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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

All I’m Asking for Is a Sporting Chance

I apologize in advance for any random expletives or outbursts that work their way into this post.

(Of course, I stand by the planned expletives and outbursts. Those will proceed as scheduled.)

I’m watching my favorite baseball team and my favorite football team at the same time. I’m doing so using a little TiVo trick a buddy of mine taught me, pausing the game on one tuner and watching the other until a commercial, then catching up during the advertising break. So far, I haven’t missed anything important — not a single at-bat, play, kickoff, or crotch scratch.

(All right, so I probably missed a few crotch scrathes, and quite a bit of the spitting. Hopefully, I’ve avoided many of the ass-pats, too. Is that (Fuck! Dammit! Down 4-0 in the baseball game now.) shit really necessary?)

But I’m catching all the good stuff… except for the fact that the ‘good stuff’ has been pretty teeth-gnashingly miserable so far. Shut out in baseball, and down thirteen points in football. Bitches.

(And bastards, dammit! A punt return TD called back! Fuckmonkeys!)

Anyway, I may be a little distracted tonight.

(Or distracting, depending on how hard it is for you to follow this shit. And I can’t imagine it’s easy.)

So bear with me — we’ll get through this together, okay?

Frankly, I’m a little surprised that these games are (Woo hoo! Touchdown, good guys! Rock on!) going so craptastically tonight. These things usually go in bunches for me — either the whole day sucks ass, or it’s all nice and tingly all over.

(A lesser blogger might suggest that it’s pretty much like oral sex in that way. Me, I’m above crude shit like that. Or beside it. Or right in the middle of it; I can really never remember which it is. But I digress.)

The point is, my sports teams seem to just know when I’m paying attention, and conspire to elate or disgust me. They must have some impromptu conference call or something, and flip a coin, and then decide to kick ass or throw their respective games. Really. No, I mean it. That’s the way it always goes. What other explanation could there be?

So tonight’s athletic incompetence (so far) is more than a little surprising. (Oh, shit. The baseball team’s making Bad News Bears plays on the basepaths. Whew! It didn’t cost them — and the umpires blew a call to let us score. Eh, I’ll take it. A run’s a run.) But early in the day, things went just swimmingly. Peachily, even. The Red Sox won, and the Patriots won, and our softball team (speaking of the bungling Bears) also won. So all’s well in Beantown today. Maybe someone else’s favorite teams are lining up for them today. Because my non-New England loves are frittering away their games as I speak. Er, type. You know what the hell I mean.

(And, just for the record, while my baseball buds were eking out an undeserved run, the football lads gave up another touchdown. Dagnabbit!)

So, maybe I’m not the exact epicenter of the universe, after all.

(Although I should be, of course. There is no cosmological theory quite as enticing as the Charliocentric Universe Hypothesis. Wouldn’t you agree?)

I was just beginning to think that the stars were aligning themselves for me, too. After fifteen-plus years of anxiety and frustration, my beloved Syracuse Orangemen went all the way in the NCAA basketball tourney. Surely triumphs in the other major sports wouldn’t be far behind, right? Um, right?

Wrong, or so it would seem. At least the losing’s a little easier these days. For one thing, I’m getting used to it.

(Did I mention I like the Hawks in the NBA? What a bunch of sorry sad sacks they are. Dominique Wilkins, where art thou?)

More importantly for my sanity, though, I’ve finally — like, a couple of months ago — learned that what I do has no effect on these highly trained, finely tuned strangers playing their games hundreds of miles away. And yes, for you non-diehard fans, I’m fully aware that this sort of obvious concept shouldn’t have taken thirty-plus years to sink into my thick skull. I’m fairly well versed in the concepts of physics and cause-and-effect, so in my brain, I suppose I’ve always known that I’m nothing more than an impotent bystander. An observer. Mere window dressing.

Ah, but in my heart, I allowed that my brain might — just might be mistaken.

(Hey, if you knew my brain as well as my other body parts do, you wouldn’t just assume everything it comes up with is reasonable, either. My brain is pretty full of shit sometimes. As is my blog, but that’s another beast entirely. Let’s focus here.)

And so, just in case, I used to do all sorts of ridiculous bullshit to ‘help’ my teams. If they were losing while I sat, I’d stand. If they started coming back, I’d stay on my feet for the rest of the game. (I once made the mistake of doing that during a five-hour multi-overtime hockey game. Dumbass.) If I clapped, it would be an even number of claps. Same with kneeslaps, joyous leaps, or even finger-crossings.

(Yes, all of the players on all of my sports teams just happen to obsessively prefer even numbers over odds. I don’t know why. Bunch of whacked-out neurotics, if you ask me. But, you know — that’s just me talking. If that’s what they want, that’s what I’ll do. Who am I to upset the delicate psyches of today’s professional athletes?)

So, in years past, those watching sports with me would see some pretty ridiculous crap. (Bitches! Interception returned for a TD! Crap salad!) If I was touching my nose when my team scored, I’d keep touching my nose. Hell, if I was picking my nose and they happened to make a great play, then I’d keep my finger up there all night. If it worked, I might jam one up the other nostril, too. Sure, I’d look like a dork — a mouth-breathing dork, pretty much by definition at that point — but if it got us a win, then so be it. I’m willing to take one for the team.

Or rather, I was willing. I don’t know whether I’m just older, or more apathetic (or plain pathetic), but I can’t do it any more. The jinxes, the rally caps, the willing my team to victory — it’s all down the toilet. Sure, I’m still pretty, um, animated during games. I bitch, and curse, and jump, and cheer, but not in any particular way or rhythm now. It’s finally gotten through to me — what I do, or don’t do, or pick, or don’t pick, simply doesn’t matter. It’s sad, really. Kind of depressing. (Wah!)

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make the losses hurt any less. I still live and die with my teams; I just look less like a dork while I’m doing it. My in-game geekiness used to be off the scale; now it’s somewhere between baby-talking to the dog and my ‘Macarena’ dancing. In other words, not good. But not likely to cause my wife to divorce me, either. So that’s a solid improvement.

At least I never went so far as to paint my face for a game. Or worse still, my whole body, like some of the freakshows out there.

(Do you know how hard it is to get spray paint washed out of your crotch hair? Well, me, either. And I’d like to keep it that way, if you don’t mind. Unless the wife has some sort of kinky Goldfinger fantasy that I don’t know about. For that, I’d make an exception. But just for that.)

(Fuck! Another run against in the baseball game. Down four in the ninth. Guh.)

Well, it looks like neither of my teams is likely to mount a raging comeback tonight. My baseball team will be out of the playoffs, and the football team will sink further in the standings. Suck, suck, suck, suck, suck. Sure, it’s nothing to do with me, really, but that’s still hard to stomach. I want to do something to pull these losers out of the hole they’ve dug themselves. But I can’t. And that doesn’t sit well. I’ll be a pissy bitch all day tomorrow.

(Pissier, anyway, and bitchier, too. If such things are in the realm of possibility.)

And I suppose it’s fathomable that my teams will mount surging comebacks, and take these games, after all. It ain’t over till it’s over, right? But I’m not counting on it. Nor am I going to jam my thumbs up my nose, or clap exactly twenty-six times, to try to make it happen. Those days are over. These friggin’ guys are just going to have to find a way to do it themselves. But apparently, not tonight. *sigh*

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