Like most American sports fans, I got up this morning with a generally happy feeling since our good friends from Duke were eliminated last night by VCU in the NCAA Tournament. Being a Michigan fan I will always sting a bit from losing to Duke in the 1992 NCAA Final, so seeing them go down is always a joy, and a little schandefreude never hurt anyone. I then made the horrible decision of reading Jay Mariotti's column today in the Chicago Sun-Times, and now my happiness has turned to anger.
You probably know Jay as the idiot spouting off random garbage on Around the Horn. He's generally regarded as a douche by pretty much everyone in sports and even has a great blog, Jay the Joke, dedicated to showing on a daily basis how much of a ignorant prick this guy is. Normally he sticks to talking about Chicago sports so in general just draws little disgust from yours truly, but today he decided to delve into a national story, with predictable results.
In today's column, Jay scolds us all for hating Duke. Apparently since Jay is such an enlightened individual who couldn't possibly hate ANY team (*cough*White Sox*cough*) that he's disgusted with the fact that people hate such a great program. Let's take a look at some of knowledge he attempts to give us.
"It probably isn't healthy to hate a college basketball team, given all the terrorists and real blowhards out there. But somehow, for reasons the creeps might struggle to explain in their dark attics, Duke has become Dreck. In truth, Krzyzewski has been as vital as any college coach over the last 20 years, conducting a clean program with class and high academia while winning enough to draw comparisons to John Wooden."
You have to love the first argument here. Thank you for putting perspective into my life Jay. There's something more important than hating a college basketball team? Really? I think we all grasp the concept that there are things in life more important than sports. This is what I call a "crutch" argument that people make who really don't have much of a base for criticism. Why is that? Because it works for EVERYTHING! Is there really anything that could top terrorists on things to hate for a rational person? Exactly. It's a shallow argument. Moving on Jay decides to show us that he's so high above us fans by calling us "creeps." Cute. If you were really that high and mighty then you wouldn't need to resort to childish name calling. Since you called me a name (since I have a severe dislike for Duke) let me retort Jay by calling you a pompous blowhard. Ah, that felt good. Also Jay decides to bust out a cute nickname for Duke saying that we've turned them into "Dreck." Wow, really insightful writing. I'm impressed. Did it take you a bit to think of that witty moniker? Let's keep going in the column.
"Allow me to play shrink and guess that people loathe Duke for the same reasons they loathe privileged families and silver spoons. They see an elite, private school that has had a consistent pipeline to the best and brightest players. They see a program that doesn't have to cheat because talent comes to it. They see affluence, snobbery and a lacrosse scandal that widened the divide between the university and a racially mixed community in Durham, N.C. They see, in Krzyzewski, a disingenuous hypocrite who is supposed to represent amateur athletics but gets more ad time than the Geico cavemen -- and who recently defended Henderson after a dirty shot that bloodied and broke the nose of Hansbrough, the North Carolina star. "
Wow. Thank you so much Jay for explaining why I hate Duke. You are so smart! It's funny because that's really not the reason I have a severe dislike (the word hate makes Jay's ears burn) for Duke. I don't like Duke because they beat Michigan in the 1992 NCAA Final, and jackasses like you continually cram this program down my throat. I could care less about them being rich kids with trust funds. I don't give a damn. Anyone who went to a big University ran with some of these privileged kids. It's the same everywhere. The reason people hate Duke is because we're fans and fans hate some teams. Simple. People tend to hate teams that are good for a really long time and are jammed down our throats by the media. Jay compares Duke to Notre Dame and the Yankees earlier in the column and that just proves my point. All three of those teams are consistently good (except Notre Dame...ZING~!) and are universally loved the media, therefore making them easy to hate. It's really that simple. Jay, though, tries to take a simple explanation and turn it into a larger social commentary. Not really surprised he tries to make something out of nothing.
"It has been a trying experience for Krzyzewski, but not so hellish that he didn't keep perspective. At one point, he told his players, ''We're playing the game of basketball. As hard as it is, it's not like having cancer or anything. We don't have something bad happening to us.'' You only wish some of the haters had that worldly depth. ''No one is ever going to pay attention to the age of my team -- they're only going to pay attention to the age of me and my program,'' he said. ''That dynamic creates amazing things.''
So Jay sums things up by again telling us that we need some perspective on life. Why pay any attention to sports at all with so much more important stuff going on? The irony is that this is all coming from a man who made the biggest deal possible of Ozzie Guillen calling him a gay slur. Aren't there more important things going on in the world Jay? Do we really need to care about what some guy called you when there are terrorists out there? See how easy it is to make that argument?
In the end Jay Mariotti is just a pompous jackass who thinks he is above all of us fans and makes horrible arguments to "prove" his point. Seriously Jay, just shut the hell up.