Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On Several Things I Pondered Over The Thanksgiving Respite

1. I understand why the question must be asked, but I'd like to think there's a dividing line between those of us who temper our irrational affinity for sports with a certain amount of perspective and sanity, and those who actually believe laughing in the midst of defeat is some sort of capital offense, and are probably the same the people who bother to phone death threats to college sports bureaucrats, and are in danger of some kind of grand, Buffalo 66/Big Fan-esque spiral of humiliation and ignominy.

2. Which brings me to Boise State, and the worst column I've ever written. I was in college, of course, and Penn State's kicker missed a field goal to lose a game. I cannot remember the game, and I cannot remember the circumstances, but for some reason, this inflamed my sense of righteous indignation to the point that I ended my column with the emphatic declaration: "Leave (said kicker) alone." A few days later, I was at a fraternity party when some girls recognized me from my photo. "You wrote that column about (said kicker)?" they asked, and when I nodded in the affirmative, they giggled and walked off. And so went my first lesson in the dangers of overt self-righteousness; that column was the first of many missed attempts in my career. Which is why I am glad I fell asleep before the end of that Boise State game, because there is nothing more demonstrably more painful in sports than a kicker failing in a clutch situation; it is a nightmare come to life. It is us standing in our underwear. It is us forgetting our lines. It is a scenario that makes for great literature, of course--and I suppose there's a bit of irony in the fact that I shanked my first attempt at capturing those emotions in such a major way. I still wish I could take it back, that I could have tempered my thoughts in a more elegant manner, but I can't. I'm sure, at some minute level, Kyle Brotzman feels the same way.

3. It is amusing how everyone tacitly acknowledges that the NBA regular season is essentially meaningless until March/April, but the Heat appear to be dead in the water after eighteen games.

4. Just when I thought narrative journalism, I returned from frigid New England to read this excellent piece on Laura Hillenbrand, and this outstanding piece by Chris Jones on Randy Quaid, and this edifying two-part interview with magazine writer extroardinaire Michael Paterniti, who published this ridiculously good Thurman Munson profile a few days after I'd published my own Thurman Munson profile in the Akron Beacon Journal Sunday Magazine, which even now serves as a humbling reminder that I'm not too far removed from being the clumsy bozo who wrote all those terrible columns in college.


Chris Bowyer said...

I don't think the laughing should be taken as some sort of terrible affront, or an indication that Anderson wasn't taking the game seriously...

...HOWEVER, asking him why he laughed strikes me as pretty reasonable, and his response was ludicrous. It was a small story before he flipped out and basically disregarded any conception of logic. The reporter simply asked what the "context" of the laughter was, to which he sort of implied he didn't laugh. The reporter simply asked again, and he lashed out.

This whole thing would be done with, I expect, if he'd given one of the eminently plausible explanations we can all come up with on our end, like "he said something funny and it broke the tension" or "I've got great teammates who can pick me up even when I'm having a bad game." He could have given lots of explanations, both good and bad, and even the bad ones would've been better than watching him try to pretend it didn't happen.

I hate it when the media plays "gotcha," but I'm not sure that's what was happening here. But I hate people who can't (or won't) respond in a logical manner to the question that was asked a lot more.

Chris Bowyer said...

Oh, sorry, this is "WarningTrack" -- I updated my account information. Just, uh, FYI.

Michael Weinreb said...

That is a fair point, Chris/Track. I think my point was simply that there is a large cadre of overzealous bozos who would have condemned Anderson even if he HAD handled the situation in a rational manner.