YES! JOIN FOR FREE!
Enter your address below to receive free email alerts when a new comic or a blog post is published:
You may unsubscribe easily at any time & your email will never be shared with anyone!
SHARE
FOLLOW
SEARCH
EAGANBLOG ARCHIVE
Explore the current collection.

Category: Sports

Kiss This
They did it again at Wimbledon this year. After the awards ceremonies, champions Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic kissed their trophies. They did it repeatedly, but seemingly without passion.

They’ve been celebrating victory in tennis this way for as long as I can remember: kissing the trophy, smiling broadly, then kissing the trophy again. Over and over as the cameras click and whir. These champions are not really celebrating, though. The smiling part is genuine enough, but the kissing is almost certainly being done at the request of photographers.

It’s embarrassing, or should be, for everyone involved. I suppose we should cut some slack for the athletes themselves. Their ascendant performances, after all, are the reasons we are celebrating in the first place. They are in a generous mood during these moments of triumph and willing to accede to the lame suggestions from the crowd. We could hope for more dignity on their parts, but so far none has dared to resist the pleas of the press.

The photographers, for their part, have shown an abject failure of imagination in these matters. Instead of capturing something real or unpredictable, they shout out “Kiss it! Kiss it!” The champion kindly complies, and we get the same lame photo every year.

Rafael Nadal has tried to carve out his own exception to this sad tradition by gnawing the handles of his various pieces of hardware. Nice try, Rafa, but you still give in to the kiss requests. The women’s champions don’t really have the bite-it option since their trophy (at Wimbledon, at least) is not a cup but a plate. I keep hoping some rasty female winner will dare to bite her platter. That could end up looking a bit klutzy, but so does kissing the edge of a big silver plate.

I want to be fair. There have been genuine expressions of love between athletes and their metallic prizes. We have witnessed hugging, nuzzling, and even weeping. No less a champion than Michael Jordan blubbered like a toddler while clutching the very homely Larry O’Brien Trophy. The great Roger Federer has, in fact, shed tears over the Wimbledon trophy. Of course, that was because it was being handed to Rafael Nadal and not to him, but the emotion still seemed quite genuine.

It has been reported that hockey players have performed all kinds of lewd acts on the defenseless Stanley Cup. Most of this has taken place behind closed doors, but I have no doubt that those expressions of affection were sincere as well, albeit kinky. Consent by the trophy, I suppose, is assumed in such cases.

So that is all good. My quarrel here is with kissing done on command. It shames us all — especially the trophy and all that it represents about the game, sportsmanship, and fair play. Tennis trophies, moreover, are the most beautiful, especially in the Grand Slams. These bowls, cups, and plates are all both elegant and gorgeous. As the royalty of loving cups, they deserve something better than counterfeit passion. At the very least, they should have the respect of their suitors — no matter what the rabble might demand.

Yes, kiss the trophy. Just be sure you mean it.
There Can Only Be One
You’re starting to hear the question more and more these days: Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? Michael Jordan or Lebron James? You hear the question, but you seldom hear a definitive answer.

The “correct” answer for a long while has been MJ, with his high-flying acrobatics and multiple championships. But now Lebron has amassed such an impressive portfolio of performances and statistics that we can no longer fall back on that no-brainer response. As King James has caught up with the reputation Air Jordan, the evasions and weaseling by sports pundits has become more and more difficult to watch.

“You can’t really compare them” is the most common cop-out. The game has changed, these weaselers say, conditioning is different now, they come from two different eras, it’s apples and oranges, blah blah blah. It should be pointed out that the people making these excuses for not having an opinion are getting paid to have opinions. Don’t they realize that every time they hem and haw over this choice that their credibility takes a hit? This is sports we’re talking about, after all, not something of real importance.

This is not to say that passion for sport is without merit. Sports are a safe way to release our combative instincts in a peaceful world, and they should be honored for that. That is all the more reason not to go squishy when it comes to a question like this one. I am not interested in your caveats and your provisos and your it’s-too-haaard. I don’t listen to sports talk for reasoned debate and balanced detachment. I want strong positions, hotly defended.

Still waffling? I’ll make it easy for you. If you honestly don’t think you have a position, try this simple thought experiment: you’re down at the playground choosing up sides for a game of roundball, and the field of candidates includes every player who ever played, each at the peak of their powers. Who do you pick, Jordan or James? (And please, don’t give me Bill Russell or Oscar Robertson.)

You know very well what answer immediately leapt into your mind. But if you still need confirmation, let me ask you this: What if the game is just one-on-one, and you’re betting the house on the outcome…who wins?

Same answer, right? Lebron, of course.

Now stop wasting my time.
We Are the Champions
I’ll admit it. I can’t drain the three from half court the way Steph Curry does. I might be able to heave it in once in a hundred tries, but not with such grace and ease — and certainly not with such regularity. There is no way I could pick the hot grounder in the style of Brandon Crawford, either, much less plant and throw in one smooth, powerful motion. I am not a professional athlete.

But I am a fan, and I can appreciate these feats. My sinews twitch sympathetically when I witness that kind of physical mastery. It is as if my muscles are dreaming of such acts themselves, imagining greater versions of something similar they might have done.

What’s more, I have never brought tens of thousands to their feet, roaring their approval for my on-field heroics. I’ve had my moments, but never that kind of acclaim. Such ovations are reserved for a special few.

I am fine with that. When I root for Steph Curry, I can feel his basketball wizardry as if it were my own. Through Brandon Crawford, I can exhilarate in the cheers as if I were on the field with my teammates, hoisting the World Series trophy in celebration. This is the single greatest benefit of sports fanhood — being a vicarious champion.

And even though I find myself drifting away from the brutality of football, I can still stand at the very peak of that sport. This week I shared that mythic moment with journeyman back-up QB Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles. We rose to the moment with our against-all-odds, career-defining, MVP performance in the clutch. We basked together in the glow of victory. I have no bruises to show for my borrowed triumph, no gaudy ring, no winner’s purse. But I am fulfilled.

A paycheck? No thanks, I’m in it for the glory.
Little Big Man
The last time I was 5'6" tall I was an eighth grader. That's not exceptionally tall for a boy of that age, but it's above average. I remember hoping at the time that the trend would continue and I would grow up to be six feet plus as a man.

Well, here I am now, all grown up. And though I sometimes fantasize about being twelve or thirteen again, I never wish that I would shrink back down to my height at that age. It's better to be tall, I've always thought, no matter what.

But now - or at least this week - I have reconsidered my position. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be five feet, six inches. Or even five-five, as long as I was Jose Altuve.
first  previous  1  2  3  next  last
image
Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon