Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Those I love to hate

A decent percentage of my sports-watching time is dedicated to enjoying the failures of the players and teams that I strongly dislike. Is this sick? Perhaps. Unhealthy? Maybe. But it's part of being a sports fan. Bill Simmons calls it sports-hate.

When you watch enough sports (or more than enough, in my case), you're bound to gain an appreciation for some players, and an attendant desire to see them succeed. But the other side of that coin is that you're going to come to root against other players. Maybe a player is a thorn in the side of your favorite team; perhaps another player just rubs you the wrong way. As Simmons says, "there doesn't have to be anything rational about it." (Another important note: it's not real hate. In the end, it's all in good fun.) For the same sometimes-inexplicable reasons we come to dislike politicians, actors and TV personalities, sometimes we just want to see an athlete or team go down in flames.

On that note, the next couple of posts are dedicated to some of the people and things I've been loving to hate of late:

Notre Dame football

I've already explained some of the reasons I despise Notre Dame. And since I wrote that blog post, the fightless Irish lost to Navy, Pitt, UConn and Stanford. They get their glory from God, I get mine from watching the annual Notre Dame free fall. Glorious, indeed.

Four straight losses to end the season. A 6-6 record. And then something we all knew was coming: Charlie Weis got the axe. Despite six years remaining on that ridiculous contract that's bigger than Weis himself, Notre Dame had little choice but to can the man they so recently anointed their savior. Since Bob Davie and Ty Willingham were unceremoniously and unrightfully dispatched earlier than they should have been, Weis and his sub-Davie and sub-Willingham record had to go as well.

But here's what capped it off for me: Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, the man who fired Weis, announced last week that Notre Dame would not participate in a bowl game despite the fact that they qualified for one. As far as I can tell, their reasons were:

1) They don't have a coach (as if none of the assistants could fill in)
2) They wouldn't get invited to a high-profile bowl (possible destinations were The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, the EagleBank Bowl, the Humanitarian Bowl, and the GMAC Bowl)
3) Said low-profile bowl wouldn't result in a high enough payout

Waaaaah! Waaaaah! We're too good for those bowls!

The Irish can use all the practice they can get. And by that I mean a) they shouldn't be turning down an opportunity to play another game, and b) playing in a bowl game would have enabled them (from an NCAA standpoint) to hold 15 additional practices. They're too good to be in a conference, and now they're too good to play in a low-profile bowl game. For a team that's too good for just about everything, they're not very good.

Brett Favre

I've admitted that in his last years in Green Bay, I couldn't bring myself to detest Favre the way I did in years prior. He was just too damn good, and he was too likable while he was out there on the field.

But his multiple retirements and press conference histrionics put him right back into the bullseye of my sports-hate dartboard (I don't really have one of those, though it actually sounds like a pretty cool idea). He may be a football king on the field, but he's sure a drama queen off of it.

Obviously there hasn't been much to make fun of this season when it comes to Favre. But Sunday night provided a much-needed sports-hate opportunity. Needing a win to keep pace with the Saints in the race for homefield advantage, Favre and the Vikes laid an egg in Arizona. Two picks for the old man, a Cutler-like QB rating and a blowout loss.


If it were tangible, I would bathe in it.


  1. With all of your negative comments about Notre Dame, I am starting to develop blog-hate

  2. Let me know when you get one of those dartboards -- I would like to use it as well. This could be the next "pet rock", which, by the way, I never owned. But the dartboard idea - all over it! And the above mentioned QB would be in the center.