Sports Meme Power Rankings this week examines the pressing issue of the Masters, a long-drive competition held in an obscure Augusta, Ga., municipal course, the only honest way to cheer for college athletics.
1. A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER. A "tradition unlike any other" is on the menu this weekend, and we all know what that means!
That's right: BUMFIGHTS! Oh, Bumfights does make me nostalgic for the days when you had to send your credit card information to a sketchy 1-800 number to watch the despicable but entertaining. It's reminiscent of a time when everything wasn't on demand and on the Internet, a time when things happened without constant coverage and instant access.
Fighting homeless men will be nowhere near Augusta, but the meticulously scrubbed fairways of Augusta remain in the VHS age in many ways. They are run by men who wish it was 1989 again. They will be described in loving, bland detail by Jim Nantz, who first started broadcasting the tournament in that year. They will be torn up by people not named Tiger Woods, which is very 1989-ish indeed since he had dominated the sport from the mid-90s leading to the derailment-by-wandering-penis he experienced recently. (Per Slate, he's getting better! Yay ratings!) They will be, as always, rolled out like rare documents on display from a museum's collection.
Sadly, Steve Spurrier will pee on none of them to illustrate that this is just a golf tournament, and one that takes place at a club that would sooner burn down its own clubhouse than have you as a member. There is a long list of things that make the Masters quite pleasant, however, and we all know what they are:
- Napping to bright colors and soothing quiet.
That is not a long list, actually. It is one thing, but a very important one for the men of this country who watch golf. They are on the whole the oldest viewing audience, and the Masters' 2010 median age of 57.8 indicates that naps will not only be desired but required. Don't be ageist, though: anyone of any age can nap to the Masters, and wake up to the beautifully maintained azaleas before yawning, fending off chores with "Honey, it's the Masters," and then rolling back over to sleep until you hear someone applaud.
In fact, to keep this dodge alive, we encourage all of you to watch the Masters, America's last and best excuse to do nothing on a beautiful spring weekend afternoon. (Additional bonus fun: Rick Reilly reading Laffy Taffy wrapper quality puns over a montage of footage at the end of each round!)
2. COLLEGE ATHLETICS IS CORRUPT AND I SUSPECT WRESTLING MAY BE SCRIPTED. The easiest way to be a columnist in the year 2011 is easy: hard trollin'. Professor Doyel, take the stage!
"Are we done talking about Gary Williams?" he later asked. "I want to make this very clear, that if Gary Williams does not return my call, he’s scared of me. And so he can act all big and bad, and he can stand there on his coaching bench and turn around and yell at his assistant coaches, who've done nothing wrong. And when a guy on the court travels, he can turn around and yell at the 12th man on his bench, because he’s a little bit tiny coward runt of a man. He can do all that.
Just troll the living daylights out of all your targets, engage in some bold grandstanding on a personal level, and behold! Internet traffic and brand recognition.
The second method for success is more traditional, however: being both easily surprised and idealistic. If you can add a dash of "dim" in there, it would really help, since the first reaction to UConn winning the ugliest title game in recent sports memory was to bemoan the state of college athletics as being, well, take your pick: A cesspool, a sewer, some other word borrowing excremental imagery or implying great stench. The other step to this formula would be to talk about this as if it were something new, horrendous or correctable. If you have D-3 coach who wins 10 games a season in football while raising five orphans to cite, please do so.
But at all costs, please do not bring up the inherent impossibility of being a college sports fan without tainting the very thing you're watching. The minute you pay attention and spend money on the games you monetize it, creating an economy around the sport. That economy is turned into a black market by the NCAA's codes surrounding amateurism. Then everyone has to buy their talent on the sly, and here we are in the situation we are in and have been in for the past century or so.
Don't blame the bananas for showing up on the shelf of the dodgy underground banana store. (I know, banana stores are like the worst idea ever for a business, especially an illegal one. Go with it.) Admit that loving college athletics is to embrace a system that, as it stands from the ground up, contains a structural flaw not enabling but demanding corruption.
The allure is the price of the payment. The allure corrodes the sport, and this corrosion is the cost of your interest. There isn't even a joke here: just a demand that you stop making stupid assumptions about collegiate sports that ignore the very setup of the universe itself. As flawed as it is, it's not like this is the first thing you've personally invested in that is going to end badly. The first one would be life, and we're all still pretty gung-ho about that, aren't we? Yes? Excellent.
Now, in apology for lack of jokes, here is a picture of Jason from "Friday the 13th" referencing last month's tired meme to tide you over until the next entry.
3. THE NFL LOCKOUT NEEDS LEGAL FANTASY FOOTBALL. Is there anything interesting left to say about the lockout? Well, the NFL has retained David Boies, motor-mouthed genius lawyer, and you should probably get to know him in the fashion NFL fans are accustomed to discussing things in:
NAME: David Boies
SCHOOL: Northwestern, Yale, NYU.
WEIGHT: I dunno, rich guy weight? Whatever that is? One hundred affluent-y seven pounds?
WHAT SCOUTS LIKE: Speedy, quick to the point of attack. Photographic memory allows him to move quickly on the fly against arguments once he sees an opportunity. Played in a pro system at Yale. More than a game manager with the billable hours, but is instead a genuine playmaker. Big time plays against Microsoft and the State of California.
WHAT CONCERNS SCOUTS: Took tough losses in Bush v. Gore. Horrible 40 time. At the age of 70 is a risky signing for a free agent.
WHO SCOUTS SAY HE REMINDS THEM OF: Peyton Manning's processing power with Drew Brees' delivery.
I'm working with my friends who are attorneys to come up with some kind of fantasy football for NFL legal battles. When we do, we will be wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.
4. THE RED SAWX HAVE FAAAHCED THE LONGEST TWITTAH DROUGHT EVAHHHH. The Red Sox have started the 2011 season 0-6, a tragedy that has forced Bill Simmons to stop Twittering altogether until the team wins a game. For a fanbase whose charter demands extreme solipsism, this makes complete sense, and may be the most Red Sox fan thing to ever happen besides someone named "Heidi Watney" nearly gagging on a Chicken and Waffles sandwich.
Blame not poor Heidi, but the heinous cooking skills of the largely English/Irish population of New England for her inability to appreciate something as noble as the chicken/waffles combination.
Watney: "What's that spice? It burns!"
"It's black pepper, ma'am."
5. BARRY BONDS' COMPLETELY MANUFACTURED TRIAL COMES TO A REST. Do not ever, ever lie to the Feds about anything under oath. State officials? Sure. Hell, I encourage you to lie to state officials, especially those state Fish and Wildlife bastards who ask stupid questions like, "Who shot this alligator with a rocket launcher," and "Is that a rocket launcher mounted to your airboat, sir?" or worst of all "Did you know you can't actually have a licensed piece of U.S. Army Artillery bolted to an airboat, much less shoot an alligator with it?" I'm sorry, officers, I thought this was America.
Anyway, Barry Bonds' trial is over, and now we all know important things, thanks to the expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars to pursue one baseball player among hundreds who used steroids during in the 1990s. Key findings!
"The shape, size of his testicles were smaller. He had some trouble keeping an erection. He tried some things to resolve that."
Bell said Bonds threatened to cut off her head and leave her in a ditch, burn down a house he helped her buy in Arizona and "cut out (her) breast implants because he paid for them."
Thanks to Jeff Nedrow, you can construct a timeline of Barry Bonds' ball size over time, and can also scratch him off your list of potential dates for your friends. Exhibits A and B, please.
And B, Your Honor:
Don't say this entire exercise has been fruitless, and don't lie to the Feds, ever.
6. THE SACRAMENTO KINGS RAISE THE IRE OF SENATOR JACKSON. Phil Jackson stands firmly against Sacramento moving to Anaheim, and that counts for something since Jackson is as close to Senatorial as anyone really is in the NBA. (Gregg Popovich is so quiet down in San Antonio that he's more like a cabinet-level official in the Stern Administration. Secretary of Labor or something dull like that.)
This story is anything but done, the Kings did have to move, have they considered getting doubly festive and going to Mexico City? It plays to David Stern's obsession with the global market, isn't all that far away, and would allow for what I guarantee will be the most festive crowd in all of professional sports. A scenario where Ron Artest could be hit with a bag of urine? Mariachi bands? Univision-quality cheer squads?
I pity Sacramento, but if the Seattle Sonics' scenario has to play out yet again, let's go ahead and get something truly spectacular from the deal. A fiesta, if you will.
7. LEBRON JAMES MOTHER SLAPS A MAN WITH A SPECTACULAR NAME. Wealthy people acting a fool does not shock us, but what does surprise in the case of LeBron James' mother allegedly slapping a valet for absolutely no apparent reason is the alleged victim's name: Sorel Rockefeller. How this man did not make the Name of the Year Bracket for 2011 is beyond me, though he's surely entered himself in the field by ending upon the wrong end of Gloria James' hand and the right end of the out-of-court settlement sure to follow.
8. CARLOS BOOZER ALMOST BEAT UP PRINCE WHO IS A TERRIBLE HOUSE GUEST. Please, oh god please let this be true:
Supposedly, Prince changed the front gate to the Prince sign, he changed the master bedroom to a hair salon, he changed the streaming blue waters that led to the front door to purple water, he knocked out walls, he changed the molding on top of the ceiling," Boozer’s former Duke teammate and good friend Jay Williams told ESPN Radio. "Booz was livid."
So in this bit that was not part of the Dave Chapelle Show and that actually happened in real life between Real Prince and one of the few Duke basketball players we would not take a punch from for a hundred dollars, Carlos Boozer then seriously considers beating up the man who wrote "Batdance" before Prince hand him a check for a million dollars and says, "Man, I'm sorry."
/in a good way
9. BARCELONA IS MORE THAN A CLUB BUT SOMETHING LESS THAN A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION. The Champions League rolls on, but two recent data points bear mentioning. The first is that Manchester United defeated Chelsea 1-0, and that the standard commentary for any Chelsea loss must be included in a link you should not play out loud on speakers near co-workers or children.
The second point is that Barcelona in the early 21st century will be remembered by most teams in hushed words spoken quietly in the dark when the fearful witnesses believe no one is listening to their tales of unspeakable horror.
10. REFUSING TO DIE AT THE 10 SPOT FOREVER: The Ever Present Brett Favre PR Death Star and Country Bear Jamboree. There are 1,851 words in Charley Walters' column on TwinCities.com, but only 22 of them are enough send Carolina fans and those tired of those who "play like kids out there" running toward the nearest open window facing out of a tall building.
Don't discount the possibility of Brett Favre, who turns 42 in October, returning next season, but not with the Vikings. Maybe Carolina.
Jimmy Clausen and Brett Favre on the same bench. Just ponder that, and then reconsider just how soon you really want the NFL to come back.