I’ve never fully understood the premise of the ESPYs, ESPN’s annual awards show, which airs for the 22nd time tomorrow night. Sports declare their winners through actual competition, and ESPY recipients have already earned more meaningful awards. Handing out Oscars and Grammys to actors and musicians makes sense. Declaring Adrian Peterson the Best NFL Player does not.
And yet, I have fond memories of the ESPYs, as I was fortunate enough to attend the show in 1997 and 1998. While it has since moved to the West Coast, at the time it was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The hour or so before the show started was sports heaven for my 10- and 11-year-old self. I snagged autographs from players like Tim Duncan, Keyshawn Johnson, and Lisa Leslie. I brought a small notepad for this purpose, but when several players were standing together I ended up with multiple signatures on the same piece of paper.
California Chrome did not win the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday and therefore did not become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. While my girlfriend Megan and I wanted to see history, his defeat is not what made the day a complete disaster. It was trying to leave the park that did.
In the time it took us to exit Belmont Park, a horse could have gone around the 1.5-mile track 54 times. Or it could have run across the streets of Queens, into Manhattan via the 59th Street Bridge, all the way to Penn Station (a destination for many travelers) and back twice…and then ran around the track eight times.
This is going to be the Year of Andrew, at least in sports. Andrew McCutchen will try to defend his National League MVP award. Andrew Luck led the Colts to a playoff win. Andrew Wiggins is expected to be a top pick in this summer’s NBA draft. I can’t turn on a game without seeing one of my namesakes playing well.
“You think Stanleys grow on trees? Well they don’t. There is no Stanley tree. You think the world is crawling with Phyllis’? Show me that farm.”—Michael Scott, Season 3
The final episode of The Office airs tomorrow night. Let that sink in. What were you doing when the series began, in 2005? Where were you? What kind of person were you? Nine years is a long time. I was a freshman in college when it started. Now I’ve got nearly five years of real-life office experience. No TV show has made me laugh and care about the characters as much as The Office.
The late-night reruns remind us of how much we used to laugh; these days we’ll take a few honest chuckles. But like a Mets fan in the winter, Office devotees will soon find out whether no Office is better than a half-decent Office. I’ll miss it, but it’s time for it to go. Continue reading The Office: We Dissed You But We’ll Miss You→
When my 90-year-old great aunt told me she was going to become a Mets fan, I tried to discourage her. My aunt is a nun and although the Mets need all the prayers they can get, I didn’t think she wanted an underachieving, disappointing team like the Mets invading her stress-free life. But after reading some of my early-season articles, Sister Lamese had made up her mind.
Iron Mountain head coach Robin Marttila knew something was up when the opposing sideline called timeout after a touchdown. Ispheming High always goes for two without hesitation. The timeout—and the circumstances—made Marttila think otherwise. Expecting an extra-point attempt, he gathered his team and instructed them not to rush the opposing kicker. Not a single player objected. Like their coach, they knew the kicker had been through so much just to get to that point.
All Eric Dompierre wanted to do was play high school sports. The Michigan High School Athletic Association, for a long time, wouldn’t let him because Eric is 19 and the rules say participants must be no older than 18 on September 1. Eric is not some 6’4, 215-lb. NCAA prospect looking to gain an extra year of eligibility to showcase his talent for a college scholarship. Perhaps it’s kids like that for whom the rule was created. Eric is a 5’2, 140-lb. senior with Down syndrome. He wanted to play basketball and football for the Ishpeming Hematites in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as he had done for the previous three years.* Continue reading Eric Dompierre’s Long Journey to the Football Field→
The Anchorman DVD has a bonus feature in which Ron Burgundy auditions to be a SportsCenter anchor. “Sports around the clock? All the time?” Burgundy asks a producer while on the ESPN set. “That’s never going to work. That’s ridiculous. That’s like a 24-hour cooking network or an all-music channel. That’s really dumb. This thing is going to be a financial and cultural disaster.”