I know I write on a blog that knocks its boots to a tune of crass humor, dick jokes and calling Buffalo media members all sorts of defamatory names (except those names are all true, hence no defamation! ZING), but man oh man even I draw the line somewhere. Like, for instance, terrible puns that make light of real world shitty things. The kinds of puns that you find on the front or back pages of the New York "we're owned by a criminal wiretapping parent corporation and have absolutely no standards when it comes to integrity, law, morals, ethics, hygiene (see Brooks, Larry) or credibility" Post. The kinds of puns that make reasonable-thinking people cringe at the poor humor of it, not to mention that complete lack of sensitivity to the personal impact that some news stories can have on the subjects of said stories.
Like, for instance, the pun used in a screen graphic by Jonah Javad, a WGRZ sports anchor, to describe the latest news about Mario Williams' alleged struggles with suicidal thoughts and pills.
Listen, I get that this story started with news of Williams' engagement being broken off by his ex-fiancee, and that Williams was suing her for return of the ring, and that hahahahaha that's so funny because basically no millionaire athlete is ever supposed to exercise his legal rights when it comes to money because FUCK HIM HE'S RICH. TMZ had a laugh at it, I got into a spat with one of Bomani Jones' twitter followers
over the legality of conditional gifts like engagement rings and the whole thing seemed a pretty silly thing generally.
Then Mario's ex comes out with details about how he had said she could keep the ring and how the lawsuit was meant to harass her, so she counter-claims in the lawsuit and we all scratch our heads about "oh man, Mario may be an idiot lulzzzzz." But then, unexpectedly, she mentions the text messages, and the depression, and how he was talking suicide and pills and suddenly the shit isn't at all funny anymore. It's entirely too real, too serious to be funny.
And then, shortly thereafter, as if he was reporting on a last second touchdown or a player being cut or a coach being hired, Jonah Javad decides that a motherfucking pun is a good idea.
Not only are puns stupid about 80% of the time even when they're about meaningless shit like hockey games (I'm looking at you NHL dot com
), but they're downright callous when they're used to talk about real shit.
I get that, as you see above, Mr. Javad has gone on twitter to issue apologies about his intent and how he didn't mean to make light of Williams' drug use, but that he meant stupor as in "dazed." But, wait... So, in other words, Javad wasn't poking fun - because that's what a pun does, after all; if pokes fun - at the alleged use of pills, he was poking fun at Williams' more general mental state. He wasn't making a joke about, perhaps, an attempt at suicide, but really just at the depression - the daze, I guess - that led to the attempt?
Cool, because that totally doesn't contribute to the outstandingly unfair and prejudicial way that we think about mental illness in our society.
I absolutely understand that the sports media in this country, and in particular my beloved hometown, is more often than not ill-equipped to deal with the complex issues surrounding mental hygiene, particularly where the ideal of American athletes is centered on mental fortitude and any deficiencies therein are signs only of weakness. Which is why, when reporting - as they should - on the inevitable instances where the issues of mental illness and sport overlap (increasingly so with the traumatic brain injuries prevalent in football), the same bullshit shtick that can work for sports suddenly does not work anymore.
As many explanations and apologies as Mr. Javad wants to throw out, fine. I don't doubt he's an incredibly decent guy. But this shit is really inexcusable. It has to be better than this.
Oh, spring. The time of year when I have already given up on baseball except on the days when my team's improbable Cy Young candidate is pitching; when the Sabres have, not so improbably, retired for the off-season; when sports are a simple backdrop to thoughts of day drinking in the sun and cutting out of work as often as possible.
For the next three months or so, soccer will really be the only sport I care about, and that's just fine with me. While the Buffalo Bills tempt us into a familiar land of hopes and dreams, I'll be in the corner enjoying a sport that hasn't yet beaten me into submission with annual kicks to the nuts.
/looks at prior Liverpool season results
/kicks self in aforementioned nuts as penance for blatant lie
Of course, paying any attention to this sport flies in the face of certain opinions set forth by certain creepy sports journalists in Tuffalo
, but I think it goes without saying that Mike Harrington is simply out of his element when he tries to talk about anything that doesn't fall within the following categories:
- the availability of Terry Pegula for sarcastic, caustic interviews;
- the quickest way to climb a tree outside an unsuspecting woman's window;
- tying knots;
- the best proportion of Miracle Whip and Fritos to put on a bologna sandwich;
- the fragrance of a minor league baseball locker room;
- buying bulk candy;
- Jerry Sullivan's jock; and
- LOL ROFL Doh! Thanx
So, when it comes to soccer, don't worry about this knuckledragger's opinion. When he hears "The Beautiful Game," his mind instantly shifts to family reunion Twister. He's gross.
On to the #Hot #Sports #Takes!!!
Our Buffalo Sabres announced that Ron Rolston will be staying on as head coach today. You can hate this move. You can wish the team went another way. You can kick and scream and wish for something better. But you can't for a second believe you know what the fuck you're talking about.
We are fans and,. by definition, amateurs.
I don't care that you study the game and used to play hockey and think that fucking matters. I don't care that you trust the unsourced quotes from other "NHL GMs" that Sully and Bucky like to shove in our faces more than you trust Darcy Regier. You may be a plenty smart, reasonable individual, but YOU DON'T KNOW SHIT.
Neither do I, for the record.
This was ruminating for a while, as the BroneCast regulars Jeff (@Jambrones) and Jon (@Boner_Shorts) had been discussing their mutual love of musicals with me for a while .... a love I, of course, dorkily share. So, since the guys had successfully started a music podcast it made sense to devote and episode to this genre sooner or later.
And then Jason Collins came out and we made the potentially offensive and easy leap to "hey let's get on that showtunes episode to celebrate the gay guy!!"
The Bone Man, aka Jon, picked a couple of beauties this week: "You Have to Be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific
and "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel
. Quite the pair of great Rodgers & Hammerstein tunes, replete with great inspirational messages to pay seems-like-snark-but-is-really-genuine tribute to Mr. Collins and all people who have struggled to publicly come out as their true selves.
, stream below in the player, subscribe on itunes below (will have this ep soon) or hit the RSS feed here
Super big wieners.
super bigger huge wieners
God help me for bothering to do this today. Pretty sure it's that asshole Dan Sterlace's fault, but whatever. I'm in too deep now.
Today, unless you're a Sabres fan living under a rock that doesn't allow for decent wifi, you know there was a press conference with Ted Black and Darcy Regier. Awesome! I seem to remember they didn't have one of those last year! I bet those pros over at the Buffalo News were so excited and put on their nicest Burger King pants for the occasion. I bet they even decided not to be their usual turd burgling selves and act like adults for once.
Oh mannnnnnnn, was this a terrible shit show. Everyone walked away from this looking like a terrible human being - Darcy, Mike Harrington, Jerry Sullivan, Paul Hamilton (though to be fair he waddled away looking like a walrus with terrible grammar, as per usual), Ted Black, some asshole from Channel 2 named Scott Brown and one or two guys named John, one whom I can only assume was Jon Vogl and the other who I learned was John Wawrow. Of course, the key players of Rusty Tromboning were to be expected, but fuck. The dipshittery was flying from every direction. Pretty sure I've interviewed inmates on Rikers facing murder charges evince more of a commitment to civility than I saw on display.
Oh, and they also talked about the terrible hockey team we inexplicably love. Good times.
What's the solution? Oh, I'm going to FJM this motherfucker. It's the only way we get right again.
HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Did that seriously happen?
When I went to bed last night, I still hadn't really grasped it, and today I'm faring no better. Luis Suarez, the Premier League's best goal scorer this season, fucking bit a dude. And to make it worse, this isn't even unusual behavior for him.
He has a history of this. As stupid about my sports as I am, I'm still not capable of processing this; of deciding what it means about the player, about my club, and about what I'm willing to accept as a sports fan.
When Pat Kaleta blows someone into the boards from behind, I can rationalize it because it's within the scope of hockey generally. It doesn't stray that far from the script of the sport. But when a guy bites someone - TWICE - my brain just can't handle it. I want to jump up and down in anger - surely that's what I'd be doing if the situation was reversed and a guy on my team got chomped - but the fan in me won't go there, perhaps unreasonably.
But, put another way - a way that looks for the results end of the sport, rather than the vague concepts of honor and sportsmanship - the fan in me is looking only to reason. Suarez, after all, is a gifted player. He's the biggest reason Liverpool have been competitive this year. He has a captain in Steven Gerrard - the kind of guy who graciously combines great skill and talent with great honor and sportsmanship - who calls him the third best player in the world.
What to value, then? The moral/ethical side of the game, or the results side of the game? Am I being callous if I value goals scored by an apparently bad and deeply troubled person? Am I being naive if I value the character of a man over his ability to achieve the basic purposes of the game itself?
Is he a brilliant player in spite of apparent sociopathic tendencies, or because of them?
After all, he did this terrible, bizarre, despicable thing... and then he scored an amazing equalizer in the dying moments of the match.
He is both terrible and tremendous. He is a mountain of talent and an abyss of apparent soullessness.
Should our response be to praise, to loathe, or to find a combination of the two and search for a deeper understanding of what it is we're seeing when he takes the pitch?
I'm clearly at a loss for how to answer these questions with any sort of certainty, but for the time being some answers are being chosen by others as the club has fined Suarez and announced that he will not be sold this summer, while the rest of the football world calls for his head on a stake.
And, as for Liverpool fans, we are left to debate what this all means for a Club that has valued the kind of honorable football Suarez shirks while also valuing the kind of beautiful football he so often creates.
AS IF YOU NEEDED ONE, AMIRITE??
I hate having to write this, but I'm a sucker for accuracy and specificity and setting the record straight when it's been sullied by knuckledragging journalists who couldn't care less about accuracy, professionalism or personal hygiene, and today was a perhaps overlooked adventure in misrepresentation in media and the willingness of fans to fall down a rabbit hole of obfuscation.
How's that for a fun potshotting intro? You're hooked! You're blissfully unaware I'm just a hack, basement-dwelling blogger!! Success!
The good (great) news is that this isn't a fan piece on booing. It's a fan piece on why the #WhiteVanBrigade has failed us, again.
Today... NEWSFLASH: RYAN MILLER AND RON ROLSTON CALL SABRES FANS ASSHOLES FOR BOOING; FANS RETORT BY CALLING THEM UNDERPERFORMING PUSSIES
It's probably more fun to just believe that our favorite players and our coach are talking directly to us after a game, giving unsolicited comments about the game we just watched. It's more fun to think of just those comments, and not the context of those comments when assessing a game story because, among many reasons, Paul Hamilton and Mike Harrington are both creepy and weird looking and who wants to think that they're part of the scenario. Hell, I can't be bothered to watch locker room interviews after a Sabres game anymore for fear of a walrus peeking out in the corner of the frame, voice recorder in hand, pastrami sandwich in pocket.
This is as belated as we've been in a while. Maybe the dad among us shouldn't promise to edit anymore, particularly on a noght of such heavy drinking. With esteemed Deeg colleague Monsieur Boner Shorts in town, things got weird.
I won't bother recapping it, except to say this was recorded the night of Tuesday, March 26th, in the midst of Sabres, Knicks, USMNT, Clippers/Mavs and shots of whiskey. Also, the Scizz was there, so if you love the soft tones of his Franklinville accent, make sure to join in the fun with a download.
or stream below if you want, whatever. Subscribe via the itunes link below, or via RSS at www.deargodwhyussports.libsyn.com/rss ... I think?
The Barrister and The Apologist
I don't even care that the title of this episode rips off 'Friends' - it's accurate. We're mean in this one. Well, really only with respect to certain creepy members of a certain local newspaper's sports staff.
Recorded during and after the Sabres' most recent game - a win?!?? - against the Maple Leaves of Toronto, we talk plenty about the Sabres, how sad we are about the lack of silver linings this season, and then whistfully predict the inevitable Cup run. Oh, and Joe from Buffalo Wins makes a cameo to talk about striking out with the smokeshow bartender at Gleason's, further adding to the list of things we'll make fun of him about when he returns to Twitter on Easter.
Musical additions by the way of Jefferson Airplane, Homeboy Sandman and Kasabian.
, or stream below in the media player. And if you haven't, subscribe to all of our "great" "podcasts" via RSS
or the iTunes button below. LIKE A BOSS.
[the camera slightly rises to reveal a set of rugged old tires and then an equally rugged sedan, formerly sleek and currently rusted. Inside the car are four friends, empty tall boys of Coors Light tucked on their sides. The car rolls to a stop as the driver hands a wad of bills to the parking lot attendant on his left. The camera is set on the car's rear as it rolls slowly forward into a parking spot and the four doors each open suddenly. The tall boys are replaced by fresher versions from the trunk. Music plays over the idle chatter, revealing a certain atmosphere of hope as the friends don blue and gold jerseys.]
[cut to a startled Dubs, waking from a deep slumber in the embrace of a leather recliner, pretzels strewn across his torso and a dried mix of saliva and a Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA crusted on the right corner of his mouth. The look of disappointment washes over his face as he realizes that it is 2013 and the dream... distant.]
This is where we're at, Sabres fans. Our best memories of this team are forgotten and unreachable on the ass end of a half decade of ongoing disappointments. The 2013 joy of watching with friends and keeping up with the team ... largely dissipated after a horrid first month or so of hockey. With a 1.8% chance of making the playoffs, that time when we love our hockey the most, we can barely recall why we ever loved this team so much in the first place, other than an unrelenting commitment to our hometown, despite its many faults. Hockey used to be at the forefront of how we imagined Buffalo could be - social, excited, optimistic, fun - but now we struggle, especially when we do it from afar, to think much of anything good about what our hometown could be when one of its formerly superior products has failed so miserably. A future of incessant losing for our beloved home appears to be written in the stars.
#BecauseItsBuffalo appears to be a matter of divine providence.
I have a hard time discerning where it is I would like to place the heap of blame that I have stored up for this team. We always need to blame someone, of course, and even the act of placing blame becomes a competitive venture as we seek out a moment of triumph to fill that empty place left by a losing hockey team. Golisano. Small market economics. Those dickhead Rigas bitches. The media. Darcy. Lindy. European divers. Lazy Vanek. Derek Roy's STDs. Game presentation. The lack of fan noise. We can choose as many as we want, really, so long as we're willing to argue about it.
And then, when we're tired of deciding where the buck must stop, we revert to arguing about what manner of hope for the team is most appropriate. Hope for failure with the expectation of draft picks and a more solid and speedy rebuild? Or hope for winning now, draft position be damned, so that we may get small moments of triumph presently and may, if just for a night, revel in victory and forget the sordid history of defeat? We call each other bandwagoners and idiots and fools and callous pricks, and we bemoan how much we miss a hockey team that wins with some predictable regularity.
What I really miss, though, is arriving together at a point in time where we fans can all feel hope for this team again. Where it wouldn't sound like a terrible idea to hop in a car and head to some out-of-town arena just to see our boys battle for 60 minutes, win or lose. Where we can argue about which team and which team's fans we hate, rather than which part of our own fan base we hate, since we're all united in a shared devotion to Buffalo hockey.
We have none of that, now, at least not for more than a couple of weeks at any given time in any given season. Instead, pessimism (rightly, probably) rules and we're left to argue about the post mortem before the season is officially, mathematically dead. We're left with a "rational" part of our fan base wishing for the team to tank while the "fun" part of our fan base - the part that chooses joy at watching a team succeed, if only fleetingly - rails against the idea of ever cheering for your team to fail. We're left with many fans fitting into both of those warring factions from time to time as each of us struggles to find a mindset in which supporting this team is palatable again.
I wish I had a way to wrap this up with words of wisdom or some reprimand for being the kind of petty, stupid fans we have become, but this isn't that post. This is the post where I simply observe, commiserate, and quietly hope for some spark to bring us back to that place about which I so often dream.