It Makes Me Sick…

I read an item recently that the folks who run Major League Eating – those are the folks who put on competitive eating competitions such as the Nathan’s Fourth of July tribute to gluttony – are changing the rules for hot-dog eating competitions. No longer will it be who can down the most dogs in 12 minutes; now it will be who can down the most dogs in 10 minutes. The rumor is that Nathan’s is less than thrilled with the number of what are euphemistically called “reversals of fortune” that are seen on TV. Here I have to agree with Nathan’s; those “reversals of fortune” would make me sick too – - if I ever watched one of those things in the first place.

Perhaps the concept of “reversals of fortune” associated with eating events began with Wing Bowl – an annual event sponsored by WIP, a sports-talk radio station in Philly. The motto for Wing Bowl has been for a very long time now:

“You heave. You leave.”

[Aside: Larry the Cable Guy said once that he was on the Clay Aiken diet. That’s where you “pop a Clay Aiken CD into the player and try to keep your food down.” Not an easy thing to do…]

Reading about the change in rules by Major League Eating, it got me to thinking about some things in sports that make me sick – in the figurative sense but not necessarily in the regurgitative sense. So, I started compiling a list…

At the top of my list was the exploitation of young girls by parents and coaches in the sports of gymnastics and figure skating. Referring to these youngsters as “pixies” or “jumping beans” simply attempts to deflect attention from the fact that a vast majority of them are unnaturally small human beings for their age. Many people get themselves properly incensed at the exploitation of child labor to do things like make clothing or sneakers; these athletic endeavors also exploit the labors of children. Makes me sick…

Closely related to the example above – but not limited to gymnastics and figure skating – are parents who live vicariously through the athletic exploits of their children. You can read about lots of them in stories about parents making asses of themselves at youth sporting events. Makes me sick…

The exploitation of children who are involved in sports does not begin and end with parents and event organizers; ESPN takes their share of the spoils from such exploitative activities. If you do not believe that, then tell me why high school basketball and football games are televised nationally and why kids signing letters of intent regarding where they will go to college are “must see TV”. They never show the kid who has been a whiz at physics on TV as he decides between MIT and Cal Tech. Makes me sick…

DJs at sporting events are an abomination. Indoors at a basketball game, all they do is provide noise; outdoors at football games, they are a distraction from the game; outdoors at baseball games, they reach the pinnacle of their annoyance. In a baseball game, these creative geniuses feel the need to escort every batter to the plate with some goofy song. Obviously, they think what they are doing is clever. Actually, what they are doing is demonstrating the far reaches of their talents. Makes me sick…

Every fan at any sporting event who participates in the wave should be evicted immediately from the premises. On the way out, (s)he should be fingerprinted and biometric data should be taken to assure that (s)he is not permitted into any sporting venue in North America for the next year. After that, any subsequent participation in the wave should result in a lifetime ban from live sporting events. Makes me sick…

Any mascot for any team who does anything to encourage or start fans in doing the wave is a miscreant of the highest order. That mascot – annoying to begin with – would engage in behavior to lead other people to do something heinous. We would not put up with that in other areas of society and should not put up with it here. Perhaps a penalty of having to listen to 96 non-stop hours of ABBA and Celine Dion songs would be a sufficient deterrent? Makes me sick…

Any fan who uses his/her cell phone to know when (s)he is on camera so (s)he can wave to the folks at home needs to be evicted from the ballpark the same way people doing the wave are evicted. The only difference is that said individuals should also have their cell-phone usage privileges revoked for the next year too. Makes me sick…

Sideline reporters who have to interview a coach on their way into the locker room at halftime or on their way out of the locker room at the end of halftime are guilty of a crime against humanity – or at least that segment of humanity that happens to be watching that sporting event on TV. The overseer in the truck who commands that sideline reporter to commit that act is not often singled out for criticism but (s)he too needs to feel the sting of punishment. Maybe burying him/her in elephant excrement in the hot sun for 12 hours would be a sufficient deterrent? Makes me sick…

Any football player who holds up four fingers at the start of the fourth quarter should not be allowed to participate in the fourth quarter of that game. What is that supposed to prove? That he has been keeping track of the quarters and can actually count to four? Makes me sick…

While on the subject of players and numbers, can we put a stop to athletes referring to themselves in the third person? Makes me sick…

Knowing I am in the minority here, I would really like to do away with fantasy baseball/football/NASCAR/golf/whatever. My intent is not to deprive people of their fantasy fun; the intent is to limit the crawl at the bottom of the screen during live sporting events. When stations have to provide info on individual players in various games, the amount of text in the crawl is only slightly shorter than Moby Dick. It is distracting. Makes me sick…

Starting a game with a rendition of The National Anthem by someone who cannot sing or by someone bound and determined to make that song into a mini-series is an abomination. So is inviting a celebrity with no singing talent whatsoever to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame or God Bless America in the seventh inning of a baseball game. Bad singing is not a marketing stroke of genius. Why cannot teams find a dozen local people who can actually sing and put them on a rotating list to handle these “chores”? If that gets too complicated, they could always use a recorded instrumental version of The National Anthem – - that is if they could get their stupid DJ to “work it into his mix”. Makes me sick…

When CBS labels a December college basketball game as part of the Road to the Final Four, you have to wonder if these guys are using a map or if they are so far out in space that they need a radio to contact the Earth. The Road to the Final Four begins in March; if the CBS marketing monkeys insist, they can use the phrase after Valentine’s Day. If they use it before that, they should have to watch Dorothy venture down the yellow brick road on a continuous loop for 96 hours. Makes me sick…

Now lest you think that I am a person wallowing in misery at all times, let me give you a few of the sweetest sounds in sports. It will give you an idea of where I find joy, peace and happiness:

    The sound of a referee counting to ten over the defunct boxing career of Tonya Harding.

    That giant “whoosh” that happens every April as Dick Vitale inhales for the first time since mid-November – - – BAY-BEE.

    The crunching sound that emanates from Fay Vincent as he tries to redirect all of history to make it seem that he – and his buddy Bart Giamatti – actually knew what the hell they were doing when they ran baseball in the late 80s and early 90s.

There, I’m feeling MUCH better now… [/Gomez Addams]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>