ESPN Magazine, you continue to antagonize me. A few weeks ago you published Rick Reilly’s discovery of beer pong, which is only slightly less dated than writing about discovering HDTV.
But now you’ve crossed the line: plagiarism! I’m on to you, ESPN Magazine. Don’t think I didn’t notice these “10 Commandments” of heckling, which seems a little too close to my RTS piece on the very same topic a few months ago.
I know I’m good, ESPN, but stealing from me is wrong. Dead wrong. Like UPS, you’ve made a powerful enemy.
Anyway, speaking of Reilly and ESPN Magazine (segue alert!), I have a problem with his current piece. (Note from Chris: I'm scared anytime Graham starts talking about Rick Reilly's "piece.")
Quick synopsis: Guy in Philly loses his job. Guy is sad. Guy is a superfan. Guy decides to boost self-esteem by throwing himself into his teams. Guy sneaks into World Series game. Guy rejoices when Phillies win World Series. Guy sneaks onto field to join celebration. Guy sneaks into locker room with team. Guy is happy.
Reilly celebrates this guy as the embodiment of what being a fan is all about. I say he represents everything wrong with fans.
I love sports as much as anyone, but the second you let your team’s fortunes determine your self-worth, you’re done in my books.
Look, I love the Seattle Mariners as much as anyone. Every year they kick my teeth in, and every year I come back for more. I hope to live to see the day when they win the World Series, and if they do, I’ll celebrate as much as anyone.
But it won’t affect my sense of self-worth one iota.
Look, I’ve been unemployed. Very recently even. I know it sucks to wake up every day with no real purpose. I know it sucks to feel like you’re not contributing anything. But the success of my sports teams does nothing to change any of that. It’s a nice distraction, but that’s it.
Here’s the other thing that bugs me about the guy: he crashed a party he had no business being a part of. Look, as fans, we play a role, but we’re not part of the team. We don’t throw pitches, we don’t shoot threes and we don’t catch touchdowns. When a team wins a championship, they have their celebration, and we fans have ours. And frankly, we have no business being in their locker room, or on their field.
Those celebrations mark the culmination of a grueling journey from training camp through an endless season of games, bus rides, flights and hotels, injuries, in-house drama, trades, the playoffs, and ultimately the title. Fans aren’t there for 99% of it, and don’t belong there for that moment.
Lionel Rodia is no better than a guy crashing a wedding to score a free meal. He shouldn’t be admired, he should be pitied.
Oh yeah, the football game. Let’s say Pittsburgh wins 24-21.
I couldn’t be less excited about the Super Bowl. I haven’t seen a funny beer commercial in years, I am completely perplexed by the Drinkability campaign, and with the economy in the crapper, every commercial I see will make me feel bad for the 2,852 people that got laid off so that company could afford a 30 second spot in the middle of the 3rd quarter of a 20-10 stinkfest.
I’m also putting the over/under of truck commercials at 27 and car commercials at 22. By the way, I’m not in the market for either. If I hear that damned five-dollar footlong commercial just once, I might break my TV. Why am I even watching, you ask? It’s the f-ing Super Bowl.
I’ve been wrong about Arizona over the course of the entire playoffs. I’ve been right about Pittsburgh so far. I’ve also agreed with Graham every step of the way. He’s got Pitt winning. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
I just don’t see Kurt Warner making it all 4 quarters. Pittsburgh smothers and kills just about every QB they play. You’re telling me that a frail old man is going to lead his team to victory? I say there’s at least a 20% chance of Matt Leinart entering the game. Anytime this guy could potentially be called on by your team, I’m going the other way.
Pittsburgh wins 24-13.