Here in This Space, I like to occasionally fantasize about a country that isn’t completely out of its mind for Sports. It’s blazingly obvious by now that America has gone way beyond healthy escapism with its constant fetishizing of athletic bullshit, constant pedastalizing of sports “heroes” (truly an inspiration, a man who specializes in beating other humans into bloody unconscious pulps), and constant messaging of the “importance” of winning titles. (There is very little that is less important in the Scheme of Things than cities’ sports titles.) As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “Sometimes I wonder if we’d have flying cars by now had civilization spent a little less brain energy contemplating football.” No shit. We have adult men on the teevee now making six figure salaries analyzing zone defenses in football, and guys making big dough as basketball bracketologists. (When your youngster goes to his/her next job fair, tell him/her to find out which schools have the best bracketology programs.)
OK, with that snarky blast now in play, I must also acknowledge, as a lifelong sports fan who’s admittedly spent way too much time watching games I cared way too much about, this last year was undoubtedly the greatest goddamn year in the history of American ball sports, mainly because no less than the last five championship games/series of our five favorite sports turned out to be not just loaded with legit action, but compelling human stories tinged with history and throbbing with drama. Every stinkin’ one!
It all began last April, when Villanova beat North Carolina in a stunning championship game to conclude 2016’s March Madness. Then, the drama revved up a notch in June when the Cavs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Warriors for Cleveland’s first ever NBA title (a disastrous downer that totally sucked, but I can’t deny its dramatic finish and its historical stink). Then, in November, baseball fans witnessed an Epic World Series between two perennial, lovable losers, which climaxed in an Epic Game 7 that gave us a genuine OMG The Cubs Actually Won The World Series moment after a torturous 108 year bout of ineptitude. Finally, January whipped up not one but two stupendous football championships, as first Clemson and Alabama faced off in a terrific football contest, ending with a Tiger touchdown on the last bleeping play of the bleeping game, and then that was followed by that extraordinary comeback choke job Super Bowl with the Patriots and Falcons, and by now, I’m ready to tip my hat and let the kudos fly. Are we not entertained?