This week’s inductees into the “Overrated Hall of Fame” are … municipal sports bets.
Last week in a Pittsburgh newspaper there was a story about (and an accompanying stupid picture of) some Pittsburgh councilwoman wearing green and eating cheese. This was the main picture on their front page website that day. Now, Pittsburgh might not be one of the world’s business or cultural hubs, but there are usually more newsworthy items than a cheese-eating, green-wearing councilwoman. (And no, the green was not in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps the most overrated holiday this side of Arbor Day.)
No, this councilwoman was participating in the hackneyed tradition of paying off a bet with another city after losing a pro sports championship game to that city. The green and cheese were in honor of Green Bay. I think it’s way past time to end these silly, vastly overrated displays of forced good will and “it’s all in the spirit of good, clean fun” douchiness.
These bets are always so lame and unoriginal. They invariably involve a regional food specialty, some gastronomic gutbuster that leaves half the city’s population obese and headed toward premature death. The Baltimore mayor will always bet blue crabs and Old Bay seasoning. A Boston alderman will wager some creamy clam chowder. A Pittsburgh councilman will put up some pierogis or kielbasa or, more likely, some Primantes sandwiches, a legendary and terribly overrated shitfest of a sandwich this is edible only after downing 12 Iron Citys and four shots of Wild Turkey.
Then, after the championship is decided, we are all subjected to a picture or video of the losing city’s government representative performing the time-wasting stunt of putting on the other team’s jersey and eating that city’s food specialty with a big goofy smile on his chomping face. Photographers click away for the 30-second photo-op, and a video clip makes the end of the local news’s sportscast that night. And no one from either city cares.
I propose that, in the spirit of real competition, our civic leaders put a little more creativity and daring into these bets. They are, after all, elected officials who are supposed to serve the public. Well, this segment of the voting public would like to see some bets with a little more at stake than eating a Philly cheesesteak while wearing a Ryan Howard jersey. (I was going to say a DeSean Jackson jersey, but we all know the Eagles are never going to win a Super Bowl.)
My first proposal was that the bet cannot be about food but instead has to do with the city’s identity. For example, if your city loses to a Philly team, the mayor has to bang his wife to a thundering orgasm, only to have her boo and throw stuff at him for not making her come twice.
If you lose to the Indianapolis Colts, the mayor of your city has to go three weeks without subjecting himself to any true culture and must eat only at chain restaurants. If you lose to a San Francisco team, an uber-straight, homophobic city official must suck the cock of the most promiscuous San Francisco gay man that a 3 a.m. Craigslist search can turn up. Now that would be a clip I’d to see on Channel 7 News at 5 … I think.
But I think the best plan would be to make the bets have to do with the team’s nickname, for those bets would lend themselves to uniqueness and creativity. So, bag all the sausage, seafood and sandwich bets, grow some balls and bet for real stakes. Here are a few ideas for the next time your team gets into a Super Bowl or Finals with one of the teams below. If your team beats any of the following, your mayor gets to …
Tigers: … attack the flamboyant Vegas showman of his choice, mauling his face and ending his career in front of a live audience.
Vikings: … rape and pillage the city of Minneapolis. That is, if he can find a damn thing worth pillaging there. After all, what’s he going to do, loot the Mall of America? An armload of Pantera wallets from Spencer’s Gifts and a bag of Auntie Anne’s pretzels hardly count as the spoils of victory.
Twins: … have sex with twins. That is, only if your mayor is a twisted perv who is into watching incest. How did you ever elect such a sick bastard anyway?
Redskins: … use words like “spic, honky, cracker, gook, towelhead, camel-jockey, kraut, mick, limey and coon,” and if accused of being racist, he gets to offer a nonsensical response using phrases like “steeped in tradition” and “is actually a tribute to those people we are accused of offending.”
Senators: … land a cushy, insanely well-paid private sector sinecure once he leaves office if he agrees to turn a blind eye to Wall Street fraud and corporate malfeasance for as long as he is in office. Oh, he gets to bluster in indignation about the fatcats, he just can’t actually do anything to these masters of the universe who wrecked the economy.
Cardinals: … play a real-life cardinal and sweep countless cases of local child molestation under the Vatican-paid-for rug. In fact, he can do this for decades, transferring molesters at will without risk of indictment or of even losing his job.
Predators: … be one of the above molesters and know that the most severe punishment he will face is not incarceration, defrocking or even shame. Just a transfer to another city with more hairless bait.
Buffalo Bills: … gets to keep a chunky girl as a hostage in a basement pit and hope that a sexy Jodie Foster shows up to play hide and seek in the dark.
Royals: … act like British royalty. You know, live like kings and queens on the public dime, make a few appearances and marry a virginal princess while continuing to bang out a hound-faced older woman.
Indians: … take over that city, spread some smallpox, then give them casinos 125 years later and say, “My bad!”
Cavaliers: … do whatever the hell he wants without thinking of consequences. You know, as in act “cavalierly.” C’mon, work with me.
Patriots: … punch Bill Belichik in the head three times. Yes, I know this has nothing to do with the name Patriots, but it is just so called for and so long overdue.
And finally, here is the penalty your mayor must pay if your teams loses a finals to either the St. Louis Blues or the Utah Jazz. He must subject himself to an interminable amount of either genre of music, listening until he can no longer resist the urge to jam an ice pick into his ears in order to staunch the onslaught of this unlistenable dreck. That should make for about a 20-second news clip.
Ned Bitters is, in fact, overrated. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.