FIERCE ANTICIPATION: The Eric Sims Edition II
another substitute blogumn by Eric Sims
Since Ryan is down in Georgia organizing “Free Ben Roethlisberger- She’s a Golddiggin’ Ho” rallies, you’re stuck with me, Eric the raving Jew with the creepy John Barrowman fixation again. So, here goes nothing.
Imagine your perfect day at work (or, you know, imagine what it would be like to have a really awesome day if you had a job). What would you be doing? Rescuing kittens from rising flood waters; building a kick-ass pivot table; quelling a riot in a women’s prison with a fire hose; fluffing Ron Jeremy; passing healthcare reform; or maybe, just for once, getting to work the register and not having to put on that goddamn hotdog costume and stand on the corner handing out flyers. Whatever it is, get a clear image in your mind. Got it?
Well, here’s my perfect day. I wander in around 9:30, check for doughnuts in the green room, sit down at my computer and WATCH HOUR AFTER HOUR OF LIVE STREAMING COLLEGE BASKETBALL!!!! A non-stop orgy of buzzer beaters and bracket busters; squeaking sneakers and slam dunks, screaming coaches and desperation heaves. It’s a crazy, emotional ride — one minute, I’m yelling at my computer, pleading with BYU to hit some free-throws, the next, I’m dying quietly inside while I fake my way through a conference call and watch one of my Final Four picks wither away in overtime. I see athletes in their prime swarming the court after the most improbable victory — living, maybe, the greatest moment of their lives and stunned young men sitting on the bench watching the clock tick down the last few seconds of the season and maybe their whole basketball careers, burying their faces in their jerseys to hide the shame and swallowing like a rock the very hard lesson that doing your best isn’t always good enough. There’s nothing like it. It’s what the Olympics would be like if they didn’t suck.
Trust me on this point- I’ve tried every possible productivity killer imaginable in my 15-odd years in the workforce: tequila, Friendster, onanism, 99-seat theatre, misogynist banter, calling my grandparents and, of course, YouTube — absolutely nothing compares to March Madness. And I’m not alone in my conviction. According to some dick on ESPN, March Madness costs employers $1.7 BILLION every year. Can you imagine? One point seven BILLION dollars! That’s like the whole GDP of Djibouti (Pronounced: dij-bootay) just evaporating into thin air. Imagine what we could do with that much money. Now, recognize how awesome it is that we don’t do anything with it, just slack off and watch basketball. Kind of brings a tear to your eye.
To view all the games live online- go here: http://mmod.ncaa.com/ of course, by the time this runs, the first round will be over already. So it goes…
KINDA WANNA SEE
The Final Four (WARNING: This section may contain a bunch of unrelated similes)
Like college itself, all the real fun of the tournament is up front. You get a brief, exuberant burst of super-crazy activity and spend the rest of the time trying to get yourself off academic probation and dodging that crazy Swedish girl that made your balls itch like crazy Freshman year. That’s not to say there aren’t great moments later on — it’s just, you don’t have that same amazing rush of fun. It’s like the seventh time you do heroin — good but not GREAT. Maybe it’s more about the fact that nothing can ever fully live up to expectations. Like a midget approaching from far away: at first, you think he could be huge, but when he gets up close, you realize how small and disappointing he really is. Or like preparing for your Bar Mitzvah: you spend a year studying, thinking you’re going to be a man, and then it’s over and you’re just another squeaky voiced kid puking up Manischevitz in bushes behind Ohav Shalom.
That’s not to say the championship games are inevitably disappointing — they’re not — just that all the real thrills are up-front. By the time that first weekend in April rolls around, you’re worn out and emotionally drained, the clock has struck midnight for most of the Cinderella stories and the meticulously planned bracket you were once so proud of is now an ink spattered testament to your utter stupidity. Even Dick Vitale seems hoarse and tired. Basically, the tournament is like doing a hit of Nitrous from a whipped-cream canister- after the glorious mind-numbing buzz, all you’re left with is a sweet, watery goo that drips out of the nozzle and isn’t fit to top a sundae let alone a hooker’s nipple. TS Eliot had something to say about this when he talked about the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper — but only a pretentious asshole would quote TS Eliot in a blog post, so I’ll skip it.
WOULDN’T GO IF YOU PAID ME
The smell of the grass. The thwack of the bat. The roar of the crowd. Who fuckin’ needs it?
Everything you need to know about the suckitude of baseball is summed up in its nickname, “America’s Pastime” — not “America’s Thrill Ride” or “America’s Ass Whoopin’” or even “America’s Sport” — but, “Pastime,” the same category of activity as stamp collecting, trainspotting and taxidermy, all activities enjoyed by beady-eyed little men on their way to discovering the simpler joys of serial murder and pederasty. Now, I’m not saying all baseball fans are freaky little bowtie-wearing child-molesters like George Will — just that, well … are these the sort of guys you really want to party with?
To add insult to injury, just as baseball started to get interesting in the late 90’s and players were knocking home-run records out of the park, the idiots who run the game took away performance-enhancing drugs. I mean, who cares if Sammy Sosa’s balls are shrinking? He’s hitting dingers! Hell, every job should have a drug that improves performance. If there was a shot that could sharpen Excel skills or help catch terrorists or make the “differently abled” cashiers at Ralph’s work just a little fucking faster, every doctor would be giving it out. And I’m sick of all the “integrity of the game” bullshit. If they had steroids in the 50’s, Mantle & Marris would be shoving needles in each other’s bums and giggling like Japanese schoolgirls.
There is a small possibility that my irrational hatred of baseball is related to my incredible ineptitude at playing the game. After all, my crowning achievement in baseball was getting hit by a pitch in JCC sports camp and scoring the winning run and the low point of my athletic career was when I struck out – at kickball. That being said, I also ran head-first into the coach during Freshman basketball tryouts and have never successfully thrown, caught, run with or kicked a football — or successfully defended someone from doing the above — and I love those two sports. Maybe it just comes down to the fact that there’s an ineffable coolness to basketball and lameness to baseball. I mean, Barack Obama makes a NCAA Tournament bracket every year and George Bush used to own the Texas Rangers. What more do I need to say?
Hope you enjoyed this little rant. Maybe Hines Ward will bang some co-ed in Florida and Ryan will need me to fill in again.