Everyone has a role. The key is figuring out which one.
It applies in sports. Some people are scorers. Others play defense. Still more lurk in the background, providing insight and support to the players who make a more tangible impact on the game.
But, it also applies in life. I’m lucky enough to have maintained a circle of close friends that dates back to elementary school, and in some cases, even earlier. And all of us have our roles. There’s the de facto leader, the wacky guy, the conversation guy, etc. (And now, there’s a bunch of guys trying to figure out which one they are.) I will admit, I’ve had internal debates about what role it is that I fill. What do I contribute our little society? Earlier this week, I think I got my answer.
As I’m sure you have with your friends, this particular circle has an ongoing email chain. What usually starts with an innocent comment, like “Hey, I just saw Judd Nelson in a restaurant,” or, “Hey, my wife is pregnant,” quickly devolves into “Was Judd Nelson working as a waiter at said restaurant?” or, more often and usually much quicklier, “I can’t believe you are endorsing the idea of us taking turns skull fucking your unborn child.”
Well, on Monday, I got what I thought was the first message in what would be the latest email string. One of my friends wrote about how some guy walked in on him, while he was in a bathroom stall at work, apologized then sat down in the stall next to him and proceeded to bomb the fuck out of the toilet. So, my friend was worried about what would happen next. What if we end up in the elevator together? Do I acknowledge what happened? Do I act like I don’t know who he is?
Obviously, I had opinions. So, I went to hit reply all and continue the chain. But, reply all wasn’t an option. He sent this email to me, and me alone. And it was then that I realized what my role is.
I’m the guy who rationalizes everyone else’s idiotic neurosis through my own awkward social interactions. Embarrassed that some co-worker watched you shit? Let’s plot a way to turn that awkwardness on the other guy. Hiding the fact that you watch Glee religiously? Don’t worry. I’ve seen every episode of the Gilmore Girls. TWICE. Worried that you may have inadvertently made what seemed like a racist comment in mixed company? Never fear. I HAVE A THEORY!
Oh, and what was my answer to his unique question? Make a joke out of it. The shit interloper is now like a wild animal. He’s more scared of you than you are of him.
It’s a simple solution from someone whose psyche is clearly scarred to the core. It feels good to know your role.
Steve Rushin’s scorecard column is terribly timed. By the time this issue of Sports Illustrated hit the newsstands, all three of the sportscaster-based sitcoms he writes about had been rejected by the networks. There will be no show based on Colin Cowherd. There will be no show based on Mark Schlereth. There will be no show based on Mike Greenberg. Oh, and one more thing. STOP WITH THE FUCKING PUNS! It’s not all bad, though. Rushin does write about Mr. Belvedere, which was one of my favorite shows as a kid.
Now, let’s discuss what’s happened to the Inside Baseball column. It’s been taken over by robots. I’m perfectly happy to discuss and compare statistics when talking about my favorite sport. But, Joe Sheehan has taken this concept to the extreme. You want to tell me what’s made the Indians so good this year? It’s fine to do that with some statistics, but you need to include something else. Tell me a story about the guys that make up the team, so I understand their character. Otherwise, my eyes glaze over and I lose interest in your writing.
Terror, Tragedy and Hope in Tuscaloosa by Lars Anderson
Yes, lady next to me at the gym yesterday morning, I was tearing up while reading this article. Don’t judge me. One of the first lessons I ever learned about news writing was that you shouldn’t use “I” or “me.” I’m glad Lars Anderson broke that rule. His personal involvement, however small, helps drive home the impact that these tornadoes had on Tuscaloosa.
I’m not sure if everyone had this reaction when reading about the actions of the Alabama athletes following the storm, but I tried to put myself in their position. Would I be brave enough or selfless enough to help someone else in the midst of amazing tragedy? I honestly don’t know. And that makes me a little sad.
Defense, Chicago Style by Lee Jenkins
This article seems to hint that it took a little while for the Bulls to buy into Tom Thibodeau’s system, but once they did, they became a defensive machine. Except, every quote about a guy resisting the hard work is delivered by Joaquim Noah. Maybe he’s just a stoner hippie who has trouble with self motivation.
The Good, The Bad and Roberto Luongo by Brian Cazaneuve
The NHL’s Western Conference Finals is populated by teams who have developed twin legacies of not being able to get over the hump. Hopefully, it will go 7 games so, next week, we can read a similar article about how Joe Thornton can’t win the big one either.
A Pacific Passion Play by Grant Wahl
Obviously, I didn’t read this article. But, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss how much I like Fred Armisen. Zero. I like him zero amount. Every character he plays on SNL is either a guy with a stereotypical foreign accent or an effeminate singer. And whenever he’s on a talk show, he shows up in a hoodie. Wear a tie, Armisen. ACT LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN, DICK. He strikes me as the type of guy who lives in Brooklyn, says he doesn’t own a tv and claims that the only radio he listens to is NPR. I’ve never watched Portlandia, mainly because I’m worried I would punch my television.
Staring Down History by S.L. Price
The fact that this article exists is almost more important than anything included within it. I’m just happy that SI has finally acknowledged that there are more than two players on the men’s professional tennis tour. Also, Novak Djokavic is a lot of fun to say.
Point After by Phil Taylor
What a stupid and played out conceit this is. Doctor Phil? HAHAHAHAHA! What at timely reference you have made. Next week, I hope you make a Susan Boyle joke or write that someone is the weakest link. Goodbye.