Fantasy football, pre-season games, NCAA openers, Colin Kaepernick? Meh. You could do better. I could do better…and will!
Maybe you’ve seen that meme from The Sound of Music that shows Julie Andrews, airy and twirling amid the Austrian Alps, not caring about all kinds of things that people just love, like political speeches or Pokemon Go? Well, substitute an image of me for a fictitious Maria Von Trapp in your mind and you’ll get a picture of how I feel about a few things in the NFL and NCAA.
Now, I’m not to the point where I don’t give a flying flip for football, frankly (alliteration, for the win!), but each year brings me a little bit closer to heading for those hills, metaphorically. Mostly, that’s because a lot things about football just don’t interest me. For instance, here’s a few of my not-so-favorite things during football season:
1. NFL Pre-Season Games
Pre-season games are their own kind of low-level entertainment, which are a combination of football and talent show, where neither one is that good. You think you’re getting football, but really you’re just watching the Browns’ coaching staff assess which defensive tackles they’re going to cut next week. It’s not so much pure football as a version of American Idol with cleats.
Now, if you go for that kind of thing, fine, but what annoys me are those people who treat pre-season football like it’s a bitterwater oasis in the Sahara: terrible for drinking, but still salvation to a dying man. I hear these kinds of guys yakking on sports radio, going on about how pre-season games are never compelling, but, hey, it’s football… as if they’re in the throes of some gritty smack addiction and will take whatever they can get.
If you’re the type of person who scrutinizes the Cowboys’ pre-season depth chart because you need football in your veins and it’s the only thing you can get until September, you need to get to the library, check out a copy of Walden, and walk into the woods to think about your life. If you don’t know what Walden is because they’ve never mentioned it or any other books on the NFL Network, then you’re going to need one of those week-long retreats to a Buddhist monastery to purge your soul.
2. NCAA Cupcake Games
These games are even less interesting than NFL pre-season games because at least pro teams are trying to accomplish something by sorting out their roster before Week 1. Someone could argue that NCAA Power Five openers are doing the same thing, but what irks me is that they’re played under the pretense that the games actually matter, when they don’t.
To be sure, cupcake games can backfire, like when Michigan lost to Appalachian State a few seasons back and had their season flushed down the American Standard. But mostly they’re a scrimmage for the favorites, a hiding for the underdogs, and red meat for the fans.
For one thing, they’re not a good measuring stick for either opponent. Do you think Ohio State really got any idea how they’re going to stack up against Oklahoma after beating Tulsa and Bowling Green by a combined score of 125-13? Is that really entertaining to watch as a fan? (Say “yes” and so help me, I will loan you my copy of Nature and point you toward the woods… somewhere Greg Hoard is laughing and calling me an elitist).
But what bothers me most is how bigger schools lure smaller schools into a “gimme game” for a fat price, which, for universities that pride themselves on amateurship, seems like a pretty mercenary thing to do. If I was an alum of either Ohio State or Bowling Green, I’d be a little bit ashamed knowing that the No.3 Buckeyes paid the No. 101 Falcons $975,000 to come get an atomic wedgie at the Horseshoe. That’s not quite match fixing, but it’s awfully close, and it appeals to me like the thought of pouring buttermilk on my Frosted Flakes.
3. NFL Player Protests
I haven’t really followed the whole Colin Kaepernick escapade because, frankly, whenever I’ve seen him talking I get the impression that he’s kind of dumb. He comes across as parroting jargon he only learned yesterday, and he does it with all the aplomb of a politician trying to deflect allegations of soliciting a hooker.
If Kaepernick had something original to say, or didn’t seem to be regurgitating the same tired talking points of Black Lives Matter, I might give him the time of day and hear him out. As it is, so much of the narrative of police brutality against blacks that Kaepernick is repeating just isn’t true (and is a more complex issue than he says), and I only have so much patience to listen to lies get repeated.
From what I hear, the puppetmaster behind Kaepernick’s activism is the woman he’s been dating, a Bay area radio DJ named Nessa Diab, who also happens to be a Muslim and BLM activist. That may explain why Kaepernick’s Twitter feed has suddenly filled with quotes from Nation of Islam founder Malcolm X, Black Panther leader Huey Newton, and political rapper Talib Kwelli.
I think the real concern for Kaepernick, who claims to be Christian, is not his political ignorance, but that he’s got himself involved with a Delilah who is pulling his strings. The Philistines are upon you, Colin.
4. Fantasy Football
Oh, where to begin with fantasy football…
Let’s look at the operative word in fantasy football: “Fantasy”, as in, “the pretend world that nerds live in in their head, and occasionally invite other nerd friends to come play pretend in, too.” Fantasy football is basically “Dungeons and Dragons” for football fans, except that instead of players sitting in a basement getting excited about how Morthas, the warlock, slayed Athain, the Half-Elf, with his halberd, they sit in the basement and geek out about how many catches Gronkowski has against the Tampa Bay secondary. Nerds, the whole lot of them.
And do I even need to say anything about fantasy football’s responsibility for the upsurge in gambling websites here in America? Do you think that’s a good thing? Nerds trying to win money from other nerds? Now I understand what Thoreau was talking about when he wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” He meant that they were playing fantasy football. If you don’t know who Thoreau is, well, what can I tell you? You can trade him for Emerson at the library.