Touchdown! Oh, was that not the correct term to celebrate the tall man putting the ball through the hoop? My mistake. It’s just that I don’t watch sports and I want you to know that.
You’re probably wondering why I’m at this Buffalo Wild Wings on the night of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game if I don’t care for sports. Well, Maria’s husband, I am joining the wing-gorging plebes who masquerade by day as my co-workers in order to celebrate my inevitable victory in our office tournament pool. With the help of statistician Nate Silver, I was able to construct a nearly perfect bracket by combining his empirical data and my sophisticated intellect that has been unsullied by geographic and paternally-influenced biases. Let me be clear: I calculated said bracket with independent data not found on his ESPN-affiliated website, Five Thirty Eight. My correct choosing of every #12 upset of a #5 was in no way affected by the long corporate arms of The Walt Disney Company.
Despite my confidence, I still have one obstacle standing in my way of bracketorial conquest: Gary from HR. He is the balding ape-like cretin in the matching powder blue polo and hat. Have you figured out where Gary’s loyalties lay? It’s not too hard to determine as he’s turned himself into a walking billboard for a state-school education. Maria’s husband, would you mind moving your pint away from my side of the table? I didn’t donate $100 to This American Life for a Serial tote bag with the faint smell of Bud Light.
Why have the roaring cheers by the bar suddenly subsided? Ah, I see halftime is upon us. And what a surprise, the sports team I picked to win the title is in the lead over Gary’s sports team. Only 1,200 more clicks of the game clock until I take what’s mine: A $300 gift card to Barnes & Noble. I just felt a slight rush to the head thinking of my impending triumph. This must be what athletes refer to as “The Thrill of Victory.” And Gary will in turn soon understand the crushing “Agony of Defeat” when he is unable to waste his prize on the 2015 Garfield desk calendar.
At last, the second half begins! Within the hour, my focused assiduity will be liberated from the crude invention of Dr. James Naismith, giving me time to concentrate on more intellectually-stimulating pursuits. But don’t get me wrong, Maria’s husband, I am not wholly against athletics. Rather, my issue lies with team sports, those clandestine programs teaching our children the framework of chest-thumping American jingoism under the guise of “teamwork” and “perseverance.” Personally, I scoff at the notion of team sports. To keep my body as sharp as my mind, I run. It’s a solitary activity akin to writing poetry, but with the added bonus of allowing me to catch up on my podcasts. I’m particularly fond of educational shows that enrich my being with tidbits of knowledge while I lazily jog around the reservoir. For example, did you know that basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith?
Maria’s husband, why are all the tabled patrons of this Wild Wing eatery now standing around the television area? The match is tied with 4.8 seconds left, you say? Fine, I’ll watch the conclusion to this display of “amateur” athletics. Were you able to detect the sarcasm dripping off my pronunciation of the word amateur? I doubt it, given the institutionalized tradition in this country of profiting off unpaid black men. You see, rather than forcing students to read and debate the work of Camus in a public televised forum, these students’ potential brilliance is wasted on lobbing orange balls for Kia Motors and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. They are locked in a vicious cycle and can do nothing about being taken advantage of by those with power. This abuse is why my daughter Lauren was barred from AYSO leagues as a child. Sure, she pleaded and begged for me and my ex-wife to let her join her friends on the field, but we made sure sports didn’t get in the way of her receiving a well-rounded education in the arts. Tell me, what sounds more impressive to a job recruiter: A spot on the soccer team or Lauren’s 17 art gallery internships?
Hurry up, sports teams! Do what you need to do with the ball and let’s be done with it. I want to take my gift certificate and leave this house of boneless and boned alike for good. I simply don’t have the time when there’s a stack of Harper’s piling up in my den–HOLY SHIT, IT WENT IN! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! DID YOU SEE THAT? HE GOT CLEAR OFF THE SCREEN, BROKE THE SECOND DEFENDER’S ANKLES, AND FINISHED WITH A TEARDROP BUZZER-BEATER OFF THE GLASS! SUCK IT, GARY! WE DID IT! CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD! WE’RE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!
Pablo Goldstein is a writer from Los Angeles, CA.
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