Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

Michael Sam’s Club

February 11, 2014

Sunday February 9th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

Well, it had to happen sooner or later and it happened today. The first openly gay athlete came out that will be a current member of one of the ‘Big Four’ professional sports leagues in America. To me it’s no big deal on a personal level, and in fact if anything I’m surprised it has taken this long.

Was anyone naïve enough to think there weren’t any until now in the history of sports? Really? Come on. Please get me a list of those imbeciles so I can sell them some swamp land or a bridge – preferably a two for one deal. Better yet, sign me up as the first straight male flight attendant.

From a life standpoint, I could not care any less about this story. I wish Michael Sam well, and quite honestly before today I’d never heard of him. He’s in for a hell of a ride to say the least, but judging from the interview I heard with him he seems like a sharp kid and will be able to hack it.

From a comedic standpoint, this is going to be a nightmare before it starts. Every no talent hack and his or her grandma’s uncle at open mics and on You Tube is going to jump all over this story and mangle it horrifically, all in the name of “humor”. I shudder to think of it, but it’s inevitable.

Every time there’s a huge story like this with any hint of shock value, count on there being lots of backlash in the form of painfully poorly placed “jokes”. I saw it first hand in Milwaukee when Jeffery Dahmer hit the world media stage like a sledge hammer. It spread everywhere overnight.

It only took a couple of days for a barrage of jokes to start flowing, but that was way before the internet. Life in general is at warp speed these days and this story will explode online and already has. He happens to come from a town called “Hitchcock”. Really. Do I need to go any further?

Hack comics and wannabes everywhere are salivating right now. They can’t wait for their shot to get on stage anywhere to display a lisping limp wristed mean spirited “impression” of Michael Sam, thinking it will be there ticket to the top. There’s blood in the water and the sharks are out.

More than a few somebodies somewhere are breaking their necks to make it to their local malls this very minute to have a number “69” Michael Sam jersey custom made to order. You think I’m joking. I wish I was, but I know it’s true. The latest hack comedy premise has been fully hatched.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sick twisted politically incorrect downright nasty joke. I am all for slicing and dicing any subject imaginable – but NOT on stage. There are just some things that need to be left alone – or at least left to those with experience that know what they’re doing.

I have thirty solid years of hard earned experience, and I have no interest whatsoever in doing any Michael Sam bits or gay jokes in general. It’s not my style, and not what I do. I’m sure there could be some funny stuff there for someone, but for the majority of the herd it’s already passé.

I’ve been accused of being gay for years because I’ve never married. Did it ever occur to them that maybe I’m just an ugly bastard that has been rejected by the entire female species? If I were gay, I’d gladly admit it. I would also be able to dance, cook and my clothes might match at least once in a while. Leave Mr. Sam alone. But if there’s any comedic justice, he’ll be drafted by the Packers.

Michael Sam will be a household name forever because he's the first openly gay athlete to play in a major sport in America.

Michael Sam will be a household name forever because he’s the first openly gay athlete to play in a major sport in America. That’s his business.

That's his business, but unfortunately it will bring along some really bad attempts at humor. I cringe just thinking about it. Ugh.

Unfortunately, it will bring with it some really horrific attempts at ‘humor’. I cringe just thinking of it.

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Packer Pathos

November 30, 2013

Friday November 29th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

The Green Bay Packers are having one of their worst seasons in recent memory, and I find it to be a fascinating case study in human behavior whether someone is a football fan or not. They are completely unraveling as the season goes on, and have slid from heroes to bums in a few weeks.

It all started when their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a fractured clavicle on November 4th in a game against the archrival Chicago Bears. It didn’t appear to be that violent of a hit, and fans weren’t in a panic assuming the usually durable Rodgers would bounce right back.

Then in the next game against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 10th, backup quarterback Seneca Wallace went down in the first quarter with a groin injury. Again, it didn’t look to be that bad but he too was out of commission. That brought in Scott Tolzien, a third stringer that played in college at Wisconsin so a lot of Packer fans were familiar with him. He performed admirably.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to win either of the two games he started, and the spoiled fans of the Packers who have been one of the elite teams in the NFL since the early ‘90s were starting to grumble from within. An entire generation of fans has grown up assuming the Pack would win.

Last week they blew a golden opportunity to beat their most bitter rival of the last twenty years the Minnesota Vikings. They are having a horrific year themselves, but no Packer fan alive feels the slightest bit of sympathy for them. They’ve also had a great run, and when I was a kid they’d traditionally thump the Pack twice a year. Any day the Packers beat the Viqueens is a great day.

Too bad it wasn’t this particular day, as the best they could muster was a tie. They had a shot to win it in overtime, but they weren’t able to pound it into the end zone from a few yards out to get the win. Fans had grown accustomed to them being automatic in those situations in recent years.

Well, this isn’t recent years, and hope is fading like the paint job on a Yugo. Yesterday was the biggest all out ass kicking they’ve gotten in decades, and it looked like they’ve completely given up in every aspect of their game. The offense, defense and special teams played like Girl Scouts.

I have been a loyal (read: stupid) Packer fan my entire life and I have to say I am not pleased to see how this year has unfolded, but on a personal level I can totally relate. I wish I couldn’t, but I absolutely do. It’s very similar to my life, and I find it fascinating to watch how it’s playing out.

Unforeseen circumstances have been the cause of the downfall, mostly devastating injuries that have wiped out their best players. It has been uncanny how many important players were lost this year, but that’s the luck of the draw. It wasn’t planned on, but now they have to suck it up and try to salvage the season with what they have left. It’s not pleasant, but nobody has a choice. It’s life in the NFL, and life in general. The fans are growing restless, and the coaches are on the hot seat.

Three years ago the same coaches won the Super Bowl and were considered geniuses. That’s a long time ago in football, and now they’re bums. I find this interesting, and it’s a character test to make due every week with depleted resources. This is exactly how my life has been since I was a kid, so I’m finding an even deeper kinship with the team this year. They’re living my existence.

It's been a rough year for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers - but at least they're getting paid. We fans are getting screwed for free.

It’s been a rough year for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers – but at least they’re getting paid. We fans are getting screwed for free.

Game Experience

October 24, 2013

Thursday October 17th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Any craft that requires skill requires repetition to maintain and improve said skill. There isn’t a single exception to this rule, even though a surprisingly high percentage of beginners mistakenly like to think the rule doesn’t apply to them. This is as wrong as feeding chili to a newborn baby.

It’s fine to read articles and have in depth discussions – even take classes, but until one actually goes out and DOES something it’s all meaningless. The learning comes by doing, and there’s no way around it. It’s great to be prepared, but preparation alone is never enough. Action is needed.

I’ve forever heard pro football people say that NFL quarterback is the most difficult position to play in sports. There are a lot of subtleties to it, and the only way to learn them is by actual game experience. It’s a painstaking process of trial and error but it’s the only way to become seasoned.

Standup comedy is the same way. I believe it’s the most difficult of all entertainment positions, and like quarterbacking there are many subtleties involved. It’s not just a matter of spitting jokes out night after night like a robot. There’s a lot more to it than that. It’s a very complex process.

Circumstances change constantly, and adjustments need to be made. As in football, sometimes a last second audible at the line of scrimmage is necessary. The only way to know what is needed requires experience, and there’s only one way to get it – making mistakes. It’s part of the game.

If there’s one subject I’m qualified to speak on, it’s making mistakes. I’ve made more than my share – more than a dozen people’s shares – but I’ve learned from them all. I’ll still screw up on occasion, but I am able to hide it and recover because I have finally figured out what I’m doing.

Having game experience opens up all kinds of new doors, and makes being on stage even more fun than it was before – and it was intoxicating before. The rush of being on stage is like nothing I have ever experienced, and I have pursued it for a lifetime. It’s the most exciting buzz there is.

I had no idea how to control it when I started, but I knew I loved it. I wanted to be on stage any and all chances I had to do it, even if only for a few minutes. That’s all anyone gets, but that’s all anyone can handle at first. Five minutes can be a LONG time – especially when it’s going badly.

Now, I can do a solid hour without thinking about it and still have plenty of material left over – and that’s a rock solid polished hour, not “Where ya from?” or “What do you do?” Crowd work doesn’t count, even though that’s a skill of its own. I’m talking about an act. It takes a lifetime.

A lot of nasty lumps were taken in that lifetime, and I can’t honestly say if I knew what it was going to entail and had to do it all again if I would. The experience I have came with a very high price, but I chose to pay it and now it’s mine. What can I do with it? Other than continuing to do shows, hopefully writing about my journey (and many mistakes) will help others on the way up.

My perspective now is very different than it was at the start. I still love being on that stage, but growth never ends. No creative artist or performer is ever a finished product. There’s always the next lesson to learn. Game experience gives me confidence, but also helps to keep me humble.

Standup comedy is like being a quarterback - the most difficult job in the business.

Standup comedy is like being a quarterback – the most difficult job in the business.

Football Fasting

October 8, 2013

Sunday October 6th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I love football. I love the action, excitement and drama of a well played game and I’ve loved it since I was a little boy. I loved playing it then, and even after I stopped it has remained an annual staple in my autumn schedule. I especially love the NFL and the Green Bay Packers in particular.

I have written in detail of my inability to stop being a Packer fan, and at this point I consider it a hopeless addiction. It should make no difference whatsoever to me – or anyone else that doesn’t actually play or coach for them – if they win or lose five minutes after a game, but it totally does.

I’ve resigned myself long ago to the embarrassing fact that I will always care somewhere in the deepest part of my existence whether the Packers win or lose even though I know it carries a zero effect or less on how my life turns out. Even though I know it means nothing, I know it still does.

Instead of seeking the years of intense therapy I probably should for this deep rooted condition, I have chosen instead to take a different route and wean myself off of watching games whenever possible. It was damn near impossible at first, but now I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding them.

One thing that helps tremendously is that I live in a place where they aren’t the prominent team on television. They weren’t on this week, so I would have had to drive to Wisconsin to watch the game which I didn’t feel like doing. I did drive to a flea market and walked around all afternoon.

I mainly did it for the exercise, and it felt good to take a brisk walk on a fall day. A few people did have radios playing both the Packers and Bears games, so I caught up with the scores of both whether I wanted to hear them or not. I didn’t mind in small doses, but I didn’t want to waste the afternoon in front of the TV riding that emotional roller coaster one more time. I don’t need that.

What doesn’t help is that I’m in not one but two fantasy football leagues. I should keep a closer grip of what’s happening, but my friend Jim McHugh is my co-owner in both and he does a more thorough job of combing the waiver wires than I ever could. He’s the perfect man for that job.

I am not saying I won’t ever jump back in with both feet, but for the immediate future I choose to participate in what I’m calling a “football fast” and use at least the three hours that the Packers play to do something much more productive. I will hear the final score soon enough, but nothing of my personal doing will have had a thing to do with it. Whether I watch or not doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that I get at least one of my own flailing projects off the ground. The NFL isn’t going to miss one lone nut that chooses to do something else for a while, but I will cease to exist if I don’t figure out a way to get some legitimate steady income flowing in my direction. A three hour chunk of time to work on that comes in handy right now, and I don’t want to waste it.

I didn’t spend all three hours walking through the flea market, but it didn’t take long to realize I’m not going to haul in much money there. My idea of being a picker of collectibles and turning a profit has been a lot less consistent than I imagined. It’s too high of a time outlay for too tiny of a return, but at least I can do it on my own schedule. The smart thing to do is keep working on all my ideas like The King of Uranus, “Schlitz Happened!” and the rest. Football can wait a while.

The NFL is a drug - with 32 varieties.

The NFL is a drug – with 32 varieties.

My personal drug of choice since age 8. Is there a 12 step program for NFL addicts?

My personal drug of choice since age 8. Is there a 12 step program for NFL addicts?

Someday Has Come

August 28, 2013

Tuesday August 27th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   The major life purge continues, and I feel improvement every day. Organizing my inner world is the only thing that will organize my outer world, and I desperately needed it. Every bit of junk I throw out opens that much more space to fill with something much better that I can use today.

   Less truly is more, and I feel noticeably better with every full bag I either throw out or take to a thrift store for donation. There’s almost a spiritual quality to what I feel as I do it, and that makes me want to do it more. Today I spent a full eight hours working, and could have done eight more.

   Most of this stuff I will eventually get rid of, but for now I just need to know what’s there. That takes time, as I have to sort through every scrap of paper or trinket in every box but I’ve meant to do it for years and I’m finally “getting around to it”. Someday has come, and a feeling of genuine accomplishment has come with it. I should have done this decades ago, but didn’t have the time.

   I was much too busy dealing with life’s tornadoes, and there were many. I just stuck everything in boxes with no rhyme or reason and said I’d deal with it later. Well, it’s later and now it’s time to sort it all out and finally move forward. Until I do that, I’ll never be able to grow to the fullest.

   I’m doing it, and it feels beyond good. I know it’s right, so I’m staying with it. At first I sorted everything into big piles, but now I’m going through those with a fine tooth comb to eliminate all that I don’t absolutely need to survive now – which is most of it. I’ll find the occasional business card with a contact I haven’t talked to in a while or a forgotten comedy idea, but that’s about it.

   Out the rest of it goes, and I’m having less of a problem the more I do it. If I really need any of this stuff I’m sure I can troll it up somewhere, but for now I want it out of my life. The chances I will need any of it are far slimmer than a white man’s hopes of playing cornerback in the NFL.

   I’ve got things I want to do, and they take up enough time as it is. Having a backlog of useless clutter is just extra weight in the saddle bags. Cleaning it out will be a one time hassle, but then it will be gone for good and I can fill that space with much more important things. I need to do this.

   It’s finally to the point where it’s manageable, even though it will take a while to get it down to where it should have been in the first place. I bit off way more than I could chew, and I thought it would all work out. It didn’t, so rather than keep hauling it around the country I’m cutting bait.

   I’ll be able to do a little at a time for the foreseeable future, and that’s how it should be. It’s just like exercise – a little every day is the way to do it. Trying to cram it in all at once in a day or two doesn’t work and never did. It’s a gradual thing, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m just sorry it took so long. I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time and energy dragging this around and it’s gone forever.

   If I choose to dwell on that, I’ll depress myself right out of the game. I’m not the only one that has made mistakes, but it’s all about how one recovers. If I throw away as much evidence of the past as I can, I’ll have no choice but to look ahead. That’s where I need to be looking, and I’m on a great roll right now. It’s all about action, which I’m taking. I’m making room for a better life.

Moon Mysteries

July 21, 2013

Saturday July 20th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Today is the anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing in 1969. I’m of the generation where I don’t necessarily remember that particular one, but I do remember several others. It was a topic of study at school, and more than once I remember us watching something about it on television in class and then discussing it as a group. I loved the subject then, and I still do. It’s fascinating.

   It gets even more fascinating when the rumors come out of whether that first landing was faked or not. I remember how strange that sounded when I’d first heard it, but I felt the same way when I heard pro wrestling was prearranged. After I found out, I ended up liking wrestling even more.

   Wrestling is a well crafted show, and a very good one when executed properly. I felt privileged to be in on the joke, and it didn’t cause me to lose interest when I found out it wasn’t as it at first had appeared. There was still a skill set required, and it kept my attention as to how it was done.

   I’m not sure what the truth is about the first moon landing or the others, but isn’t it at least a bit odd that the United States or anyone else hasn’t made an effort to go back since? There has to be some kind of reason, doesn’t there? I thought we’d have a “Six Flags over the Moon” by now.

   Allegedly from what I’ve read the reason for a faked mission or missions would be for making the Russians believe we had the technology they didn’t, and that would mean we could kick their rotten Rooskie rumps from the moon to Moscow. Whether or not it’s true, I at least can grasp the logic.

   If it isn’t true and they really did go, why did it stop so suddenly? Or did it? This is where all of the real craziness starts, and that’s what I never tire of. There are all kinds of goofy theories from aliens told us to stop coming back to we still are going back but the public doesn’t know about it.

   Who can say what’s real? I can’t, but that includes most of the masses of humanity. Somebody somewhere knows, but they’re not talking. That leaves everything to speculation, and that’s what I thought about a lot today. What really happened, and why isn’t there an NFL moon franchise?

   We are such a small cosmic speck in the grand scheme of the vastness of the universe, but who can help wondering what else is out there? We think going to the moon is a big deal, but it really isn’t when one considers all of the billions, trillions and zillions of planets and moons out there.

   It would seem pretty improbable that if there indeed is a God He or She would only put life on such a minute terrestrial pebble as Earth and nowhere else. That doesn’t make any sense, and I’m not buying it. I would bet there is life everywhere – I just hope it’s not as screwed up as we are.

   We picture aliens landing that have superior intelligence to ours, but what if they’ve got many if not all of the same qualities we do? That would be a cosmic buzz kill, wouldn’t it? Here comes extra terrestrial contact, but they’re just as jealous, petty, warlike, selfish and insecure as we are.

   According to some, ‘they’ are already here among us and have been for thousands of years. To completely poo poo that would be just as insane as buying it hook, line and sinker. I don’t know, and I know I don’t know. I can have theories, but until I’m on the space ship it’s still a mystery.

  If nothing else, it sure is captivating to think about. I’ve always thought about stuff like this, but today’s anniversary of the alleged first landing on the moon reopened the file. What’s the truth?

Versatility Pays Peanuts

May 8, 2013

Tuesday May 7th, 2013 – Lake Zurich, IL

   Versatility in the entertainment business can be a two edged sword. On one hand, it can allow a performer to have the luxury of more than one option to receive a paycheck. On the other, there’s a “jack of all trades, master of none” stigma that tends to go with it and that can cause confusion.

   Those known for ONE thing and one thing only have a much better chance at mass recognition – IF they happen to find that right thing. Mel Kiper Jr. is a perfect example. What the hell has he ever done except claim to know about the NFL draft? He’s got the title of ‘draft expert’, but what does that mean? Can anyone truly say he is or isn’t? It doesn’t matter. He’s carved out his niche.

   Rachel Ray is another. She has books and videos and is always on TV whipping up some kind of miracle meal, but again what else has she done? People like that just appear on television one day and become part of popular culture, and everyone knows who they are for that single reason.

   Dr. Phil bitches at people. That’s it. Nobody knows anything else about him. Does he have any knowledge about the NFL draft? It doesn’t matter if he does or he doesn’t? Can he make himself breakfast? That’s not important either. All that matters with the public is that one source of fame.

   A few select people have been able to parlay fame into more areas, but more often than not it’s one thing and one thing only that anyone becomes truly known for. Rush Limbaugh was hired to do NFL pregame commentary on the basis of his radio show, but he’ll always be known as being a radio host. Howard Stern is the same thing. He did a couple of movies, but he’s a shock jock.

   I’ve never been known for exclusively one thing, and part of that reason is I’ve been able to be versatile for many years. I’ve done standup comedy and radio, and also was a ring announcer for professional wrestling in addition to promoting live shows. None are easy, but I need to pick one.

   Rodney Dangerfield never did radio, and Vince McMahon never did standup comedy. They are both icons in their field, and although Rodney did movies that’s a logical progression in what the comedy business entails. Rodney was known as a comedian. Period. Vince McMahon has tried a few other pursuits, but he’s known as the king of modern day professional wrestling promoters.

   Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but not many. Most people who ‘make it’ become known for one thing, and that’s enough to sustain them for a lifetime. J.K. Rowling doesn’t have to do another thing in her life and she’ll be known after she’s dead for bringing us Harry Potter.

   I’m still looking for my ‘thing’. I don’t think I’ll ever be known for my standup comedy, as it’s not that radical unfortunately. I can rip it up with the best of them, but I’ve never had the massive appeal of a Carrot Top or Adam Sandler or someone else who’s a crowd pleaser. I have my style and a lot of people like it, but I haven’t been able to carve out a niche in all these years of trying.

   Tonight I had a show for 50 church group seniors in Lake Zurich, IL. They were part of a tour group and were all from Wisconsin. Visit Lake County is a group I’m a member of, and they are the ones who set up this gig. It went really well and it was fun, but it won’t make me a big star.

   As I was performing (without a microphone) for this group who was loving it, I tried to picture Rodney or Carlin or anyone else in this situation and I couldn’t. I bet there aren’t five comedians on earth that could have pulled this off, but who cares? Versatility does pay – but it’s in peanuts.

Sarge’s Tap

May 5, 2013

Thursday May 2nd, 2013 – Danville, IL

   Danville, IL happens to be the home town of show business brothers Dick and Jerry Van Dyke, actors Gene Hackman and Donald O’Connor, NFL football player Zeke Bratkowski and baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount. That’s quite an impressive lineup for a town of about 33,000 people.

   I had only passed through here to gas up and pee once or twice in all my travels, and never had I performed here until tonight when I worked a delightful joint called “Sarge’s Tap”. It ended up being a super positive experience, and I’m glad I came. Shows like this make it all worthwhile.

   This was a gig booked by fellow comedian Steve Sabo out of Toledo, OH. I’ve worked for him several times before, and quite frankly the shows can go either way. Sometimes they’re great like tonight, but other times they can degenerate into bloody verbal combat with boozed up goobers.

   I don’t blame Steve for that. He books mostly bar gigs to make some extra cabbage, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He busts his ass making posters for his gigs and he brings entertainment to places that normally wouldn’t have any. He works most of the gigs himself at first to get them going, then sends other comics through and takes a commission. That’s a smart business model.

   Anyone who accepts a booking from Steve knows – or at least they should – that anything may happen on a given night without logical reason, and one must prepare to expect the unexpected at all times. I remember working for him one night in Michigan when a ghastly she beast wouldn’t stop taking her t-shirt off and proudly flashing herself alternately between the audience and me.

   Normally I would greatly enjoy large breasts being jiggled my way, but this was the exception. They were large in and of themselves, but in comparison to her mammoth hind quarters they lost any and all sex appeal and just looked freakish. They got everyone’s attention the first time they came out, but by the time we’d all seen them a dozen times even the freak factor had worn off.

   That was my first experience working for Steve, and I must say it made me think twice about a return engagement but I never blamed him personally. He books bar gigs and that kind of stuff is par for the course. Some comedians spend their lives doing those kinds of gigs, but I’m not a fan. I did them in my early years to gain experience, and that I got. Now I do them just for the money.

   I happen to need money right now, so here I am. I’m glad to get this booking, as it fits perfectly with another I have tomorrow in Marion, OH for another comedian named Jeremy Danley. Steve and Jeremy are very similar in that they book quite a few rooms on their own, and good for them for doing it. They’re both honest guys hustling a buck. That’s what built the America we knew.

   Tonight’s show was an absolute sledgehammer. The opening act was a guy named Chris Smith out of the St. Louis area, and he’s been out there for years just like me. He’s a wonderful feature, and I mean that as a sincere compliment. Usually, feature acts try to blow headliners off the stage so they can get booked back as a headliner and get paid more money. I understand the reasoning.

   Chris is a funny act, but his style is very easy to follow. He does a super job, and we’ve worked together before. He earns every penny of his pay, and I’d tour with him anytime. He’s a total pro, and the crowd loved him tonight. They loved me too, and the whole time I was on I was grateful to get work this week. The owner Wanda is very nice and said she wants me back. I hope I don’t need the money as badly then, but this is a place I would do again. Let’s see how tomorrow goes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Catching A Draft

April 26, 2013

Thursday April 25th, 2013 – Niles, IL

   What is it about the National Football League that has addictive powers? It’s frightening, but if I could figure out that secret ingredient I’d use it myself and get rich. Something about that sport has turned hundreds of millions of Americans into brain dead zombies who are hooked for life.

   Unfortunately, I find myself in that category and no matter how hard I fight it I seem to always come back – and I’m sure that’s exactly how they want it. I am a lifer, and my drug of choice has always been the Green Bay Packers. There are 31 other flavors available, but that one is mine.

   Once again as I have for too many years to count, I purposely blocked out my evening to watch ESPN TV coverage of the entire first round of the NFL draft. I’ve done it as long as I can recall it being televised, and I have to say ashamedly that I really enjoy it. I know I shouldn’t, but I do.

   Talk about your quintessential non event being overhyped, pumped full of hot air and force fed to a shallow stupid public – this is absolutely it. It’s such a brilliantly slick marketing job I wish I would have thought of it. Part of me is embarrassed I like it so much, and another part is jealous.

   The modern day King of Ballyhoo Vince McMahon himself couldn’t have pulled an event like this out of thin air, and I’m sure he’s probably jealous too. The NFL really put one over on all of us, and we’re thanking them for doing it by showing up in droves to watch it like a Super Bowl.

   My friend Marc Schultz is as hopelessly hooked as I am, and he invited me over to watch it at his house. It’s become an annual tradition that his wife Audrey cooks us steaks and we sit around in front of the TV from opening pick to the very end. It’s a total geek fest, but we both live for it.

   Marc is a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, and even that doesn’t stop me from going there each and every year. We actually have intelligent conversations about what each team needs, and we try to predict who each one will take. We’ve never been right yet, but it’s still fun and we will probably keep doing it as long as they keep televising it – but why would it stop? Halfwits like us watch it.

   All the whole overblown thing boils down to is just a glorified version of picking sides as kids, but there’s something about it that attracts millions of mooks across America that should have all kinds of better things to do. I can’t tell you for the life of me who represents me in Congress, but I do know in what spot my Packers were drafting (26) and that’s embarrassing. I am SO hooked.

  The NFL knows this, so they’ve stretched the whole thing out over three days. Now it’s a whole weekend I have to set aside – and stupid me I probably will. I tell myself I’ll just put it on to find out who the Packers get in the later rounds, but who am I kidding? As always, I’ll end up getting sucked in once more by Mel Kiper Jr.’s hypnotic hyperbole and before I’ll know it it’s Monday.

   There were actual games going on in both baseball and basketball tonight, but I didn’t pay any attention to any of it. Why would I want to watch actual GAMES – some of them playoff games – when I can eat steak with a friend and watch as pampered oafs get chosen to rake in zillions?

   There’s just something not right about any of it, but I can’t deny I had a total blast from as soon as I walked in the door to the minute I left after the last pick of the first round. The food was very good, and the company was better. Marc and I watched every single pick and it was a pleasure to do it. Not one down of football was played, but the NFL still made money. THAT’S marketing!

Yay Bears?

January 18, 2013

Thursday January 17th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I predict a bright future for the Chicago Bears and it doesn’t upset me in the least. Yes, I’m still a flaming Green Bay Packer fan and will be at least until I get Alzheimer’s disease, severe dementia or some other condition that would rob me of my faculties.

I’ll always cheer for the Packers even though it still bums me out when they lose. Sometimes it bothers me how much I actually care, but I totally do. That being said, just because I’m a lifelong fan of the green and gold it doesn’t mean I hate the Bears personally. I thoroughly enjoy it when they lose, but that’s as far as it goes. I don’t ‘hate’ any rival. That’s a word I use very sparingly.

I hate war. I hate cancer. I hate cruelty to women, children and animals. Sports teams don’t fall into that category for me, and I find it rather disturbing when others take it that far. I admit I have never liked the Chicago Bears, but it doesn’t mean I wish ill fortune for any of them personally.

Living in the Chicago area, I am flooded with sports talk radio and can’t help hearing about the Bears in detail twelve months a year. It’s a year round obsession here just like the Packers are in Wisconsin, and I get to hear some of the players and coaches on the air quite often being people.

I find Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman to be a very nice fellow for example, and it deeply saddens me to know he has a sick daughter. If there were a charity event to raise money for her, I’d be first in line with bells on to participate and who I cheer for on Sundays would have nothing to do with it.

Today the buzz all over local media was the hiring of the new head coach Marc Trestman. He’s been kicking around coaching for thirty years, and this is his first shot as an NFL head coach. He won a couple of Grey Cups in Canada in Montreal, but this is his first chance on the NFL stage.

As I’m hearing about him on the radio, I’m finding myself cheering for the guy personally. He has a website www.coachmarctrestman.com where he has a book titled ‘Perseverance’, and I can totally relate to what that’s all about. He’s hung in there for decades, and now he’s getting a shot.

How can anyone not cheer for a guy like that to do well? Even as a Packer fan, I want the team to get good so the rivalry will really heat up. Both teams being good at the same time is great for the NFL, and even though I’ll be cheering for the Packers during all games I still like Trestman.

I didn’t have anything bad to say about the Bears’ last coach Lovie Smith. He said in his news conference that he wanted to ‘beat the Packers’ and I thought that was great. Very ballsy. He did it too – at least for the first few games. He had a respectable nine year run, and took the Bears to a Super Bowl. The guy isn’t going to starve to death, and I’m sure he’ll nail down another job.

I find myself cheering for quality people even above the teams they’re with. Lovie Smith has a classy aura about him, and I wish him nothing but the best. Forrest Gregg was a pompous ass and I was embarrassed the way he conducted business when he coached the Packers. I’m still loyal to the Packers, but if the Bears do well I’ll be happy for Marc Trestman. The guy earned his stripes.