealthy, even obscenely wealthy, for their masturbatory pursuits while I maybe don’t even deserve payroll income or an inhabitable place to crash in exchange for my farm and winery work, which is extremely productive by Yanqui’s prevailing community standards. Years ago, Joe Dirtbag made a condescending comment to me to the effect that he had been tutoring me on the finer points of football’s players and rules of play so that I’d be able to make appropriate small talk with strangers instead of being awkward and eccentric. What a fucking bastard. I did not come to Oregon to be talked down to by a dirty freeloader who never gets around to paying his field hands or repairing needlessly unsafe equipment. As a grown-ass man who had never been adjudicated incompetent, I did not need a gaslighting, antisocial grand egotist to tell me how to have appropriate conversations with people he’d never met. That’s outright rat bastardy. More generally, though, I’d often listen to the college football broadcasts that Joe Dirtbag would play on the radio in the winery building, many of these happening on pants-shittingly beautiful fall afternoons, and wonder what the hell was wrong with our society, that it would lavish billions of dollars of payroll income on entertainers and back-office staff of absolutely no economic utility whatsoever while I went into the hole financially to learn and ply a productive trade. I wondered what the hell was wrong with our universities, especially the famous state schools with the big-name athletic programs, that they would devote so much of their sweat and treasure to providing for and honoring idiots with no academic aptitude or interests while neglecting the welfare of harried engineering and crop science majors. I realized, to my own consciously suppressed horror, that I could do nothing but enjoy the fall weather with the knowledge that, barring some unforeseeable change in my fortunes, I was on course to be financially ruined by my taking up a skilled trade and hesitating to abandon it.
A country can entertain itself with much more limited government expenditures. The entire athletic-industrial complex is buttressed by misappropriated government funds, either through the public universities or directly from various levels of government. And what the hell is any of it good for? Playing fields of Eton? The US Army got Pat Tillman out of the deal, and–Bueller? Oh, I should mention: that’s the guy the Army bullshitted into a posthumous war hero in order to cover up its own friendly fire incident. #SupportOurTroops.
Since the racist trolls have already been poking around here, I should note that I don’t resent black athletes for being disproportionately represented in American sports, and I certainly don’t resent the Community as a whole. In point of fact, professional sports have a terrible track record for meaningfully lifting African-Americans out of poverty compared to most of the other lines of work with disproportionate black participation rates. A few thousand black men and a few dozen black women have done well or very well for themselves as athletes, and some of their friends and relatives have been able to ride their coattails to prosperity and stability without the entire operation going down in flames, as so often happens with celebrities. Statistically, these people are extreme outliers, basically just noise, and it doesn’t do anything good for mainstream black men to try to ape them in the hope of replicating their statistically unattainable success. More broadly, Americans of all races (maybe excluding Asians), and especially the lower classes, are just too fucking credulous before lotteries, multilevel marketing scams, prosperity gospel extortion, celebrity crapshoots, and other get-rich-quick schemes.
Then again, what the hell have I earned for myself by apprenticing myself to Joe Dirtbag at his winery? He’s alpha fucks, and the rest of us are the beta bucks that keep him barely afloat. The labor theory of value must be drunk to hell in a ditch somewhere.