Saturday, April 22, 2006

It is hard out here

Saturday Morning Caffeine Fueled Rant
The key to sports –from little girls playing soccer to the NFL - is keeping them a game, in other words, keeping them fun. Does that mean you don’t take it seriously? Hell no. The key thing to remember is that winning is much more fun than losing and that can take hard work because the other side wants to win too. There is a difference between hard work and labor. That is the problem with professional sports. Rarely is it a game, it’s usually just manual labor.

In the NBA and M.L.B. the seasons are too long so there is a basic survival need to treat games like a business. If you try and get up and excited and go full speed for 162 games of baseball, you are going to burn-out or get hurt. You want to talk about treating an entire season like a business? Look at the Los Angeles Lakers. They don’t even get a little excited until the playoffs. The playoffs are the first time the Lakers play it like it is a game.

Fans can afford to go crazy and live and die with each game, the players cannot. If you are the person who knows all the unwritten rules with the perfectly marked scorecard, bless your heart. You are also the person who insists on keeping score during bowling and I love you for that. I just ain’t that guy.

One of the best kept lies and secrets in the world is the number of people out there who truly love their job. Almost everybody says that they love their job but very few actually do. As I have stated before, there is a straight male porn star out there who, one day, woke up and said,

“If I have to get bl*wn by another beautiful woman I am going to go postal. I’m calling in sick.”

My point is, even if you are one of the chosen lucky few who really do love your job, there are days when you would much rather be sipping an umbrella drink while getting a massage and watching “Alf” reruns, not that there are any “Alf” reruns, gahdammit. That goes for Major League Baseball players.

At some point the sheer joy of knowing you have reached a lifelong dream and the buzz from the fancy clubhouses and the thrill of the chartered flights and the awe of first class hotel suites and the excited fans wears off and you have to get up and go to work. Whine about it and the press will jump so far up your tookus you will taste their styling gel. You’re being paid millions to play a sport most would play for free, right? True, but even they hate their jobs sometimes.

Since I have a new policy not to go a day without quoting them or referencing them, the Eagles have a line in “After the Thrill is Gone” and no, it isn’t the B.B. King “Thrill is Gone” version:

“What do you do when your dreams come true and it’s not quite like you planned?”

Glenn Frey said he knew it was time to quit being a member of a world famous band –what could be better than that, right? It combines being a pro athlete and a porno star - when Frey started to hate going to the studio more than he ever hated going to high school. Who cannot understand that? You have more money salted away then you could ever spend and you grow to despise what you do, if you don’t quit you are crazy.

Last night I saw the Chicago Cubs go from playing a game on a beautiful night in St. Louis to trudging out to go to work in one swing of Albert Pujols’s bat in the first inning.

What the hell? Even I, a guy who doesn’t know, nor does he want to know, a lot about the inside game of the strategy of baseball, that’s why they have announcers and color men, even I know that you do not let the other team’s star beat you. What the hell? A home run to Pujols in the first fricking inning? Sorry, fellow Cubbies fans, it is going to be one long ass season.

So now you ask, Lex, what do you feel about the NBA playoffs? To that I say, sorry, I drifted off to sleep between the B and the A. Could you repeat the question?

What I am trying to say – and believe or not, I am trying – is that I go goofy over sports stars, and rock stars and movie stars as much as anybody. The plain truth is, they are far from heroes, they are lucky stiffs who are paid a fortune to do the one thing on the planet they would do for free. And if, by some weird quirk, they do grow to hate what they do? They can quit the next day.

The real heroes are the millions of people out there who go to work every day even though they hate their jobs, but they still do their jobs and they do them well. Why? Because they are supporting their family and they are good people. Those are the people who rock stars, and the sports stars and movie stars are really performing for.

(Que: Five for Fighting “Superman.”)

(Polite applause)

Seriously, I have to start charging for these pearls.

All the good people here at a.l.B.b. would like to take a moment and wish happy birthday to that old boring broad, Queen Elizabeth. Talk about someone who isn’t a hero. So in her honor, as we are also honoring classic jokes, I would like to revive this classic.

Classic joke in honor of the Queen of England
An English version of “Password” debuted with a splash in England live on the BBC with no less a famous guest than Queen Elizabeth herself. The bad news? When it was time for the Queen to guess her word, the show’s computer was hacked and the word that appeared to the host - and the rest of the world - for the Queen to guess was, embarassingly, Horsec*ck.

The oblivious Queen began her questioning:

“Might it be something that one could put in their mouth?”

In a state of shock and not knowing what else to do, the stunned host replied;

“Well, um, yes, I suppose you could.”

The Queen ponders this with a Queenly rub of her chin and then asks;

“Might it be a horsec*ck?”