Tuesday, May 16, 2006

He could have tuned in, but he tuned out

I consider myself to be a fairly knowledgeable sports fan. I mean, I can tell you what’s going on in the NBA playoffs, but I can’t tell you Tiger Woods’ hat size or anything like that. One thing I’ve never questioned was the idea of what constitutes a “play.” For as long as I can remember, a play has been basically some kind of action that takes place on the playing surface during a game. But, watching Sportscenter lately has caused me to rethink things a little bit.

Yesterday, I made the bloated mistake of watching the bloated Chris Berman give his bloated TOP 10 PLAYS OF THE WEEK on a bloated Sportscenter. I’m not sure when this all started, but apparently, the definition of play has changed quite a bit over the years. Sure, there were the typical nice saves and acrobatic shots – even a couple diving catches. However, I noticed something a little strange about this list. Number six on the TOP PLAYS countdown was Floyd Patterson dying. On a TOP PLAYS countdown. Not on a FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS WHO JUST DIED countdown. Not even on a GUYS NAMED FLOYD countdown. I don’t care how much you stretch it, dying can’t be considered a play. And if it is, that was a horrible play. Clearly not the way Floyd had drawn it up. Nowhere on his ‘Things To Do Today’ list did it say, “Stop living.” Besides, dying is easy. Everybody can do it. Most people can’t make a diving catch in centerfield. I guess that’s why it only finished sixth. Perhaps if Floyd Patterson met his maker while dunking on two seven-footers, he would have finished higher. I guess he took the easy way out. Way to not make the top five, Floyd.

Not to be outdone, the bloated Chris Berman decided to make the number one play of the week Mother’s Day. That’s less of a play than someone dying. No action whatsoever – just a bunch of people being related to each other. Of course, Berman’s voice softened as he spoke in tribute of mothers taking their children to Little League practice while images of mothers and children attending baseball games flashed across the screen. What they didn’t show, of course, was the action two rows back from those honorable mothers. The army of fat, drunk plumbers yelling things like “Throw strikes you cocksucker!” at the field and things like “If the Yanks win, can I squeeze your titty? No offense!” at the mothers.

This is sports, not a Hallmark commercial. When I see a top plays countdown, I want to see spectacular highlights. Things that even the greatest athletes can’t do on a regular basis. If you’re going to put holidays and deaths in a countdown for plays, why not just put any old thing in there? If the bloated Chris Berman wants to have a forum to indulge his ego and massive self-importance, he should do what everyone else does: Get a blog. Leave the countdown alone.

Finally, in keeping with the Sportscenter tradition, I have decided to compile my own sports-related top ten list:

TOP TEN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS UNIFORMS:

10. The death of Earl Woods.

9. For Norman Wilkerson, a dog is man’s best friend - with benefits.

8. Syracuse Orangemen.

7. Napoleon Dynamite is highly overrated. Seriously, watch it again. Not funny. Now go watch Bottle Rocket.

6. Syphilis is not a toy.

5. Washington Mystics.

4. What’s the perfect food for bulimics? Shish kabobs. They’re a delicious meal and the skewers come in handy afterwards.

3. Only 65% of foreigners smell.

2. Michigan Wolverines

1. What’s the deal with sports, right ladies?