I remember once throwing my remote control towards my television at a very high velocity. It hit the corner of the set and deflected into the wall, exploding into little bits of electronic circuitry and slivers of plastic. Batteries were strewn across the room and slowly the realizations of my actions seeped in...
It was NOT the inanimate object's fault I was mad!
It wasn't the television's fault, it wasn't the remote's fault, it was my aim's fault for missing the intended target but it never needed to happen in the first place. Poor universal remote. (I smashed the original remote well before this incident)
I was - in reality - mad at myself. I demonstrated poor self-control in attacking what essentially was a near, dear family member, our beloved Television. With its warm, glowing, warming glow and it's ability to purvey almost live sporting events into my very own living room WITH expressed written consent, I couldn't believe I was driven to the point of destroying modern technology over the blind, raging wrath of a frustrated caveman.
And what triggered this anger? What event caused me to nearly commit boobtubicide?
I couldn't stand hearing the words coming from the TV. "Blah-blah-blah"
It wasn't that the words incited me to anger. It was that the words were of such ignorance and stupidity they were directly insulting me. They were coming non-stop and putting me on tilt. Phrase after phrase - so ridiculous and blatently dumbed-down, I could not believe that this voice was uttering such inanities!
I started feeling protective of my brain. I didn't want this garbage penetrating my knowledge base. If it were to stupify me, what was it doing to young impressionable sports fans, casual/fashionable sports fans and people watching a nationally televised event for the first time?
The minds of these blossoming fans were being subconsciously formed by this bozo with a microphone in front of his prominent voice. My own intelligence was under assault. His opinions were being positioned as fact. His theories were being assumed as truth and I knew many, many people were not taking the time to listen carefully and realize he was full of unadulterated male bovine feces.
It took smashing my Laziness Accelerator and nearly executing my second favorite "Box" in the house to understand a teeny, simple concept.
They weren't talking to ME
These idiots literally were talking to other idiots. You know, people that were willing to listen to them!
Under the swoon of the event and my ever-driving need for more input, I was valuing the words of this schmuck more than my own understanding. FOX, ESPN, CBS - these are major networks whose business is primarily to make money from disseminating live sports events and profiting from the breaks in the action through advertising. These networks do NOT care to educate the consumers of the advertiser's products.
Let's face it - a truly educated, dedicated fan doesn't need to buy merchandise and sponsored products to enjoy a sports event to their fullest. They only need to observe the event and melt into it, becoming one with the love of the action - the thrill of victory, and yes, the tumbling, twisting agony of defeat.
I know all about the sports I watch and enjoy – and to the partial dismay when other people are watching with me, I usually talk over these events; often pointing out things before the play-by-play guy does - the same sports the majority of these talking bobbleheads try to talk over and ruin.
Partial Truth, Lies and Lies accepted as Truth
Look, a severe majority of so-called "Sports fans" are full of offal and effluvium and their Sports IQ is usually far below what they try to emulate in public. Go to any random sports bar and listen to the conversations sometime (a separate article in it's own right). A severe majority of people who watch national sporting events watch ONLY nationally televised sporting events. Fewer play sports and fewer yet understand their sports fully.
Let's put this in perspective:
Let's say it's an average night in April. Baseball, Basketball and Hockey schedules are all full and every game is a sell out - that's 45 stadiums FILLED with people. We'll be generous and say all the 15 baseball stadiums hosting games on this average April day are 50,000 seats and each of the 30 hockey and basketball arenas are 20,000 capacity.
So on this day 1,350,000 fans will see a live sporting event.
- That's slightly more than one share of a Nielsen's rating...
- That's slightly more than the daily circulation (that's non-Sunday) of the New York Times.
- That's slightly more than the population of Hawaii.
All of the fans at all of the games in all of these theoretically full stadiums is a scratch on the surface to the number of people that are impacted by the voice of one moron on any given day. It's scary when you think about it...
There are FAR more people obtaining their sports knowledge from secondary and tertiary sources than ever before. And few of these outlets care about if their information is accurate or even justifiable, as long as it sells.
Far too rarely does a media outlet retract statements, misquoted sources or ill-represented opinions. And even rarer is the person that will see ANY of those retractions. Sure, everyone deserves their opinion, but do we, the public deserve to be dumb enough to listen to, accept or promote all of these opinions without question?
The heart of the matter
There is much more subfact, myth and conjecture being spread around the world than useful information. It's not just Tim McCarver, Jay Mariotti, Colin Cowherd or Skip Bayless doing it. It's not just haters and trolls and liars and braggards. It's professionals at the top of their chosen professions, it's experienced veterans of the games they cover in voice and print, it's people who should know better but are too distracted with their own "important" matters to do anything about it.
The Problem? It's people.
"A person can be smart, but people are always dumb." - Manny Stiles
People don't think for themselves anymore and people DON'T WANT TO think for themselves anymore. And who am I to try to fight it?
And here I was getting upset about it!!! Sure, I care for the general population. I don't want to live in a country full of dummies reading books for dummies. I want sports fans to understand the difference between being hypnotized, trendified or fashionalized into fandom and actually loving the game.
Maybe it's bigger than me. Maybe bitching about Tim McCarver saying stupid things makes me a bitch and more stupider? Maybe insinuating Jay Mariotti is a F'cktard makes me a F'cktard? Maybe dialing my phone to explain to Colin Cowherd how he is an idiot makes me an idiot? Maybe having to choose between Skip Bayless and Stephen A in an argument is absolutely pointless no matter what?
These guys are doing this to STIR up conversation; To crowd the water coolers and break rooms with their drivel. Their job is to CAUSE a REACTION. How many fights, altercations and arguments have started over the words of these fools?
Their job is not to educate and passify anyone. Their job is to mobilize the opinions of the masses and to chum the current of Sports fandom. They are playing on human sentiment, emotion and lack of discretion to ply the wares of the media conglomerate's financial supporters.
There's a reason they are doing what they are doing. It sells (after all, that's why they get paid, too).
And I have learned to embrace and love them for it - they just aren't talking to me. They aren't talking to people whom they might benefit. They are talking to the people who are benefitting THEM.
Be fickle, know when and whom to listen to. Bitching about controversial voices empowers them and weakens you! Getting angry at morons on TV only costs YOUR wallet the replacement of inanimate objects, a repair bill or worse.
If I'm watching a sporting event I know little about (not curling or noodling, but more like F1 racing, cricket or snooker) I will passively ingest everything the announcer says, gathering hints, tips and clues without having reason to doubt or question their knowledge. Somewhere there's somebody throwing a remote at their TV over the same broadcast, I'm sure!
The aftermath of the broken remote
I felt remorse and the sadness of loss as I picked up those chards of a former universal remote. The funny thing about it - when the impact happened, the channel was changed! Fittingly enough, I suppose. But now I had to manually change the channels - which included more effort than I really wanted to engage in. I started to push the button much like I did in the early 80's before my family advanced into the modern television age.
On my manual travels through the channels, I came across the exact same sporting event on a Spanish-speaking channel and suddenly, I began to enjoy the game again thoroughly. I could hear the crowd noise and get a better feel for the event. Even if the Spanish speaking announcer was twice the idiot of any English speaking announcer, I was satisfied.
He wasn't talking to me!