When I wrote the last article, I thought I had narrowed down the five problems I had with my favorite activity. But once I started paying closer attention to even more of the sports world, I realized there are so many more issues at hand. Like…
I recently went to the NASCAR race in Darlington, South Carolina. I love NASCAR. It’s my guilty pleasure. Watching it live is an entirely different experience than watching it on television. I can’t explain it. It’s just one of those things you have to experience for yourself. That being said, over three quarters of the people there are really annoying. Those people are Dale Jr. fans. Just watch the video I shot to get a good idea.
Dale Earnhardt Junior is NASCAR’s most popular driver by a long shot. I assume 90% of his fans like him because of his father and feel sorry for him and want him to do well. Ironically (or not), NASCAR’s 2nd most popular driver, Danica Patrick, also has about 50% of her fans from sympathy because she’s not that great and people want her to do well. The other 50% want to bone her.
But that’s not the true reason Dale Jr. fans are awful. As I sat in the grandstands on the backstretch of Darlington, I was surrounded by Junior fans and they were all doing the same thing – cheering his every move. One lady, in particular, did a scooting motion with her hand the entire time, seemingly willing him around the track. She did this for 367 laps – 4 hours. Junior’s fans also cheered whenever he passed anyone. It could’ve been a hot dog wrapper that was floating with the wind. His fans cheered like he had just made a pass for the lead. It made me understand why NASCAR fans get such a bad rep.
When you live in a country with football and hockey, soccer just seems silly. If we’re going to watch something the Europeans call football, we’re going to watch over sized men pummel the hell out of each other. If we’re going to watch a low scoring game, we’re going to watch hockey where attractive (according to women) men beat the hell out of each other.
Soccer is everything we think about Europeans. Every soccer player ever is in ridiculous shape. It’s the only sport fat people can’t play. Think about it – there are fat people in every other sport except soccer. Soccer players are also gigantic floppers. A simple slide tackle sends the opposing player down in a heap, grimacing in pain almost as if his ankle had been completely shattered. He’ll wait for the referee to make a call, act a little more, then get up and start running again as if nothing had happened.
Yet it’s the world’s most popular game. Thousands of people cram stadiums, many of which are on the verge of collapse, to watch a game end in a tie. It has to be just an excuse for people to get drunk in some place other than a bar because for 90 minutes there’s nothing to watch. Most of the time each team is just kicking the ball around midfield. And you think watching cars go around in circles for 4 hours is stupid.
Back in my day, when someone said we played with metal bats, they meant metal bats. Bats that if you hit the ball square on the barrel would take a pitchers head off and line drives so sharp you could blast an inattentive kid in the balls (did that once). But because one too many kids got their faces shattered, the NCAA and all leagues below it moved to a BBCOR system, which is fancy science talk for “making metal bats act like wood bats and screwing everything up.”
Since the change in 2011, offense has dropped considerably. In college, there used to be at least one home run a game with the team leader hitting close to 30 home runs a year. Now, the team leader in home runs usually has 10-15, and that’s if they’re those big beefy fat guys. No one wants to see a pitcher’s duel. We want bombs.
In my book, “Something About These Fields” (available now; go buy one!), I talked briefly about my childhood dream of being a professional baseball player. Part of me now is glad it didn’t work out because I realize now that I probably would’ve been a career minor leaguer. And while they make a decent living, some of the team names are just really stupid:
|I hope whoever approved this gets hit by a bus.|
Nothing would’ve made me prouder if I had been a member of one of those teams. Is my sarcasm enough on this one?
I mentioned the NBA in the last piece and everything that’s wrong with it. I forgot one thing. The NBA is the only profession where you can have a neck full of tattoos and not get fired for it. I’ve never met anyone who has a neck tattoo who doesn’t look like a murderer, and the NBA is full of them (I mean guys with neck tattoos, the NFL has all the murderers).
And I know this is a debate for an entirely different day, but I don’t understand the fascination with tattoos. If you have some, cool. You do you, boo-boo. But to cover yourself in ink and look like you’ve Ted Bundied a bunch of people just seems like a bit of overkill. But maybe that’s just my upbringing talking.