There are times that sports make me scream (replacement refs). There are times that sports make me cry (the White Sox D`:). There are even times when I throw sports to the wayside (assorted business). Far more often, though, are the times when sports make me excitedly yell far louder than the neighbors appreciate. And do you know why? Because sports are the world’s best reality TV.
Whether any other reality TV can actually be seriously considered legitimately for the label “best” is someone else’s problem entirely. All I know is that sports are far crazier than anything Hollywood or its lesser cousins can come up with… and it’s all real. I’m talking 100% all natural, organic, unscripted, ad-lib, with no preservatives added unless you count the replacement refs.
Take for example my favorite team the White Sox (D`:). Any writer submitting a script about this year’s season would be laughed out of California. Coming into the season, we expected nothing. We had aging and cast-off core players, inconsistent pitching, low-powered offense, and a brand new coach. Then the team started winning. Then they held first place for a month and a half. Then all of a sudden, we realized that we had a three game lead with 15 games left. Then kaput. Sox Nation’s hopes were raised only to be dashed to the pavement like a rotten egg dropped from the top of the Sears Tower (D`:). That kind of heartrending melodrama is usually reserved for the very worst of reality TV or ancient Greek plays. It happened.
Example 2- why don’t we look at the remaining eight teams in the MLB playoffs? The SF Giants aren’t a surprise, nor are the Tigers or Yankees. The Cardinals weren’t considered playoff locks at the beginning of the season by any means, but neither are they a shock. Then you have the Reds, the Nationals, the A’s and… *cough* the Baltimore Orioles. There’s a good 10 teams in the league that are kicking themselves right now, wondering how they aren’t better than these guys (the White Sox, for example D`:). Just last year, these teams were 17, 21.5, 22, and 28 games behind their division leaders respectively.
… So basically we’re seeing four sports underdog movies wrapped into one season here? Yes.
Now look at football. In the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings are tied for first place at 4-1, while the Green Bay Packers lag behind at 2-3, only 15th in the league in scoring despite their huge collection of offensive weapons. In the NFC West, where the San Francisco 49ers were expected to run away with the division, all four teams are 3-2 or better with a positive point differential and within a game of first place. In the AFC East, the Patriots are in first place. No surprise. What is surprising is that they are only one game ahead of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins and have lost to the Arizona Cardinals.
The NBA may be gone from the casual fan’s mind, but the storylines are still intriguing to me. “Superteams” are forming left and right, the balance of power is shifting constantly, and I do not exaggerate when I say I think we could be heading for the first real golden age of basketball since Jordan rubbed shoulders with Bird, Magic, and Isaiah. Lebron James’ playoff woes are no longer the top story in the NBA, and so basketball is free to focus on more important things – the Lebron/KD rivalry (or is it friendship?), the Lebron/Kobe rivalry, the viability of Heat-style basketball (undersized, hyper-athletic, and top heavy), and the return of Derrick Rose to name only a few. Then, of course, there’s the question of whether these new “superteams” are going to usher in a golden age or kill the league’s popularity in the cities of increasingly irrelevant teams.
So, no, you can’t make this stuff up…. Well, actually I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood, but the results would be laughable. All of sports would be laughable if we didn’t know they were real (100% all natural, organic, unscripted, ad-lib, with no preservatives added unless you count… well, you remember). Fortunately, we do know. Now all we have to do is sit back and, as they say in Moneyball, “just enjoy the show”.