Aaron Murray jumped around excitedly with his teammates as Zach Mettenberger’s last-ditch attempt to convert on 4th and 10 ended in an incompletion. Mettenberger looked over across the field dejected. There was a little less than a minute left on the clock; the game was all but over. Murray put his head gear on and headed out onto the field to execute the victory formation. Meanwhile, Mettenberger sat on the bench, staring into an endless sea of red shirts, dresses, and poms poms. He wanted a chance to play in Sanford again. He wanted a chance to beat his old team. Instead, he’d have to settle for watching Murray flip the helmet off of his head, flash a winning smile and embrace his coach.
As the clock wound down to 0:00, the score stood at 44-41 Georgia. It was over. And it was one of the best football games I have ever watched.
It’s been four months, I know, but we should go back over some groundwork together. As a reader of this experiment, good for you: You know your limits. You embrace hypothetical supercontests. You have time to read the legalese between EA Sports and the NCAA. You snagged Yeezus the hour after the hour it leaked to ensure you got a decent rip. You know Messi’s first name. You see baseball as a New York-everything else binary. You follow the important Tumblrs. You care about The Roots on Fallon. You get it.
There are, of course, things you don’t know or get. You don’t know about Rodan live in their prime, say, or life writing poetry under Pol Pot. You don’t get motorsports. Again: Good for you, you know your limits. A delusional Dale Earnhardt Jr. commercial? Sordid tales of French all-nighters three months ago? If you click on the Categories sidebar to the right long enough, any Chipotle pitstop can eventually seem effortless.
You know it’s easy to visualize experiencing “The Everyday World of Bodies” in person with the help of a VHS rip to YouTube. You know it’s easy to compartmentalize the struggle of a ruthless dictatorship when you parse out the prison lit. You get guiding a 160kg piece of machinery at 200+mph when you’re doing it from the comfort of your wireless Xbox controller. You’re also smart enough to know these are approximations. You don’t really know Rodan. You don’t know Pol Pot.
And you don’t get having to guide a 160kg piece of machinery at 200+mph year after year, on the best piece of engineering available, with the highest and darkest forces of sports and politics backing you, for millions of dollars, and losing. Dani Pedrosa does. And it’s about to happen again.
Last week, E! cruelly ripped out America’s collective heart by cancelling the brilliant gem of a TV show What Would Ryan Lochte Do? No longer will we get to watch our favorite lovable, swimming goof (not, not you Michael Phelps) search for his one true love by bringing a bunch of girls to the same sushi restaurant for approximately twenty-two minutes a week. Our Sundays will be a little bit darker from now on, but 2016 isn’t that far away. In the meantime, here’s the top ten moments from WWRLD for you to revisit until then (feel free to share with your Lochterage):
It had to happen.
I was not going to go the whole season without a losing week. To be honest, I eked out a 2-3 last week; I pick every game in a semi-legal picks-against-the-spread contest with some friends and went a dismal 5-11 overall. I was lucky to go 2-3.
But I will persevere. I have made it through worse than this. I sat through Transformers 3 in its entirety in theaters. I survived both the Bronx and North Philadelphia. Hell, I was dumped at an amusement park once. I have lived through pain; 2-3 won’t bring me down.
I am looking at this in the same way that I try to look at those previous struggles. I need to learn from my mistakes, bad sequels and cruel women. So what can I learn from last week’s 2-3?
“And then? And then, when I walked down the street, people would’ve looked, and they would’ve said, ‘There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.'” – The Natural
Exceedingly rare in sports is the career in which a player maintains a world-class level of dominance through a retirement on his or her own terms. Only a handful of players can even lay any valid claim to that. Wayne Gretzky scored 90 points in his second-to-last NHL season only to fall down to 62, a perfectly formidable number for a 38-year-old center in professional hockey, in his final season, 1998-’99. In the same sport, legendary Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak retired at the age of 32 in 1984 after accumulating dozens of accolades and medals with the Soviet national team and CSKA Moscow and also without ever playing a minute in the NHL. Michael Jordan managed to average 20 points per game in the 2002-’03 season during his second and final comeback, with the Washington Wizards. He even scored 43 points as a 40-year-old, a task suburban dads in driveways everywhere wish to check off the Saturday morning to-do list. Depending on how the next half-decade or so shakes out, Kobe Bryant could be there too. John Elway finished his career at the very peak of the mountain, with two straight Super Bowl victories in 1998 and ’99. A few European footballers, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Xavi Hernandez among them, also had or are having satisfyingly lengthy careers in which they maintain high competitive levels.
“To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.” – Ichiro Suzuki
We have gotten to a point as a nation at which I feel inclined to pose the question undoubtedly on the minds of everyone paying attention to the progression of this nation as it rollicks forward toward an uncertain fate: with the utmost respect and least offense possible to its residents, is the city of Cleveland even trying anymore? I’m not even focusing on sports, although in the wake of last week’s Trent Richardson trade by the city’s supposed professional football team, it is certainly a focal point.
The cover art for all of the official releases from the Glasgow synth pop group CHVRCHES are similar to that of warning signs seen plastered around nuclear reactors. The ones that scream “RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL” to remind you of the world-ending power that the energy efficient machines contain and maintain, barely. The stylized name of the group on its debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, leaps off the cover as an all-caps instruction to be wary of what lies inside. Yet, just beneath the group’s name lies the album title in an almost minuscule font size which reads as a footnote about the volatile materials contained within.