Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Feeling cranky lately? Blame it on the sports

By Jeff Glauser
The Phanatic Magazine

Maybe it’s the change in weather. Or perhaps the shorter days. Maybe it’s even the damn economy.

Whatever the case, I’ve been cranky lately. Crankier than usual. Especially as a sports fan, where I could traditional turn to for escapism when all else in the world is depressing.

But not lately. And upon digging deep (okay, not too deep) to figure out the real reasons why, I’ve come up with the following:

- Nine weeks into the NFL season, and I already know that there’s a 90 percent chance the Eagles won’t be in the playoffs and an even greater percentage that the Patriots will win it all. What’s there to look forward to? Where’s the suspense? The intrigue? The so-called parity the NFL had been shooting for?

- And with the Pats come those Boston fans. In my book, they’re now officially New York Lite. First, you complained far too much about your woe begotten Sox (try being from Chicago, where there were two teams in town even more snake bitten. I also don’t believe there was much folk lore when the Phillies were in a 97-year drought, either). Two World Series titles, three Super Bowl victories and, possibly, a Celtics resurgence later, and you’re bragging far too much. On the way to down the regression scale – from deprived to arrogant – you missed the stop at humility.

- A key playoff component for two of those championships has been Curt Schilling – just one of several former Philly players recently who walked away leaving fans unfulfilled, only to wind up getting their ring elsewhere: Scott Rolen, Glenn Robinson…and now even J.D. Drew?! If there is a God, please don’t let T.O. be next. Good karma has to exist somewhere, no?

- Apparently, it does not exist in the penal system. Because what’s in a name? Well, if the last name is “Reid,” it allows you to get away with murder (no, wait, that’ll probably be the next trial). At this point, the conversation goes beyond laying blame and taking responsibility. That’s for Andy Reid and his family to deal with behind closed doors. But at this point, these “men” (because technically, that’s what they are, as poorly as they portray it) still don’t get it. And the system apparently doesn’t either if there’s even a remote possibility of them being released from jail within a couple months.

- Meanwhile, a once-promising high school football athlete in Georgia, Genarlow Wilson, is just now getting out of jail after a couple years… for receiving oral sex from a 15 year old girl when he was 17. This, because of an archaic and foolish law that ignorant (and seemingly racist) lawmakers refused to grandfather out for him when it finally changed. So, if we simply quantify the crimes based on the amount of punishment dished out, it is apparently ten times worse to get a B.J. at a house party than to sell heroin in impoverished neighborhoods, slam into cars while under the influence of said drug, and point loaded weapons at fellow motorists… all while getting into trouble with the law repeatedly and falling in and out of rehab over the years. Keep those zippers in the "up" position, boys.

- Why is it whenever I call in for customer service, I’m told that there is “unusually high call volume?” If I hear it every time, that seems pretty “usual” to me! (Yes, it’s not sports-related, but that makes me cranky nevertheless.

- So much for the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry. Always fun to see your arch rival make a mockery of you in your own backyard. And for salt on the wound, much had to come at the hands of T.O. and his stinkin’ bird wave. It’s somewhat nauseating knowing that he’s getting the last laugh.

- And he can owe it to his greaseball agent. Why don’t more people talk about how agents have ruined sports? Over the past generation, players have transformed from demigods in the minds of youth to pawns, chips and materialistic thieves in the minds of those who have common sense. Blame the agents for exploiting free agency in such a way where sports are now strictly a business full of bidding wars, thus making the art of loyalty obsolete. However, blame the owners for allowing it to happen.

- Back to the flipping Birds. With that type of performance, fans deserve their money back. But instead, fans are charged more than ever, with parking fees jacked up to incomprehensible amounts. It’s funny how the Eagles can overlook overpaying Brian Westbrook $3 million, but if they’re short changed three bucks at the lots, it’s time to call for the Gestapo. Hey, Management: It was a lot easier to turn the other cheek on the holier-than-thou approach when your team was winning. But good luck saving your base when the pendulum swings the other way for a while. Fly, Eagles fans, fly. Far away.

- Why is it that my "list" columns seem to go on forever?

Okay, deep breath...let it out. Serenity now.

Presently, I will have to search for the little things to make me happy. For example, did you notice that, in this week’s BCS Top 25, each team represents a different state? I don’t know why that amuses me so; perhaps something about geographical parity, or that it appeals to the OCD side of a sports follower. But it’s all I’ve really got at the moment, so let me have it.

(Wait a second, I mentioned the BCS just now. Don’t get me started on that…)

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