It’s Thursday, readers. I hope you’re having a glorious one. Sports! Cleveland! Winning? Opinion and supporting factual information! Am I right? The Browns are continuing their top-secret covert disinformation campaign heading into the NFL Draft, the Indians are playing reasonably well to start the season (in Puerto Rico, no less), and despite a win on Wednesday, Cleveland fans are still waiting on the Non-LeBron Cavaliers to round into postseason form. While we’re waiting…
The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the midst of what has been an indelibly exciting playoff series with the Washington Capitals. The Blue Jackets lead the series 2-1, with the road team winning all three games and one goal deciding all three games in overtime. If you’re not familiar with hockey overtime, it’s the sporting equivalent of walking across a tightrope over a pit of crocodiles while holding a basket of hand grenades with the pins removed. With each step and every tilt toward one side of the tightrope, the game is never more than an inch away from catastrophe and annihilation. It’s agony. I’m more nervous for the hockey players in playoff overtime than I am for the sexually active teenagers in slasher horror movies.
Given that excitement, I really want to support the Columbus Blue Jackets. I’ve always yearned to have an NHL team worth supporting since I attended games of the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks when I was a child. But Cleveland never had the hockey team it deserved and the Blue Jackets didn’t exist until the year 2000, and then they spent most of that existence being bad. When I lived in Columbus for four years, I didn’t attend Blue Jackets games because I was poor, and my only hockey opinions were that Red Wings fans were pests because they grew up front-runners and would invade the Arena District in Columbus whenever they visited Columbus to play the Blue Jackets.1
But here’s the thing: that’s no excuse. I’ve been a lousy hockey fan. And now I have the temerity, nay the gall to be a Blue Jackets bandwagon-jumper and hockey fan? Just because I think it will be “fun” to root for a good hockey team in the frenzied, coked-up madness that is playoff hockey?
It doesn’t seem fair to let me be a Blue Jackets fan. I didn’t “earn it” in old-timer blue-collar rub-some-dirt-on-it sports-fan parlance. But it also doesn’t seem fair (or productive) to disqualify me from permanent hockey fandom just because I didn’t have enough loot to go to Blue Jackets game when I was a poor college student, or to penalize me for never having a hockey team in which to believe. I’ve been a loyal, devout fan in many other ways. But I’m not perfect. Who among us is?
We have all been bad fans, and we were all (depending on your existential view of creation and theory of original fan sin) born bad fans. We’ve ALL jumped on bandwagons, criticized good coaches, ranted about things outside our limited expertise, speculated wildly without knowing the facts, turned off games only to turn them back on when the team comes back, pouted when teams didn’t give maximum effort, left early to beat traffic, complained when players didn’t risk injury in a pointless regular season game, jeered someone for not being able to accomplish a nearly impossible athletic feat with a 100 percent success rate, taken metaphorical rhetorical dumps on great players who have given more in blood and tears to their teams than I would ever entertain giving for my employer, and we have ALL vowed at least once to never watch another Cleveland Browns game for as long as we shall live.
Let he or she whom is without sin shout the first boo.
In some religions, their belief system permits adherents to confess their wrongs in exchange for redemption, forgiveness, heaven tokens, or some other profound spiritual concept beyond my comprehension. For some of us, sports are the closest thing we have to religion. So, I feel it necessary to here confess some of my recent and past transgressions against sport, and plead forgiveness from deities, athletes, fans, readers, and the Nevada Gaming Commission alike. I would encourage readers to do the same, should their religious and sports belief systems permit. Let today be #ConfessYourSportsSins Day.2
Whew. That feels good, my friends. As you can see, I am both a bad fan and a bad person. Not only do I hope this confession cleanses my sports soul in areas I have done wrong, but I hope it restores my credibility in areas of sport in which I feel my fandom has merit. I would urge some local media members and Twitter personalities to confess things as well — for instance, fundamentally misunderstanding multiple sports and their basic, underlying concepts — so that we may finally forgive them. But alas, it is not my place to judge. Anyway, do I now have permission to jump on the Blue Jackets bandwagon?
The Calvin and Hobbes Strip of the Day. Ahh, panic, the great fuel powering any inspired creative moment.
And now for the random 90s song of the day. Unless you’ve taken insincere hipster superiority to its extremes, no 90s alt-rock discography is credible without some Pavement — unless you just have an exclusive preference for lead singer Stephen Malkmus’ other indie rock act, the Silver Jews. From the 1994 classic Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair” was probably the closest the band came to mainstream billboard success.
Which makes it fitting that “Cut Your Hair” is a critique of the music industry. What starts as a ridicule of a girl desiring a haircut to please a boy quickly pivots to a mockery of record industry demands to cut long hair to fetch attention. My favorite part of the music video is a tie between: 1. When drummer Steve West4 semi-curtsies over to an overturned coffee table to turn it upright; and 2. When the guy5 sneezes a cat. The lyric, “The second drummer drowned / His telephone is found” is supposedly a joke about drummer Bob Nastanovich turning silent without warning while talking on the phone in the bathtub while drunk. I used to think Malkmus was repeating “Korea” at the end of the song, comparing selling out to corporate music phoniness to a global diplomatic quagmire. I think he’s actually saying, “career.” Which makes more sense.
Music scene’s crazy
Bands start up each and every day
I saw another one just the other day
A special new band