If life were a football game, I would be a jumpy left tackle. I’m constantly crossing the line and it’s always offensive.
This is most obvious when it comes to good natured ribbing among friends. This season, I’m in a four person fantasy football league (Don’t worry, we severely limit the available players. It works out well.) But, the weekly results barely matter. The real fun is in the team names. We decided that every team would change their name every week and, each time, there would be a theme. Every week, all the team names would make fun of one of the league members. It works out. The league is 16 weeks, including playoffs. That means everyone gets made fun of 4 times.
75% of the names work out perfectly. Even if you’re the subject of the joke, you laugh. It’s nothing too harsh. But, then, there’s the other 25%. These are the names I come up with. And they are harsh.
I’m not going to give any actual examples because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings publicly. But, I will try to paint a picture of the scope of my dickishness and the disparity in relative meanness between everyone else’s jokes and the ones I make.
It might look something like this:
Team 1: You wear ugly sweaters
Team 2: Remember that time you got drunk and threw up?
Team 3: You’re not very good at drafting fantasy football teams
Team 4: YOUR MOM DIED OF CANCER!
Can you guess which one is me?
The only saving grace is that I’m just as harsh with myself. You’d be surprised how successfully I can mine a life governed by social awkwardness and a phobia of women topped only by a very real fear of dying alone. IT’S HILARIOUS!
I’m glad Chris Ballard wrote about the 20th anniversary of Magic Johnson announcing he was HIV positive. It opens the door for me to write about mine. November 7th, 1991 was a Thursday. I was getting my haircut, but this was no ordinary trim. 13 year old Justin was getting all gussied up for his Bar Mitzvah photos. In the conservative/reformed suburban Jewish American culture, the Thursday before Bar Mitzvah day is picture day at the temple. And that’s why how I learned that Magic Johnson had HIV inside a beauty parlor. Somewhere in this story there is a corollary about learning that heroes are fallible being an important step towards spiritual adulthood. Trust me, it’s in there.
Still The One by Austin Murphy
Here is a quote from this story, which was written in November, 2011
As any of Donald Trump’s wives can tell you, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What some regarded as an ugly game, Montgomery praised as “a great, classical battle between two SEC heavyweights.
Man, Sports Illustrated, you have got to find some new pop culture trends to reference in your article. Donald Trump? Really?
Better Lucky Than Good by Damon Hack
At some point during the past week, I read on Twitter that this was a really great article. So, I was looking forward to reading it when my SI finally arrived ON SATURDAY (who knew there’s no mail on Veteran’s Day?) Whoever sent that tweet was overstating things dramatically. This article was just fine. No more, no less.
The Case For Defense by Luke Winn
Win One For The Home Team by Richard Deitsch
I didn’t know who Skylar Diggans was before I read this profile, but I come away liking her. I also like her coach, her friends and her parents. The Notre Dame women’s basketball program seems to be a well run and respectful operation. Kudos to the Lady Irish.
Here Come The Bears by Richard Deitsch
It’s interesting that Sports Illustrated decided to throw it’s women’s basketball scouting reports before it’s men’s previews. I think it was a good choice. This makes sense both thematically and in the flow of the magazine.
Scouting Reports by SI Staff
Each team’s preview comes with a Best Case/Worst Case box. I am a big fan of that. It’s a great addition to the college basketball preview issue.
DeWayne Dedmon’s Leap Of Faith by Chris Ballard
Another interesting layout choice. In past years, this article would have appeared before the preview issue scouting reports. But, the story about DeWayne Dedmon is less about basketball and more about a young man finding his own voice (like me with Magic and my haircut.) In that way, it’s a classic back of the magazine piece for Sports Illustrated and so, once again, I think it was a good decision.
Point After by Phil Taylor
The Penn State scandal couldn’t have fallen at a worse time for SI. The magazine probably goes to print on Tuesday. At that point last week, we were starting to learn the specifics of Jerry Sandusky’s unspeakable crimes against humanity, but we hadn’t yet learned what the fallout would be. Joe Paterno wasn’t fired until late Wednesday. I’m guessing next week’s issue will include a thorough discussion of the scandal and what happens moving forward. For now, though, the world’s most popular Sports magazine has only cursory coverage of the biggest sports story that may have ever happened. Phil Taylor’s column is a good start, and I’m quite sure that’s exactly what it is.