09 April 2008

Why I love Sports Talk Radio

Lately it has come to my attention that I have no idea how often I talk about certain things, or do not talk about certain things. This leads to me being surprised over and over again in the following ways:

Scenario 1: "WHAT?! How did you know that I am all about _________________ (fill in the blank with whatever thing I love)? Seriously? When did I tell you about that?"

Scenario 2: "WHAT?! You don't know that I am all about ________________ (fill in the blank with whatever thing I love)? Seriously? I have never told you about that?"

I have no sense of what people know about me and what they don't know.

So, I don't know if many of you know this, but I freakin' love sports talk radio. There are various reasons for this. One of them is that, in very general terms, I hate sports, but I like knowing something about them. Another reason is that, as Mikey J has helped me understand, the fact that I have no dog in any sports-related fight means that I can enjoy sports talk radio on a level of pure entertainment. It is particularly entertaining to me because (as you may or may not know), I love dudes. And sports talk radio is filled with dudes having an almost exclusively dude-oriented conversation that I can totally listen in on. Finally, I love the rhetoric of sports talk radio, which you may know if you have ever heard me talk about Jim Rome (who I love above over all other sports guys. Which is something I also have in common with Jim Rome, who loves his own show much more than he actually loves sports and certainly more than he loves all other sports guys).

The language--the lingo--of sports talk radio is what keeps me coming back though. Rarely in the world do I hear more TRUE statements than I hear come out of the mouths of sports guys. Consider:

One of the greatest bonding moments that occurred last year when I was traveling with my youngest brother (who does not like to be named by name in my blogs) from Portland to Austin happened while we were listening to ESPN radio. The topic was the Super Bowl and we were in that weird 2 week time period between the time when we all know who will be playing, and when the game actually gets played. This is my least favorite time in the sports talk radio calendar, because there is, essentially, no news. So guys just jaw over the same questions over and over again until you think, "Just play the g--damn game already!" because you are so sick of the speculation about whether Peyton Manning needs a Super Bowl ring and how he is going to act if he doesn't get it (which WAS the conversation about that Super Bowl). YAWN. Anyway. That is what the conversation was about, and then we heard the greatest thing that either one of us had ever heard before. Two guys are having this totally boring conversation and then one of them dismisses ALL speculation about the strategy and playbooks and everything else by uttering the following:

"Well, you know, this all probably doesn't really matter. Cuz what it comes down to is that football isn't about the Xs and the Os--it's about the Willies and the Joes."

This statement is so awesome on so many fronts that I don't even know how to begin to parse it for you. But if you read it, and you intuitively KNOW why it is awesome, then you get it. And if you need me to parse it, well, you probably won't ever get it. It was all that Blake and I could talk about for the next several hours.

My second example comes from just about a month ago. It was the Friday before St. Patrick's Day, and I was listening to Dan Patrick's show. I don't love Dan Patrick, necessarily. But he was talking about some college basketball player and how much he didn't like the guy. His reason? "He seems like a total Eddie Haskell. I mean, he is all about the fake hustle. [Long Pause] And I hate fake hustle."

As Patrick went on to discuss what he meant by fake hustle (a discussion that I didn't need--as I knew EXACTLY what he meant), I felt like I had been hit by a freaking lightening bolt. Dan Patrick had uttered a truism that I have FELT all my life, but that I had never been able to fit into such a compact and pithy linguistic package. I DO hate fake hustle. I hate it when students try to cover up the fact that they aren't keeping up with the work by acting SUPER interested in everything that happens in class. Or c0-workers who up their game when there is a boss around. Or basketball players who dive on a ball that is going out-of-bounds when they know that it won't make a damn bit of difference. It's all about the effect. It is spectacle. Ass-kissing spectacle. Love me, because I hustle, these people seem to say.

Dan Patrick, I hate fake hustle too.

Now we're all on the same page. I love sports talk radio. I hate fake hustle. I like listening in to dude's conversations, particularly when I don't care about the topic. And I like knowing what other people do know about me and don't know about me--although I am not particularly good at figuring it out.

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