This will be my last "Retro" Post. This one was written in July.
Hey, dear readers.
Well, the Cubs are actually above .500, they are only 4 games back from the Brewers, and they actually look good. I mean they look really good. Like there might be some hope for the playoffs this year.
Yeah, well, the season's only half over. We'll see if I am this optimistic in a month. I am holding out on pure, unadulterated joy at this news because I'm still not seeing any consistency from my Cubbies. Yeah, they've won 11 of their last 13. But the two they lost were lost in spectacular fashion. They lost to the Brewers 13-4 (ugh...that was painful to watch), and, more disturbingly, were blanked by the Nationals 6-0 on the 4th.
Last time I looked, the Nationals had one of the worst records in all of baseball (okay, I just looked it up...as of today, the third worst record in baseball) and they blanked us. Four of those runs were scored as part of a GRAND SLAM. So...forgive me if I hold off on buying the champagne just yet, folks.
This is a nice segue to let me rant for a moment about the state of sports.
Yeah, yeah, I can hear you now...what else is new, Kari? You-ranting about sports-that's so unusual.
So, anyway...I was getting really aggravated about the coverage that the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest was getting leading up to the 4th. For those of you that don't have ESPN directly hardwired to your brain, let me fill you in on this one. Nathan's, the Famous Hot Dog joint from Coney Island, sponsors a Hot Dog Eating Contest every year. Apparently there is a rather large following for this event. So much so that ESPN televised it. They went all out...they had color commentators, sideline reporters, the whole works. They made an hour-long show out of it.
Okay...let me go on record as saying that I do not consider EATING MASS QUANTITIES OF FOOD A SPORT.
Neither is poker or spelling, for that matter, but those are rants for another day.
The reigning champ, Takeru Kobayashi, had been in the press for about a week or so leading up to the event because he was effectively on the Competitive Eating DL with an arthritic jaw.
I can't begin to tell you how much I DON'T CARE about Mr. Kobayashi's arthritic jaw. I think it's asinine that this is televised in one time slot, and in another there's a "Very Special Special" about the epidemic of obesity in the United States. I think that broadcasting this drivel and other drivel, like poker and spelling bees and antique car auctions, denigrates from 'real' sports and their importance in our culture.
So anyway, yesterday one of my favorite columnists (Pete McEntegart on SI.com) devoted a pretty significant portion of his blog to a timeline of the contest.
I read the whole post.
And then I felt compelled to comment on the post. Something along the lines of "Please tell me this was an assignment and you did not voluntarily watch this drivel".
If you are interested, here's the link: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/si_blogs/extramustard/10_spot/2007/07/great-day-for-america.html
There is a reason Pete is one of my favorite columnists. He is smart and witty, and his blog is timely and provides a pretty unique perspective. So I was a little put-off that he devoted so much space and energy to the damn Hot Dog Eating Contest. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you'll probably remember that I've spent a lot of space and energy myself decrying the downward spiral of the sports culture here in the US--perpetuated, in my opinion, by coverage of these types of events.
Admittedly, Pete's post was funny and well-written. I mean really well-written-so much so that it thoroughly engaged me and prompted me to read a long post on a topic that I hate. Now, that's some real talent.
After I posted my comment on Pete's blog, I kept checking back to see what the other uber-fans were saying on the topic. A lot of my fellow fans agreed with me. It got to a point that Pete added a comment that said (and I am paraphrasing here) "Hey, I agree that this isn't really a sport, but it was entertaining."
Actually, I think Pete used the phrase "wildly entertaining".
You know when you have those "a-ha" moments, moments when your brain or ego or whatever lets down its guard and a new perspective creeps in, and suddenly you can't believe that you never considered the fact that your old perspective might be off-base, or even *GULP* wrong?
Yeah, I just had one of those moments.
I just realized-literally-that not only am I taking myself and sports WAY too seriously, but I come off just as absurd as those color commentators for the Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Allow me to quote myself, from just a few paragraphs ago: "... it denigrates from 'real' sports and their importance in our culture".
Wow, I dug deep for that one, didn't I?
Okay, okay. I realize now that there are those out there that think my fandom is waaaaaaay out there, and it doesn't really matter that I'm watching football rather than a hot dog eating contest. I'm still a nut. So be it. It's not going to change me. If you don't like it...don't sit next to me during the game. And I won't complain about ESPN's coverage of these other...events...even though they could fill the time with SportsCenter. I just won't watch them.
After all, once upon a time, ESPN stood for the "Entertainment and Sports Network". So if you think that watching a Hot Dog Eating Contest is entertaining, enjoy yourself. I'll just busy myself with my Fantasy Football research.
Or something else wildly entertaining.