National / Sports / February 4, 2010

Hard times

There is a certain sadness about winter term. The snow, the ice, the damp, damp ground; the teasing nature of warm weather; the thermometer rising and falling with no regard for humanity. Spring isn’t just far away — it can hardly be conceptualized.

And during times of woe, of sadness and duress and uncertainty, sports are the nation’s great distraction. The footage of Dubya throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium in the 2001 World Series chills the bones of even the most ardent Bush-loathers (myself included). No one even remembers that New York lost that series.

While the stress and bleakness of winter term isn’t on that level, a little distraction can go a long way. So, with that in mind, what does February hold? Quantity, but most definitely no quality.

I’ll go further: February looks to be a compendium of crap.

The Super Bowl! The Winter Olympics! The Daytona 500! So much to see, but so little substance.

And to think the Pro Bowl just barely missed the cut. For shame.

In all honesty, I’d rather not crap all over the Winter Olympics or NASCAR. They’re such easy targets — it’s like going after Dean Koontz or Lost or Animal Collective. But at some point, despite the clarity, one must point at a house engulfed in flames and say, “Hey, it appears that building is on fire.”

Well, I guess that means I should state my case against the Winter Olympics. To call this the junior event of the Olympiad would an understatement. There’s no basketball, no Michael Phelps, no track and field — in short, there isn’t much. Speed skating has, from time to time, captivated the nation — as has bobsledding, though I may be associating “Cool Runnings” with reality. Yeah, I must be.

NASCAR. The Daytona 500. Scourges of humanity. Nadir of civilization.

The Super Bowl isn’t so simple. Last year’s game was a scream, despite the fact that Ben Roethlisberger won. (If you don’t hate that guy by now, I’ve got no use for you) But the hype, the commercials, the larger-than-life mentality, the halftime show, Phil Simms, etc.

The event has become so bourgeois that it was shocking to see so many terrible towels in the air last season, given the blue-collar nature of Pittsburgh. They must have all been from the financial district. More seriously, the event is no longer about the game, and maybe it never was; maybe I sound out-of-touch and old and disconnected from reality, like a political pundit who longs for the simplicity, generosity, and purity of the Jim Crow America they grew up in. Yes, I just compared Super Bowl nostalgia to the Jim Crow era. I think it’s time I move on.

Oh, yeah! I almost forgot the NBA All-Star game. Is LeBron doing the dunk contest? No? Great. Nothing to see here.

Poor February. It doesn’t help that February sits on the cusp of something great: March. Baseball, the NCAA tournament, spring — all of that. Of course, things aren’t quite looking up for me these days. The NCAA is rumored to be considering a move from 64 teams to 96. That would be like if Christmas were two holidays, one in summer and one in spring. And instead of getting a few cool presents, you get a lot of useless shit, like the full-screen edition of “Unaccompanied Minors” or a tongue cleaner.

And, as I’ve mentioned many times, the White Sox plan on using Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay as designated hitters — which, if we are going to stick with this metaphor, would mean that Santa would just show up at your house, pee in your sink and hide milk somewhere in your room.

I’ve said too much now about far too little. It’s time to face facts: these next few months will suck.

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Kevin Morris

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