In the course of my lifetime, sports journalism has gotten completely out of control. There are hours upon hours upon HOURS more of it than is even remotely necessary, and I blame this development entirely on ESPN. Competition between networks may spur on the never-ending spiral into mindless sporting minutiae, but there would be no need had there never been an ESPN.
I guess it’s nice that all these people who work in 24-hour sports journalism have jobs, because what else would they do1, but is any of this information and the myriad methods of digesting statistics worthwhile knowledge? Barely. Just… barely. It’s slightly worthwhile because the reporter needs something to talk about on TV, but what kind of chicken-and-egg argument is that?
I got an email today from the K-Bear, mentioning that the Detroit Lions settled on a new design for their uniforms. I popped over to the Great Network’s website for a nugget of info on the topic (maybe just an example of the design), and I was met with this lead story in their NFL section: Mock Draft for the Ages! Yes friends, the work they’re doing over there today is asking the burning question: what if every player EVER were eligible to be taken in THIS YEAR’S NFL draft? You can follow the link for all the details but the summary is thus:
Who gives a holy freakin shit?
I don’t discount the value of sports on a basic level; obviously there is something about physical competitions that have kept human beings interested for thousands of years. Sports help us pass the time, they promote civic pride, and they give us a glimpse of what the most physically skilled among us can do with the human body; which in and of itself is occasionally an amazing spectacle.
Like so many things, though, following sports is prone to spilling over to obsession. 24-hour sports networks help promote that2, but of course it is ultimately the viewer that drives that programming. Personally, I know how easy it can be to slip into a pattern of obsessive cable-watching. I have fought countless battles over the years with such networks as TNN, Comedy Central, History Channel, National Geographic, SpikeTV, VH1, and yes, ESPN. Some of the most gratifying days I can remember are the ones where I suddenly realized, “Hey, I haven’t turned on the TV to watch [insert program or network here] in weeks. And I don’t care at all! I guess none of it really matters…”
And it doesn’t. So, loosen your grip on the remote, oh ye 2nd-floor Nelsonites3! The world, she is a’turning!
- My God, what would Craig Kilborn’s life have been without SportsCenter? [↩]
- Truly, all niche cable networks promote their respective vice or obsession, do they not? [↩]
- When I lived in Nelson Hall, there was an eerie yet distinct difference between the men who populated most of 2nd floor (they watched a LOT of sports and were generally known to be some breed of jock, either actual or wishful) and the ones like me on the 4th (they played a lot of cards, really knew how to drink, and overall had a more unique mix of personalities. [↩]