Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chad Johnson Is So Totally My Wacky Uncle

I've kept my mouth largely shut about Bill Simmons and all things Sports Guy, but then somebody brought the following recent quote of his to my attention:

Our favorite teams are extended families. There's no way you'd boo a family member at a Little League game, so why is it okay to boo someone on your favorite team?
Bill. BILL! Oh. Bill. This is coming straight at you from a person who has formed an emotional attachment... or two to professional athletes in her life, and who also, three years or so down the line, is fully prepared to heave first base Pinella-style at any person who dares to look even slightly askance at the athletic prowess of Jim the Small Child Nephew, but these people? Are not your family. They are ridiculously wealthy athletes, grown men who receive mostly-free college educations and who now shove, throw to, or run after other ridiculously wealthy athletes. Your family is your amazingly sexism-tolerating wife and your very young daughter, whom I dearly hope within a decade will look up at you with big eyes and pipsqueak questions about what a strip club is, and why you wrote about them so very, very much, and if she might work at one when she grows up because Daddy seems to enjoy them so immensely.

I just really, really doubt that if Tom Brady began drawing a check from, say, the Jaguars tomorrow, he would take a call from you and agree to take a few snaps for the Patriots next Sunday instead, just because you asked him to, and hey! Bill's family!

Booing, like tazing, happens, bro. You don't do it just because your team is losing or simply matched against a far superior squad. You reserve it only for when your team, which consists of people who are extremely well compensated for any momentary lapse in self-esteem, is all-out sucking, so that they know you expect better of them than to suck like this and are embarrassing you and you won't stand for it. I did it when Ron Powlus called his ninety millionth handoff at the top of a series when I was a senior, as I was a poli sci major and could see it coming, much less the defense who'd had the opportunity to study three years of offensive game film, and I mean "offensive" in every single connotation of the word here. (Side note: Ron--or Dammit,Ron! as he was affectionately known, there in the student section--is now Notre Dame's quarterback coach and for the past two years also served as the recruitment organizer, which explains A LOT.) And I booed when the NBC Commercial Time-Out Guy on the sidelines raised his unfortunate game-halting orange glove in the air, because he sucked also.

But I applauded the team as a whole after the game when the players came back to the student section and raised their gold helmets in the air, because, well, at least they didn't cheat that I knew of, Bill. Booing consistently piss-poor play doesn't mean you've forfeited your fandom. You do it because you care. You do it because your team isn't cowboying up. You spank your team because you love. And it is okay.

In other news, Central Florida carries on without me.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGARBAGE!! at: mbe@drinktothelasses


Starnarcosis said...

Interesting piece. I was brought up to believe that booing was only executed by yahoos. To this day I could not boo someone (and neither could my husband) without expecting a sharp reprimand from one of our parents. So I followed a couple of links on the history and origins of booing athletes, actors and opera singers.
Apparently heckling and booing is perfectly legit, at least if you're targeting professionals and they're messing up. Sort of the reverse of applauding. Not so much during peewee football and junior high soccer.

MB said...

Well, yeah, you should NEVER boo a kid (unless, of course, it's the obnoxiously unnecessary Olivia from "The Cosby Show".) But when you start getting into the arena of grown men who are receiving compensation for playing a sport, I think it's OK when they really, truly are sucking, as long as you aren't getting into Philly territory.

'Til 2012 said...

As your long-time reader who not only is one of the world's biggest Simmons fans, but also the only person on here who gets both the "Dammit Ron" and "BOOOOO! Gaabage! "[sic] references, I feel the need to put in my two cents.

The line you were quoted was more hyperbole than anything else. He views hometown booing as more counterproductive than anything else. Frankly, I agree.

"I believe a player should be booed by the home crowd for four reasons only: 1) a noticeable lack of effort, 2) an indefensibly dumb mistake, 3) if the coach keeps stupidly trotting him out in big spots (in which case the expressed displeasure is for the decision, not the player) and 4) if he happens to be named Tim Thomas or J.D. Drew," is what immediately preceeds the quote you used, and give a better indication for what Simmons was going for in the article. I agree with him, since at that point booing your guys becomes counterproductive. Losing already sucks if you are anything like a competitive person. There is no need for the peanut gallery to compound it since I doubt a struggling athlete needs more pressure to succeed if he or she is already lacking confidence.

So I think you actually agree with that strip club fan...


Johanna said...

What about booing ref's?

MB said...

But see, dear Flip, if he thought booing was in ANY way acceptable, he wouldn't have written that "you wouldn't boo your own family" and basically announce that booing your own people is bad. And comparing little kids playing baseball with pro athletes just doesn't make any sense at all. The strip club fan is contradicting himself, and I say: BOOOOOOOOGARBAGE.

Booing refs? Oh, yeah, if it's garbage call, you go ahead and boo the refs.

classickelly21 said...

Speaking as a Philly girl, I am all about Booing. Really, we even boo Santa here.

I personally would never boo little kids but there are also times I wouldn't be screaming with pride at the little ones either.

Sometimes the big professional athletes mess up, big time. They need to be told, so we boo them. I see it as a sort of tough love.

Anonymous said...

Get over yourself, 'til 2012, "Booooo! Gaaaabage!" is from "The Princess Bride".

MB said...

Technically, you are correct, anon, but the form 2012 is referring to takes on an extremely strong Jersey accent. It's a long hairy story.

Dan-the-soldier/brother-in-law said...

That's a big shark...12 foot...550 took 12 people and a truck to haul it in!!!

Anonymous said...

OH MY GAWD!!! I laughed for hours, the phrase was so damningly pointed--like a lethally poisoned arrow tip and so painfully accurate for how many of us women:
"your amazingly sexism-tolerating wife..."
Oh, the pain of it ! The inhumanity. When will it end????

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