Black Wednesday

Kim Hastings FishWrap, FishWrap Archive Leave a Comment

This coming Wednesday is the darkest day in the sports year.
There are no real sports in action as baseball completes its All-Star break, football is still a number of weeks from opening camp, basketball’s interminable playoff season recently came to a close, and hockey is in the middle of “Dental Season,” during which they replace lost Chiclets in preparation for having them knocked out again.

Flyer great Bobby Clarke says, "Gum you very much."

It is a time of great despair and frustration, the point at which we all are furthest from any escape from our harsh realities by means of meaningful sport.

Looking into the dark maw that is Black Wednesday got me to thinking about what life would be like without sports.  What could replace the visceral rush that we get from watching our favorite teams in action?

For those of us that don’t main-line Starbucks, where would we go and what would we do for adrenaline?  Speaking for myself, I love to watch competition pretty much wherever it is.  I was the one who told my brand new wife (on our honeymoon in San Francisco) that I would be ready to go back to the hotel when the lawn bowling that I was watching in Golden Gate Park was over…which pretty much explains why I have to keep a divorce attorney on retainer.

My new bride calmly expressing her interest in lawn bowling

Given that we are men, and likely to muck everything up, I fear that our replacements for sports would leave something to be desired.  Telling the graduates of Oregon State that our Fulbright Scholars are more renowned than their Fulbright Scholars leaves me a little cold (though I’m sure they are more renowned, OSU=Sheep Dip, etc).

In addition, telling Washington how much better Autzen is than anything they care to construct on Montlake falls a little flat if there weren’t an annual thrashing going on in both venues to prove it.  It’s like the hole in the doughnut–or the vast gaping whole of last year’s Husky defense–wholly unsatisfying.

Without sports we would be like the characters on Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride, running in circles and chasing wenches.

A pirate's life for me. A chase-able wench, you'll agree.

She is a fine prize indeed, but I’ve been to Disneyland repeatedly and the wenches remain uncaught. Where is the fun in that?  After a hundred or so laps, the men will get bored and turn to other replacements for sports.  Out of desperation it is likely that we will invent something even more unsavory than Mike Riley in a Speedo.

Professional hot dog eating leagues!  Can’t wait for the Civil War of Pork Importation.
Oregon Chow Hounds vs. Oregon State Cheerleaders!
No puking division, though viscous sneezes are permitted.


Upon reflection, it’s probably just as well that this Wednesday is an anomaly in the calendar.  Soon enough October will come and we will be able to DVR the Mid-American Conference Thursday night Game of the Week while we watch the Patriots play the Bills and keep track of the pennant races on MLB At Bat 12.

And women think THEY can multi-task??? Whatever…
I’d like to see them down half a pizza and beer while manning the remote control with such ambidextrous prowess, flipping between simultaneous sports events faster than a speeding bullet, pushing buttons with more power than a locomotive, and downing chips that have fallen from their destined target with better proficiency than your neighbor’s dog ready to pounce at the smallest crumb.

Is it a bird?
Is it a plane?
NO! It’s an American sports fan, and soon our hibernation in the duldrums of Black Wednesday shall end.

Rest up you true American heroes, your duties captaining the couch shall return soon.

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