Friday, June 24, 2011

The Sports Doldrums, Yar!

Let's say I'm on a boat. Not with "my flippie-floppies" on a yacht like that hilarious hip-hop tune; I'm talking about an old-school frigate. Rigging, spars, yardarm, the whole nine yards (cubits?). I'm in the midst of my yearly global circuit of trade, taking me to exotic ports at all points of the compass. Currently, my vessel, the S.S. Over-Enthused Fan, is docked in the exotic Dos Isles Del Draft, a pairing of fertile islands where the indigenous people engage in an ancient annual rite. Calling not only on their native sons, but upon young warriors from distant lands, this sacred ritual signals a passage into manhood for members of the two tribes: The Fellowship Of The Hoop, and They Who Glide On Skates And Knock The Crap Out Of Each Other.

Soon, however, our stay in this pleasant land must end. A day in the life of a captain:

Captain's Log: 24th June, in the Year of Our Lord David Stern, 2011, 10:15 AM. Observed the naming ritual for the Fellowship Of The Hoop last night with crew. Noted an unusually disorganized and strange movement among the elders of the tribe. First Mate observed that Elder Kahn Timberwolf is still an incompetent fool who does not seem to grasp the purpose of the ceremony. I concur. Much dismay voiced by seaman Bob from the Fair City of Cleveland over naming of a young warrior called Tristan Thompson. Crew consoled him with copious amounts of rum and rereading of missives detailing the fall of Cleveland defector LeBron James.

12:26 PM. Over noon repast, lively debate among crew over whether newly named warrior Jimmer of the Clan Cowbell will be able to assimilate with fellow clansmen Evans and Cousins. Lunch ended in gales of laughter when someone uttered the phrase "Metta World Peace."

1:24 PM. Crew ambivalent about tonight's They Who Glide On Ice And Knock The Crap Out Of Each Other naming ceremony, as none of us ever know what's going on or who the new warriors are. However, we must remain, as this will be the last important cargo we can take on for another month or two at the least.

1:31 PM. Crew demands that before continuing our planned journey, we make a stop in the Czech Republic in an attempt to locate other women who look like Jan Vesely's girlfriend. I happily assent.

1:48 PM. We leave on the morrow. After consulting with First Mate, we conclude that we should have fair winds through the Straits of Wimbledon, aided by the meteorological phenomenon that occurs ever few years, the FIFA Women's World Cup. (USA! USA!) We also have favorable news of the Omaha currents, which flow swiftly by the Cape of College Diamonds. They should see us safely on our way from Dos Isles Del Draft for a fortnight or so.

2:06 PM. Further consultation. We gazed in apprehension at the map. The Tennis and Soccer Winds and Omaha currents will soon give way to the treacherous swath of seas know as the "All-Star Break(ers)" There is always a terrible chance of being becalmed and stranded there until mid-August. We are uncertain whether our cargo of mid-season injuries, slow-paced games, and over-priced hotdogs and beer will be sufficient to sustain us if no significant pennant developments occur. It is a beautiful stretch of ocean to behold, full of much that is wondrous, but still a danger to movement and enthusiasm. When a ship becomes listless, one risks profound boredom for and possible mutiny from the crew, no matter how fervently a captain may attempt to rally them with reversed caps and monkeys. I resign to implement motivational ploys such as VORP (Value Over Replacement Pirate) and ERA (Earned Rowing Average) to keep the crew motivated. Advanced Metrics, Yar!!! If they fail to measure up, they will walk the plank and be sent down to Davy Jones' AAA Locker(room).

3:45 PM. Disturbing reports from many quarters. Our usually profitable stops in Hardwoodport and The Bay of Gridiron may be aborted. We make for these refuges of succor during the Fall and Winter months, to take on an abundant cargo of joy and entertainment. (And spices.) Sadly, both locations are suffering from a severe outbreak of what is commonly known as the Lockout Plague. (Ship's doctor informs me that the medical term is Owner's Greedia Exhorbitus.) Our grey-bearded helmsman terrified the crew with accounts of the last time he visited ports where that horrible disease had struck. Symptoms include lack of emotional rudder, heavier-than-usual drinking, and unnatural interest in Cricket. It sounds a terrifying thing to endure.

4:45 PM. We elected to take on our cargo early and depart before the They Who Glide On Ice, etc. naming ceremony. You can't really blame us. Anchors away!

5:19 PM. We fear the Lockout Plague may not run its course by the time we make our scheduled stops in Autumn. We resolve instead to make for the lively coastal metropolis of Encee-Ay-Ay. It is a usual port-of-call for us, but this time we may need to spend the entire Winter there. Barricaded behind their thick walls of marble and Amateur Status, they remain untouched by the Lockout Plague. Encee-Ay-Ay is not an altogether pleasant destination. There are a few dockside brigands selling gold pants and other corrupt merchandise, and some of the most prominent traders routinely engage in violations of various sorts. Nonetheless, their goods are, on the whole, profitable and enjoyable. Any port in the storm.

6:28 PM. Vessel sunk under the weight of overwrought nautical/sports metaphors. Gave order to abandon ship with as much cargo as we could reasonably take off. Currently stuck on a lifeboat with obnoxious Boston, LA, and New York fans, and one strange fellow who claims to be a genuine supporter of some place called "Miami", which apparently has a basketball team. I remain dubious of his sincerity.

7:06 PM. Mercifully, we salvaged a keg of ale and some BBQ Wings from the cargo hold, and First Mate's iPad has the "MLB Total Package" app. All is not lost.

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