Thursday, September 27, 2012

Honey Boo Boo, Football, & Kurt Busch

People love watching things that make them cringe.  If you don't believe me, then tell me you haven't heard of a show that involves a toothless child named Honey Boo Boo.  America is fascinated with this little girl whose mother has what my family would call "gradoo" growing within the folds of her neck and regularly grocery shops at a gas station. We feel nauseous as we watch it, but hey - we're watching it and isn't that the point?

I swore I wouldn't get sucked in but then Kris Jenner (of Kardashian fame) said that she "thinks the show is 'exploitative' and that the Thompson family is 'classless, unlike her family and [she] can't understand why America is so fascinated them'."

OMG.  If Kris Jenner is saying that, then it is a "must see."

As they say ("they" are always so smart!) "there's no such thing as bad press" and if you haven't been watching Honey Boo Boo, chances are you've been addicted to some other cringe-worthy television.

Professional football.

When it comes to football, I suffered a huge disappointment this week.  Even though I casually watched the Packers-Seahawks game on Monday night, I turned it off early to help my kids with their homework (silly mom) and I missed that controversial call at the end of the game.

But that's okay.  Because it has been replayed on every talk show, news show, and has been written about in detail in just about every publication I have opened in the 4 days since.  If you're like me and you missed it, this picture pretty much sums it up:

Yes.  That would be one replacement ref signalling "touchdown" while the other one is saying, "Nope."

Sports fans across the country were livid.  Their anger started building during the first half of the Broncos-Falcons game on Sunday, as two quarters took 5 hours because of poor officiating and John Fox's inability to stand behind that little white line, and then climaxed on Monday night.  Football fans have been demanding that the NFL replace the replacements with people who have officiated a sport other than curling.

All I can think is...why in the hell would they do that?

As a nation, we have become less focused on the economy because we have something more irritating to talk about.  Mitt Romney is breathing a sigh of relief that that whole "47%" comment has been replaced with headlines like "Ref Rage."  On The Today Show yesterday, everything they talked about - from cooking to foreign politics - seemed to go back to this ridiculous play on Monday Night Football.

"This chicken leg is great," said Al Roker to Martha Stewart.  "You know what's not great?  That call during the Packers-Seahawks game."

Never has the NFL been talked about so much.  I've found myself watching games with teams I really couldn't care less about just to see if one of the refs would finally declare someone "safe" in the end-zone and hand them roses as they come off the field.  And I know that many people were relieved to hear that the strike was over and that the old officials will be back this weekend.

But personally, I think they should have kept this going until next season: their ratings would have been through the roof and it probably would have been the Cleveland Browns' only chance of making it to the Superbowl.

All press is good press and this is something that Furniture Row Racing is probably figuring out this week.  In a stunning move (okay, maybe not "stunning."  Bold?  Ballsy?) they replaced their former driver, Regan Smith, with Kurt Busch and he'll be in the driver's seat before the end of the season.  Comments about this ranged the gamut, from indignant fans who didn't want to see Smith go to a conversion of fans over to the #78 because they just can't get enough of Busch.

He is, apparently, the driver that American loves to hate because of his...well...colorful vocabulary.  I've heard reports that the FRR shop plans to install a "Cuss Jar" and will use the proceeds for a group outing at the end of next season.

The team is estimating that they will be able to afford a European tour and be able to take along their significant others and extended family.

Anyway, the whole point is, people are talking about it and if what FRR wants it publicity, they've got it.  They've gone from a cursory mention in The Denver Post every so often to headlines all over the internet.  Their comments on Facebook went from a handful here and there to almost 300 the day they made the announcement.  They've hired a guy who a lot of people secretly love because he's a loose cannon.  And those people will watch that team every weekend, even if it's just to cheer against him.

None of this should surprise anyone anymore.  In this country, fame can be built on a foundation of sex tapes that get "secretly" leaked to the press, bad hygiene is enough to base a television show on, and it doesn't matter how many good deeds you do - if you're caught topless on a private vacation, that's the real headline.

So, use subtitles even though you're speaking English.  Make as many bad calls as you want to.  Mr. Censor - get your fingers ready to do some real-time editing on race day.

You know.  'Cause we're all watching.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unofficial Officials and the Joys of the New NFL Season

Football season has started and no one is happier about that than I am.  I'm a Steeler's fan (I, hiss) and always will be.  That is, unless I move.  No, I'm not based in Pittsburgh, I'm in the heart of Bronco country.  But since my late husband decorated our entire basement in Steeler's paraphernalia (including painting the walls a combination of charcoal gray and yellow) it's just cheaper for me to root for the Steelers than it is to redecorate an entire floor of my house.

So, basically I'm a devoted Steeler's fan because my decor tells me to be.

I used to love football season because I wasn't a football fan at all.  As soon as the first kick was in the air at 11 AM, my husband would settle himself in for a day of television at which point I would say, "Well, since you're going to be here anyway and you can watch the kids (sort of), I guess I'll go shopping.  Just throw out a snack for them around halftime."

The weird thing is that I became more of a football fan after he died, mainly because I felt like someone needed to carry the Steelers torch in my Saints loving/Broncos devoted family.  I think my husband would be proud that I have carried on his tradition of "whoever you're going to root for, I'm going to pick the other team."  And in the last few years, I have gotten great enjoyment (as he did) pissing people off.  Just because I can.

The truth is, I don't really know the ins and outs of the game all that well.  I generally know when people are running in the right direction and can cheer accordingly, but when there is an actual penalty I very rarely know what it's for.  I guess I just don't have a knack for it because I spent my high school and college years at football games and then married a devoted fan and still haven't been able to grasp the details.  I'll never forget, about 2 years into our marriage, watching a Packer's game at a friend's house and asking loudly, "So...what exactly is a down?"

My husband stared at me in stunned silence and then said, "You don't know what a down is?"

I was embarrassed about that for years until one of my friends said, "That's nothing.  I once asked everyone at a party how they're able to paint that yellow line on the field so fast."

That made me feel better.

Football this year has been especially entertaining because of the officials.  For those of you who have been too busy watching tennis to know what's going on, the official officials are on strike and so we have been stuck with what one announcer called "6th string officials."  Apparently college football has taken what would have been the NFL's second, third, fourth, and fifth choices and has left professional football with bunch of guys who would usually be getting ready for duck hunting season right now.  Because every time a flag is thrown, you can see the panic on their faces as they convene to see what it was thrown for.

"Okay, who threw that?"

"Wasn't me."

"Not me."

"I just needed to blow my nose.  Sorry."

"Well, we have to come up with something.  How about a delay of game with too many players on the field, a false start, and a large pizza?"

"Sounds good."

My boyfriend has been particularly annoyed with all of the celebrating going on with the players this year.  It seems like after every play with a gain of 1/2 a yard, there is at least one guy who starts flapping his arms up and down like he's at a rave.

"What are you celebrating?" Mike will scream at the TV.  "You didn't do anything!"

We've only watched a handful of regular season games, but I think by the end of the season Mike will be petitioning the NFL for more armless players.

The celebrating doesn't annoy me.  I find it intriguing.  Is this a new side-effect of steroids?  Do these guys practice this?  Do they go home and stand in front of a full-length mirror and start pumping their arms up and down and then say, "No.  That's not quite it" and then start fluttering their legs back and forth like demented middle schoolers? 

More importantly, are their wives sitting at home watching them on TV, hands over their eyes saying, "Please don't do it.  Just this once."

I don't know.  Maybe it makes you feel really good to celebrate every little thing that happens in your life, like the gain of 2 inches (must be a man thing) or pummeling another guy into the ground so hard that his athletic cup shoots into his sock.

I really shouldn't judge before I try it.

From now on, when I pick my kids up at school (because the alternative is that I'll forget and leave them there), I'm going to jump up and down waving my hands yelling, "Yeah, baby!"  The second I put dinner on the table, I'm going to run a lap around the house saying, "WHO DAT?" over and over again.  If my kids successfully get their homework done, I'm going to demand a belly bump from each one of them and then get in their faces and scream, "You got this!"

I may look silly.  But at least I won't be doing it on national television.