Winning & Musing…..Volume 2.11

What I refer to as the dark days of the sports calendar haven’t been too awfully depressing so far…..

My residual mourning and bitterness about the outcome of the Super Bowl are still fresh, so I cannot bring myself to be magnanimous quite yet. However, let me say just one thing. I am already tired of the sports media wringing their hands over whether or not Bret Favre has, has not, or will ever call, text, or otherwise convey a congratulatory message to QB Aaron Rodgers. Who cares?? Favre doesn’t owe Rodgers a damn thing, and if he did call him what he really should say is “Don’t get too cocky son. As good as your stats were the fact is the only reason you got to hold The Lombardi Trophy is because the Steelers gave the game away.” As much as I love ESPN, I think that sometimes they struggle to come up with topics for their plethora of shows (Mike & Mike, First Take, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, et al). The Favre/Rodgers discussion has temporarily replaced the old “did Team A win the game or did Team B lose it” as the biggest time waster on “The Family of Networks”.

My abiding love for the game of football not withstanding, I am growing weary of the talk of impending doom vis a vis the possible NFL lockout. I suppose part of my disdain boils down to the fact that I am not an attorney and am not overly knowledgeable about economics, so unless & until both sides come to an agreement and just shut up & play I really don’t care. It is possible I will feel differently a few months from now, but by then…if the possibility of no pro football next fall becomes a more tangible prospect…my disinterest will evolve into anger & disappointment.

Pitchers & catchers report”. It’s a phrase that signifies that baseball, and more importantly spring, are on the way. I am by no means as big of a baseball fan as I am die hard football fanatic, mostly because my lifelong connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates has eroded my affection for the game itself over the course of the past 17 years. And I suppose rampant cheating & drug abuse in the sport has destroyed too much of the pastoral mystique as well. But atleast I have a team to pull for, unlike my completely aloof semi-enjoyment of the NBA and total lack of interest in soccer, tennis, and any sport involving sweaty lesbians.

This has nothing to do with sports, but Bryce in Minnesota needs to freakin’ get over the crappy pizza he received from Domino’s and the CEO of the pizza giant needs to stop apologizing. Maybe if his parents would have named him something other than Bryce he’d be more of a man than to take a stupid photo of a pizza and send it to the company.

Conspiracy theorists are out in full force concerning Dale Earnhardt Jr. capturing the pole position for this coming weekend’s Daytona 500. I enjoy a good conspiracy theory even if they are illogical and soul-crushingly dumb. This one is harmless enough seeing as how the past ten pole winners haven’t won the race and Dale Jr., a total disappointment to the legacy of his father whose only trump card is his name, hasn’t won a race in nearly 3 years and there is no reason to believe he will win this Sunday. However, it does provide me an opportunity to mark the ten year anniversary of Dale Sr.’s tragic death. I remember vividly watching that race, seeing the crash on the final lap, and being happy for lovable loser Michael Waltrip, who is 1000% less annoying than his older brother Darrell. After the race I changed the channel and spent the rest of a lazy Sunday doing God knows what. I never gave a second thought to the wreck because I’d seen dozens…alot of them involving Earnhardt himself…that were so much worse. A couple of hours later I was surfing The Internet and saw a giant headline on ESPN.com that I believe just said “EARNHARDT DEAD”. I was stunned. I had been a meandering Nascar fan as far back as the early 80’s when I cheered for “The King” Richard Petty. After Petty’s retirement in 1992 I had to find a new favorite driver and by then, for a variety of reasons, I had gone through a personal metamorphosis that made the hardscrabble, rapacious, anti-hero persona that enveloped Earnhardt appealing. His death hit me surprisingly hard, and I was taken aback at how sad I became. Ten years later and thoughts of that day still feel like a punch to the gut. I am sure there are fans out there much more invested in the Nascar product than I that were affected even more deeply. So as we mark this significant anniversary I’ll just say that I am glad that much good, i.e. more extensive safety regulations that have undoubtedly saved countless lives, resulted from Dale Earnhardt’s death, but I miss his unique contribution to the sport and more importantly I miss what stock car racing used to be, a rough & tumble thrill ride with rich personality and an unrefined yet colorful edge, instead of the tedious corporate exercise in banality it has become.


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