By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Look at this guy. Look at him. I’m used to hearing Cubs fans annually “quit” their fanship like it was smoking or coordinating fights between homeless people for the purposes of gambling, but there’s never any serious meat to it because Cubs fans are the Stockholm syndrome of sports. But a Blackhawks fan?
I’m split on this dude. Half of me is soaking in schadenfreude because a) hahahahahah sucks to be him, and b) no true fan does this. As a fan, you have to realize you’re at the mercy of a business, no matter how much that reality sucks. You don’t quit or take a sabbatical, though.
The other half of me admires this guy’s tenacity. Sometimes you have to respect a person’s commitment to a bad choice. It’s like when that fan went after Randy Myers on the mound after declaring he would if Myers gave up a home run. Beyond dumb and wrong, but it still gives you pause and makes you think, “Damn, he walked the walk.”
On to your correspondence. All emails and tweets are unedited:
Is booing a player that used to play for your rooting interest on the Mt Rushmore of dumb sports things? #TFMB—@DerekSelf1
Booing a guy who used to be on your favorite team and now is on another team is beyond stupid. “How dare you take a contract that you feel is better for you than what the team I like was willing to give you, jerk!” How about people at a job you used to work at but moved on from boo you for bettering your situation, idiot fan? My favorite is the colossal bag of dumb that is when fans boo a guy that their team traded and didn’t even leave via free agency.
I don’t boo at live sporting events anyway. This is mostly due to the uncreativity of it. Is that really the best negative reaction you can do? Really? Say an extended “boooooo” out loud right now. Do it. I don’t care if there are people around you—actually, it’s better if there are people around you. “Boooooooooo.” Notice the looks you’re getting. It’s as though people think you’re a massive moron. Now you have to come up with some excuse to make those coworkers or people in line at the deli counter or your parole officer think you’re booing ironically. Well, doing the same thing in an arena with thousands of other equally moronic people essentially sounding like pissed off cattle doesn’t justify it.
Be creative, damn it. There is an art to proper heckling. It doesn’t involve droning the same thing with others. It doesn’t involve curse words or projectiles. It involves being genuinely funny. It’s a unique sign, not one that’s been done before (looking at you, dorks that keep bringing giant cardboard heads to games). It’s the guys at HockeeNight.com giving Dan Carcillo his new nickname. Step it up, people.
Does #twitter give everyone a pass for having bad grammar or just professional athletes? #grammarnaziquestion—@bryan_bradshaw
Twitter has morphed into an advertisement for one’s self, one’s brand. What pictures you post, what famous hollow sayings you copy and paste and pretend are profound, what complaints about your day you make that are obviously way worse than cancer—all are what you’re branding yourself as.
Proper grammar, as many other forms of expression of intelligence, is resisted and mocked by greater social media society because greater society is stupid. The “Dude, relax, it’s just Twitter” excuse says a lot about what we’ve devolved into. Stupid people dislike smart people because they see smart people as a representation of their own shortcomings, and people are not allowed to do self-reflection and try to better ourselves anymore. Much easier and preferred to take a dump on smart people for being different and respecting themselves. That’s why people get labeled as “nerds” and the smart kids get picked on by dumb bullies who hate themselves and quietly wish they were as smart as the kid they’re wedgying (unless the smart kid is like me and is smooth enough to finagle is way into the cool crowd early on).
Using proper grammar, then, goes toward the brand you are building on Twitter. As most pro athletes are very large brands that extend to multiple outlets, typing intelligently is a “could hurt, can’t help” approach. Nine out of ten athletes don’t profit from their brains, and to appear un-nerdy goes toward either establishing credibility with the stupid either as one of them, too, or too cool to waste time thinking. Most could care less if a pro jock speaks in complete sentences, let alone type in them. Spelling? Grammar? Ha. Factor in, too, the amount of athletes who are products of schools that let them coast through with actually learning anything.
But just let someone who isn’t a fan of me catch me using “accept” instead of “except,” and it’s like flies to a turd, and then I’m an idiot and how in the world can I be a teacher and strangers get to feel better about themselves because of a mistake I made typing on a cell phone. It’s a lovely world, that Internet.
My young son has decided to like hockey. I need help on how to teach him how to watch. Hints?—@DanKrueger
It sounds as though you aren’t well-versed in the game yourself, so it likely would be a Carcillo-leading-the-Bollig situation if you tried to “teach” the youngster (that’s a bad thing, by the way). How about something a bit different, such as you and your son learning the game together?
In my younger years I always enjoyed watching hockey, especially live because it wasn’t on TV too often in Chicago, but then some lean years for the Blackhawks led me to abandon the sport somewhat for a while. When I chose to start caring more about the Blackhawks years ago, I didn’t have any sort of mentor and had to learn through sheer absorption. You and your son can do the same. Listen to Foley and Olczyk carefully (but don’t point out to the kid the intentional or unintentional innuendos they use). Read up on the team via the talented and really informative and funny Hawks bloggers in this town like The Red Light District, The Committed Indian, Second City Hockey, and Hockee Night (beware of some particularly spicy language those places tend to use, though).
And if possible, go to games together. Live hockey is not only a great time, but it’s a very educational experience. Blackhawks fans are extremely knowledgeable as a whole and very willing to talk about the game, whether you ask them to or not (meaning you walked across a row of seats while skating was going on instead of after a whistle). They’re friendly overall, and if you’re not annoying or cause a distraction with questions, they’ll help you out. Just listening to much of the chatter can be a learning experience in itself.
Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.
Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at email@example.com. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.