You all knew it was coming.
The leaves are starting to melt from deep green to a pale yellow, and will soon complete the transformation by bleeding, dripping red onto the ground. The autumnal tone in nature has not been reflected by the weather, although that has not stopped me from purchasing several sweaters, sipping hot coffee in the morning, and contemplating breaking in my new rugged boots (and the giant gash on my ankle is proof that while it’s okay to break in said boots, maybe it’s not the best idea to use them during a massive errand run).
Yes, friends. The end of the summer is extremely nigh. And nothing foretells the end of the most glorious and sweaty of seasons than the annual rite of passage we have all undergone over the past three years. Around this time, we gather, in anxious droves, around our small or large televisions. Popcorn in hand, we await, eagerly, the decision that could either make or break the upcoming NFL season. Oh, what will the outcome be? We wait with baited breath.
Well, some of us. If you’re anything like me, this is what actually happens:
You sit in your living room, wolfing down some pizza, and scream at the TV set, “Brett Favre/Lebron James, GET OFF MY TV.”
This has been the summer that has caused me to despise a few professional sports players that I actually used to really like. That leads me to a Lebron rant. Allow me a few moments to spew.
Like all of us, I once knelt at the throne of King James and pronounced myself a definite “Witness”. I admired his commitment to the city of Cleveland and the state of Ohio, and told anyone who would stand still to hear it that Lebron would stay with the Cavaliers until he brought his home state a ring. I was stunned and a little sick when I found out that not only would he leave, but he would be bringing his ‘talents to South Beach’ (which is the most egotistical way to announce a trade). I don’t know what made me sicker, his announcement or his overgrown chin-beard. Dang, Lebron, you’ve got an entire hour dedicated to you on ESPN. Break out the Shick Quattro.
The thing that really annoyed me? He won’t be the star of that team. Dwayne Wade owns that franchise. He is the face of the Heat. I agree with Magic Johnson when he said “If I were Lebron James, I would want to be ‘The Guy’. In Cleveland, he was ‘The Guy.’ In Miami, he will never be ‘The Guy.'” And it makes sense. You think of Orlando, you think Dwight Howard. You think LA, you think Kobe (and if you’re me, you think Kobe and then get angry). You think Boston, you think Paul Pierce (or the Giant Shaqrock…but more on that later). But in Miami, who are you going to think of? Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron James? Lebron will never be The Guy who brings a championship to a city based solely on his superhuman efforts. When he tried in Cleveland, he fell through. And it wasn’t because his supporting players weren’t up to snuff. He choked, and choked big. And in Miami he will never have the chance to be the overwhelming force that he was all those years in Cleveland. I used to really like you Lebron, but after this summer, we’re done.
But none of this serious dislike for the deposed King James is nothing compared to the all-out hatred I feel for Brett Favre. Actually, hate is a strong word. But I would like to ban him from ESPN’s airwaves until at least 2015.
It has turned into an annual rite of passage, watching and waiting to see where Favre will go next. The first time he retired, he put on quite a show. I haven’t seen acting that bad since…well, Brett Favre in There’s Something About Mary. But I knew how much he meant to Green Bay, and I wished him well. Flash forward a few months later, and he’s back! And since this was the first time we had to deal with this nonsense, I again wished him well on the Jets and continued to root for the Steelers on their way to an amazing Super Bowl Victory (this was, too, before the whole Roethlisburger snafu).
But now, it’s turned into a soap opera not even worthy of the talking dolls and mysterious witches on Passions. And Brett doesn’t even have a midget familiar like Tabitha did on that show. And then he went off to the Vikings, the number one enemy of every Cheesehead. That’s just twisting the knife. That’s when my dislike of Favre turned into a Pavlovian response not unlike that on Friends when Phoebe dated the therapist (“I hate that guy!”). Whenever I hear the name “Brett Favre”, my nose immediately crinkles and my voice produces an “Ugh” sound.
Although I do appreciate the Wrangler commercial he made where he couldn’t make up his mind about what jeans to put on. At least he has a sense of humor about the chain he’s used to jerk his fans around for the last two years. I honestly think this will be the last time he plays pro football. It’s his 20th season. He can go out on a nice, rounded number, and his shoulder will last through another season. Or maybe that’s just me praying that we don’t have to go through this merry-go-round again.
The hilarious thing about all of this? I don’t really even like pro football all that much. I watch when the Eagles or the Giants are on, and I tailgate when I can because the atmosphere is fun and it’s an excuse to eat cheeseburgers before noon. And I’ve never liked the current style in the NBA of ‘stand there until someone dunks’. The only team playing real basketball, it seems, is the Celtics. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Celtics fan. But now I might even have to reconsider that stance.
Oh, Shaq. Really? Really? The Jolly Green Giant? The Shaqrock? The Boondock Shaq (Veritas/Aequitas!). The Pied Shaq of Hamlin? St. Shaqrick? I could go all day.
I was stunned when I found out the Celts were signing Shaquille. I believe I said to a friend on the day it was confirmed “He can barely walk and eat a Chalupa at the same time, he weighs 800 pounds, and he just got the crap kicked out of him by a welterweight on Shaq Vs. The only thing he brings to Boston is a guaranteed six fouls, and an extra thousand fans a game.”
That last part means everything. Kazaam brings the fans. He may not bring the heater. But he brings the seat count up.
Dad has said in interviews he would love to be an assistant coach on an NBA team. I don’t know how I’d feel about that. The thing I love about college basketball is the purity of it. When played well, it’s a beautiful game. I wish more teams played it well.
At least fall brings around one thing I can honestly look forward too, alongside the start of my grad school career. Basketball season, as well, is nigh…