When I talk to people about sports, I frequently get bored quickly at how unimaginatively everyone seems to discuss them. Most discussions are either rote exercises in fantasy general managership (What the Yankees need to do to get under the cap next season is…), or wild-eyed (and boring) speculation about questions with no answers that only asshole sports show hosts ask because they have four endless hours of airtime to fill every day (Is Tom Brady truly an elite quarterback, or is he a product of the Belichick system?).
Christ, who gives a shit?
I like reading analysis well enough, but only if it enhances my understanding of the game. That’s why I’ve grown to adore the NBA writing of Zach Lowe on Grantland. His insight actually provides insight into the way the game is played and why, which, by extension, increases my enjoyment. I’m all in on Zach Lowe. Figuring out who would win between the ’96 Bulls and ’13 Heat, like some fucking Skip Bayless/Stephen A. Smith shouting match is an exercise in masturbation without the payoff.
I say, enjoy your team, enjoy your sport, and, failing that, figure out who looks funniest in their uniforms. I nominate these three athlete types.
1. Hockey Goalie
That’s Mikka Kiprusoff, but this isn’t about him. I chose that photo totally arbitrarily. I was at an Avalanche game recently and I found myself staring at the goalie. Look at all that shit he has to wear. He looks like a toddler who gets bundled up by an overprotective mother when he wants to play in the snow. I expect goalies to get out on the ice and then declare, “I have to go the bathroom now.”
No other position in any other sport has to wear that much shit. And it’s sort of unfortunate that he looks like such a fool because hockey players by and large look badass. No teeth, fucked up noses, huge tree trunk legs, mullets. They’re men who hit each other for fun and whack at each other with sticks. They’re nimble and violent. They punch each other, but they glide. They’re elegant gladiators with gnarly grills.
Then down at the other end of the ice is their teammate…
The guy who’s dressed like he pretends to try and mug women so they can practice their self-defense skills while screaming “NO!” at him repeatedly.
The guy in the suit who gets to run away and then get tackled by police K-9 units and get their arms gnawed on.
This poor bastard looks idiotic.
2. Baseball Manager
Always good for a laugh, especially if your manager is old and fat. Like Charlie Manuel up there, for instance. He’s approximately 130 years old, yet he still gets to dress in the exact same outfit as his hot shit, 26 year-old outfield prospect Domonic Brown. How does that make any sense? Imagine if George Karl was dressed exactly like Ty Lawson. If that happened, this contest would be over because that’s just about the funniest thing anyone could ever picture. Add the headband, and you’ll laugh for hours.
I know you’re thinking this is a holdover from the days when a manager could insert himself into the game, if necessary, but that hasn’t been allowed for decades, so let’s stop fooling ourselves. Besides, even if a manager could do this, what good would Charlie Manuel be in there anyway? He looks like his knees could go at any moment while he’s making a simple pitching change. You’re telling me he could track a fly ball?
Although, if this is the rule for baseball, I vote we make it a rule across all sports. Andy Reid has to wear pads and have his own jersey number. George Karl in the tanktop and headband. Joe Sacco wearing goalie gear so he looks as stupid as his coaching style. And best of all, Bela Karolyi in a leotard just like the rest of his teenage slaves who make America proud every four years.
3. Tall White Center in the NBA
When I was 11, I saw the Denver Nuggets play the Utah Jazz. Mark Eaton (pictured here) was the scariest person I had ever seen in real life up to that point. Tall black guys, for whatever reason, are easier to reconcile in your mind than tall white guys. They just look more… I don’t know… comfortable in it somehow.
Who looks more ridiculous – David Robinson or Shawn Bradley (pictured above, clearly auditioning for his role as a MonSTAR in Space Jam)? Shaq or Gheorghe Muresan? Manute Bol or… you know what, Manute Bol is the exception. That was guy was impossible looking, thus hilarious.
But when it comes to the tall white guy – Danny Schayes, Chris Kaman, Luc Longley, whoever, they all make me chuckle like I’m high just by looking at them. And I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because their shorts never look like they fit right. Or maybe because they’re always pasty as fuck, which when that much real estate is covered by that much blindingly fluorescent skin, your retinas are so shocked by the sensory overload, the neurological response can only register as laughter.
Or most likely, if you’re tall, at least do one thing right and get a decent haircut. And not one of those guys listed above had a decent haircut. What’s even more remarkable is their hair all sucked in totally different ways from each other. How can that be?
Whatever the case, here’s to anyone who looks goofy in the profession they’re paid millions of dollars to do. You’re inspiration to the rest of us who are just plain goofy looking.