I want to start out by apologizing to old people everywhere.
There was a time whenever I found myself stranded in a room with someone at least twice my age that I did my best to tune you out and go to my happy place. You see, I was too young and immature to understand what was going on when you started mumbling semi-coherently about “back in my day” and proceeded into a long-winded diatribe that didn’t end until you fell asleep at the table mid-sentence. I had no clue that you were simply attempting to warn me of the darker days ahead by drawing parallels to better times. More to the point, I just didn’t have a clue.
But now, here I sit, long after you’re gone, understanding exactly where you were coming from. I see a world where parents raise their overweight children to be pansies because games like dodgeball and kickball are banned. A world where leagues opt to not keep score and give trophies to every kid on every team because, heaven forbid, your blandly named son thinks for one moment that another child is better at soccer than your precious little Devin.
If this is the future, then I’m off to eat a bullet now.
Back in my day (see what I did there) shit happened. Sometimes bullies took your lunch money and sometimes you struck out at the plate during gym-class baseball. You didn’t go to therapy, you went to science class. Your parents didn’t put you on medication because of anxiety or your “inability to cope.” You just sat on the opposition side of the lunch room and prayed like hell the bully picked on someone else the day your parents accidentally put two Little Debbie snackcakes in your lunchbox. If some kids at the bus stop made fun of you for a pimple on your face, you didn’t come to school the next day with a semi-automatic weapon and open fire on the football team. You went home that night and washed your face half a dozen times in hopes the blemish went away that very second.
Those days, things were definitely simpler. Ned Bitters and I used to give each other a ton of shit. He, being a native of Pennsylvania, loved all things Pittsburgh. Whether it be the Steelers, Penguins or cock, he just couldn’t get enough of it. I, having grown up in the D.C. metro area, always rooted for my home teams – including the Redskins, the Capitals and the Baltimore Orioles (we didn’t have our own baseball team, so the O’s sufficed until Peter Angelos got involved).
I’ll never forget the day Bitters started his own “Ripken streak.” While the rest of the world was happily saluting Cal Jr. for showing up to work every day for 2,632 consecutive games, Bitters decided it’d be clever to start counting the consecutive days Cal Sr. had been dead for. And you know what? It was funny. To get even, I decided to take a shot at his beloved Penguins and their posterboy, Mario Lemieux.
I distinctly remember saddling up next to him and saying I had a solution for the small-market Pens, who were having a bit of financial trouble.
“To save money on pregame festivities, they could get rid of fireworks or laser shows and simply have Lemieux hit the ice after a chemo session,” I said. “As long as he doesn’t melt the ice, you’re in for a helluva show.”
Was it politically incorrect? Absolutely. But it cracked both of our dumb asses up. We weren’t making light of death or disease. We were just being morons.
The NHL shouldn’t suspend Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery for saying Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf fell in love with “his sloppy seconds,” they should be thankfully hockey is relevant again.
They’re just words. If they offend you, then don’t listen to them. If Phaneuf was offended, he’d have settled it on the ice within the rules established by the NHL. And if he decided not to take action, then the story would have been dead within 24 hours. But because we live in a bubblewrapped world where anything said that’s even remotely controversial is blown out of proportion, the league felt compelled to suspend Avery for simply making a bad joke. Is Avery an asshole? For sure. Was he probably wrong for putting himself before his team? Yep. But to take away the man’s livelihood for speaking before thinking is wrong.
And now we hear that former Dallas Cowboy Adam “Pacman” Jones is planning to file a lawsuit against ESPN after the “Worldwide Leader” reported that he arranged for someone to shoot at three men outside an Atlanta night club in 2007.
“It will be a lawsuit in a week against ESPN,” Jones told the Dallas Morning News. ”That’s stupid. It’s so stupid I have no more comments.”
The sheer thought that Jones is planning to sue ESPN for defamation of character is ridiculous. For starters, Pacman has no character. Secondly, it’s not like one of the talking heads came out and blasted the troubled cornerback in some sort of spiteful personal attack. One of the anchors didn’t even come out and make a bad joke or tasteless comment like Avery, Bitters or myself.
The network conducted an Outside the Lines investigation and simply reported their findings. And besides, Jones has been arrested six times and involved in 12 instances requiring police intervention since he came into the NFL. How he could be so delusional as to think he has anyone other than himself to blame for his current unemployment status is beyond me. If Pacman’s lawsuit is filed and isn’t promptly thrown out of court, then the judge deserves to be beaten like he stole something.
I know I’ve gotten off subject, but the fact is, we’re all a bunch of sissies. You don’t put a warning label on a hot cup of coffee. Its common freaking sense that if you spill a hot beverage in your lap it’s going to leave a mark. Spilling said cup of coffee in your lap because you knocked it over while trying to answer your cell phone during your morning commute isn’t cause for a lawsuit. It’s a message from above that you should pay more attention to the road and maybe attempt to stay on your side of the highway, dipshit.
You don’t have to put a “do not attempt” message on the screen saying professional stuntmen were used in the filming of your car commercial. If I try to go from 60 to zero on a cliff to see if my Ford F250 can really stop on a dime like in the ad then I deserve the Wile E. Coyote ending.
You don’t … wait, don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back. I have to run out on my porch and yell at these neighborhood kids to get off my lawn.
Brian Murphy is an award-winning sportswriter who also goes by the name Homer McFanboy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.