Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quick Takes - Funny losing

Stop smiling! They're terrible! What's happening?!

If you haven't seen the newest Golfpunk comic, where we recreate an infamous historical event with surprisingly little offensiveness, then what are you waiting for?! Click here and look at how pretty Lucius Wisniewski can draw.

Now that the administrative things are over. It's about time we got serious. When I think about serious things, I think about old people, their faces all grouchy and wrinkled, shaking their fists at young kids doing things they did when they were young but are now too old to remember doing. I think about chimney sweeps. Not the Dick van Dyke kind, who sing songs and are surprisingly merry (drugs?), but the really hardcore ones, the kind covered in soot, breathing black dust day and night and croaking inside an especially-compact chimney, only to be discovered a week later by some urchin boy who fell down looking for raccoons (dinner!).

But when I really think about serious things, I think about losing. There's nothing funny about losing, unless you lose so much all hope of winning ceases to exist. Only then can losing be funny, which is a bit ironic. I've seen that type of comical losing living in Chicago and going to Cubs games, talking to Cubs fans, and just being a transplanted Cubs fan. Nobody really worries about winning, and it's funny when they lose. It's really the strangest thing ever. The only other place I've seen it is in video games, where players, whether new to a game or just painfully shitty at games in general, repeatedly prance to their bloody, gory doom, only to respawn and repeat the same psychotic actions over and over again. Also strange, and also hilarious.

But it's weird being a sports fan; someone who cheers for a group of strangers to succeed because they simply play for a team that you associate with; someone who feels physical and emotional joy when those group of strangers play well enough to win, while also feeling physical and emotional pain when those strangers lose. I've always wondered why fans seem to take losing harder than players. Maybe because it's out of a fan's hands. The game happens whether they're there or not, watching or not, and that complete lack of control is gut-wrenching to the human species. We love control! We build our whole lives around control. And we control what teams we choose for, yet we don't control the outcomes of the games those teams play. That's just rough on us. But the players do control the outcome, and while they take losses hard (see: Adam Morrison in the NCAA Tournament), they know that whatever the outcome is happened as a result of their actions and their teammates' actions. It's in their hands, sometimes literally (right, Bobby Engram?), and there's something comforting about that, even in failure. It's much more comforting than watching something you care about fail and not being able to stop it.

So where does funny losing fit in? Funny losing removes "control" and replaces it with something bigger: Superstitions, curses, deities. Chicago Cubs fans actually believe that a gypsy with a goat cursed the team nearly 100 years ago, which is why they haven't won a World Series in a century. No one has to internalize the arduous, angsty battle of control that plagues our species. There's no control to subconsciously battle over. Period. There's a goat curse. There's Bill Buckner. There's entire cities who are plagued by some anti-winning demon. There's nothing we can do about it. There's nothing the players can do about it. So let's all drink Old Style and sing obnoxiously loud during the seventh inning stretch.

  • When John Elway came out in a radio interview critical of Tim Tebow last week, the outlash that followed from butthurt Broncos fans could only be described as overzealous. Elway said he was "surprised" by the reaction of fans to his smart, measured comments regarding the starting quarterback of his team, but I'm not sure he really knows what he's dealing with here. We're talking about Tim F***ing Tebow. The most adored athlete in human history. The son of god him/her/itself. Questioning Tim Tebow's skills as a quarterback is the modern day equivalent of questioning the Catholic church in the 12th Century.
  • Chelsea star Didier Drogba will reportedly go "wherever he's offered the most money" whenever he inevitably leaves his London club next year, according to his agent. Well, that makes things pretty easy: The New York Yankees are buying a striker!
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired head coach Jack Del Rio and are seeking to sell the team to a local Pakistani businessman who has vowed to "keep the team in Jacksonville," despite interest from Los Angeles to bring an NFL team back to the city of angels. If we've learned one thing from franchise sales and owners' empty promises in professional sports, it's that Seattle is going to get screwed.
  • Ndamukong Suh has been suspended two games by the NFL, and commissioner Roger Goddell has filed for witness protection.
  • A small tech company, Fuse Science Inc., has landed a major sponsorship deal to be on Tiger Woods' golf bag. The start-up company markets nutritional supplements and medicine that can be taken in drop form and absorbed quickly into the body. Woods is apparently working with them on a "Whoops!" 72-hour Plan B droplet.

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