[Business Day One] Stuffing and Potatoes
Thanksgiving has, over the years, evolved into the perfect storm of sloth and gluttony. The trip home is usually exhausting enough that you want to spend Thanksgiving Eve half asleep on an old high school buddy’s couch. The gut-busting feast on Thanksgiving Proper is filling enough to make you remain sedentary for all of that night, most of Black Friday, and at least half of that Saturday. The World of Sports has developed a symbiotic relationship with the World of Holiday Over-Indulgence, so as America digests, they can also watch early season NBA games, the final regular season college football games and the Packers take on the Lions. Not a bad way to spent time otherwise spent reconnecting with family. Anyway, all of this eating and sports watching put me in a position to make some pretty interesting observations:
– Jon Kitna has quietly evolved from a perfectly average, oft-overlooked quarterback into an insufferable douchebag over the past year. He insulted a team immediately after losing to them last week and this week declared his certainty regarding his ultimate destination. Sure, he’s the field general of a winning football team (6-5) and has thrown more lifetime TDs than INTs (143-138), but I’m not sure if a middling career spent on meaningless teams warrants such confidence. Heck, Tom Brady is defeating terrorism and winning the war on drugs with the efficiency of his passing game and he couldn’t get away with saying that. Kitna’s made himself into an NFL heel, though not a fun one like the Iron Shiek of Kane. He’s more like Vincent – a bald and forgotten Also Ran that breeds more sympathy than contempt.
-College Football’s overtime system may or may not be actual football, but I love it. Sure, it gets rid of special teams, but there are more tactics involved than an NHL shoot-out (which I consider one of the most exciting things in all of sports) and any overtime turns the game into an instant classic. My dad and I watched the epic triple overtime LSU-Arkansas game on Friday. He’s not as big a fan of NCAAF as I am, so I had to clarify the intricacies of the “each team takes a turn from the 25” system. ???? ????? But from that explanation on, he was totally enrapt. My pops was used to seeing pro football games that went to OT decided more or less by the coinflip, so this was a complete change of pace. ???????? We watched and cheered as two teams that we had no interest at all in punched the ball into the end zone three times each. Sure, purists can declare the system a broken bastardization of the actual game. But my father and I didn’t blink until it was over. And that should count for something.
-Good teams get lucky. The Celtics and Patriots, both of whom generally demolish competition by double-digits each night, each escaped a game in exciting last second fashion this weekend. In sports, breaks just seem to go to the juggernauts. Maybe it’s referee bias (shaking Michael Jordan’s hand before the game was enough to get you a foul) or the fact that the media generally spends more time talking about lucky bounces for good teams than bad, or that we can only remember phantom calls when they’re against our squad (and for the superior, and evil, squad). But that’s just the way it is. I saw Ray Allen get the ball in traffic and put up a buzzer beater. I saw Asante Samuel intercept two balls, one in the fourth quarter to ice the game, against a Philadelphia team that was ready to play. ??? ???? Wins like those are as impressive as the blow-outs that good teams are capable of putting up. They remind us that those teams are lucky.
-Now that the Yankees have put the finishing touches on Alex Rodriguez’s gaudy (yet still discounted!) new contract, offseason baseball news is now fairly slow. There was, of course, the very sad news of a seemingly healthy 28 year old pitcher dying. But aside from the heartfelt stories covering him, there hasn’t been nigh a peep about baseball from the major media outlets. In fact, the only big baseball news in my life over the past week was when I was told that Curt Schilling was marching in a local Thanksgiving parade. Without any particularly exciting free agents outside of A-Rod, there’s simply not much to talk about. I don’t have a problem with that, really. Any news would merely cut into my NCAA basketball time.
-The Devils are trying to salvage their season, the Orange Bowl won’t be at the Orange Bowl, and BC Men’s Basketball is a sort of surprising 4-0.
Keep digesting everybody. Hopefully you’ll be hungry again by Christmas.