February, the slow season for sports

Feb 17, 2011

Last week my beloved television went POOF! It was seven years old, or 14 in sports writer years.  

So, what great sports events did I miss?

Well, I can’t be sure, of course, but I’m willing to bet… not much.

Sports writers complain about the dog-days of summer, when all we have to write about is tennis and Tiger and the Tigers – and, that’s about it. But there’s a lesser-known slow season for sports scribes, and it's called February.

College football has finally picked a champion, the super-hyped Super Bowl has finally blown over, and baseball is a solid six weeks away from opening day.

That leaves basketball and hockey.  

Both the NBA and the NHL are in the middle of their endless, 82-game seasons.  The players are so worn out, some nights they don’t even try to fake it.  Only the owners want this many games.  

That’s why I call this, “Highlight Season,” because the meaningless games are only good for generating meaningless highlights for ESPN.    

I recall when sports highlights were a big deal, and you’d wait for the 11 o’clock news to see them.

Now you can’t avoid them, and what used to be special has become downright boring.  

The worst highlights are baseball, basketball and golf, because I can tell you right now how every single one of those clips ends:

  • Ball goes over the fence
  • Ball goes in the hoop
  • Ball goes in the hole

No variety, no suspense.    

So once I see it’s time for hoops highlights, I can cover my eyes and play Carnac the Magnificent:

“Wait, wait -- Don’t tell me: The big guy jumped up in the air, and stuffed the ball in the hoop? Or, maybe, just maybe, the small guy shot the ball from half-court – and swished it!  Ohmygosh!”

Golf is even worse.

Once you see the backswing, you know the ball’s going in the hole. The only question is, how awkward will the geeky golfer look trying to high-five his caddy?

Answer: about as awkward as the Brady Bunch break-dancing.  Not pretty.

Baseball highlights are just plain strange.

We see the pitch, we see the swing -- and then they cut to a shot of a baseball dropping over a fence.  Is it the same ball?  Whose fence is that?  The events seem utterly unconnected.

During my hiatus, I suspect I’ve also missed a lot of ads, which are all the same, too. From years of watching games on TV, I’ve learned that opening a can of beer can make scantily clad women materialize out of mist, and when they do, they like you a lot -- for some reason.

I’ve also learned there’s some new product. Have you heard of this? – that can make a middle-aged man as randy as… well, the kind of guy who’d like scantily clad women to materialize out of mist, just by opening a can of beer.  

During games they advertise these pills every twelve seconds, until you can repeat the medical warnings verbatim.  But you have to admire any product whose possible side effects are the best reason to use it -- unlike just about every other prescription, which can give you headaches and diarrhea.  

And what’s up with the couple lying in the parallel bathtubs on some sunny hillside?
I’m no doctor, but I think I can figure out their problem, and it’s not pills.  
Who does that?  Ever?  

So, while my TV is broken, what am I missing?  Maybe not much.