By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) [flashback to last evening] Oh, joy. The NFL Draft is upon us! Whatever shall the Bears do? I don’t think there has been a draft in which there existed so many possibilities for them. Several needs exist, but with the 20th pick they really can’t go wrong with the best player available either. I’d be fine trading down and gathering picks, too. My excitement is palpable!
Welp, offensive linemen are being swept up like everyone assumed they’d be. No worries. That’s not something the Bears absolutely have to address at 20. If a top linebacker or tight end is available, that’s where they’ll likely go and get value on the o-line in the second round. My buzz is still there.
Damn, what is going on with Sharrif Floyd? Thought he would be gone in the top five. Well, at least he can’t get to a Bears division foe.
Wow, it looks like Tyler Eiffert, Alec Ogletree, Justin Pugh, Floyd, and, uh oh, even Manti Te’o will be available for the Bears. Man, I’m actually getting butterflies. Kind of an embarrassment of options at 20 all of a sudden. Oh, there’s goes Pugh to the Giants. Bears on the clock!
Twitter isn’t hinting at anything. Lots of people assuming it’s Eiffert. Trepidation that it’ll be Te’o, but I don’t think anyone really believes that. This is taking too long. Did Phil Emery find a trade partner? Hey! Pick is in!
Weekend. Go long.
On to your correspondence.
Who will be the next “folk hero” that Cubs fans fall in love with? My money’s on Nate Schierholtz. #TFMB—@PrazMaster
No, no, no. Schierholtz doesn’t possess the necessary qualities for Cubs folk heroism. He’s not a guy who only has speed in a game that’s beginning to deviate away from guys with only that tool, a la Tony Campana. He doesn’t play with reckless abandon to make up for being otherwise dangerously average, a la Reed Johnson. He’s not a bench guy people clamor for to start, a la Steve Clevenger.
A Cubs folk hero needs to separate himself from the pack. He needs something you can’t learn in the minors. A peculiarity, a quality that isn’t exactly talent-related. I give you… Cody Ransom. What will endear him to the hearts of the Cub brainless? He’s thirty-freaking-seven years old and has only 600+ ABs in the Majors. He wears jersey number 1. He’s a Crash Davis. Give him one three-hit game or a walk-off single, and he’s the idol delusional Cubs fans will kneel before to ignore the futility of the whole.
could you write a piece on your definition of a sport, where you draw the line at and what you consider a sport or not?—@kevjach
I bang this drum usually when we come upon an Olympics. As I wrote last summer, gymnastics is not a sport. A competition, yes, but not a sport. Nothing that is scored completely subjectively (that means ‘by judges’) is a sport. And rhythmic gymnastics? That’s dancing, not athletics. Same with synchronized swimming. This is not what the Ancient Greeks had in mind. What kind of superiority do these events prove?
One of our greater sins as collective sports viewers is standing idly by while ESPN parades the Scripps National Spelling Bee out as sport. Since 1994 we’ve tuned in to point and laugh at the little freaks who know how to spell words that we can’t and will grow up to hire and fire our kids at will. The World Wide Leader’s portrayal of helicopter parent products on a sports network is the earliest example of what is now commonplace on basic cable—programming that doesn’t fit the original intent of the network.
Simply, what separates a sport from a competition are three criteria. 1) The existence of a fairly rigid, objective scoring/elimination system. Bye, figure skating and pommel horse. 2) Players predominantly determining the outcome. The mercy of judges and a flawed human element—while on rare occasions prevalent—is a lesser factor in a sport. This is why boxing is a sport, for example. 3) Participation relying on much more the physical than mental. Sorry, spelling bees and board games.
Also, this is not to take away from competitions. My argument makes them no less difficult or enjoyable, makes the competitors no less skilled. Just don’t call them sports.
#TFMB Albany NY teacher assigned essay to be written from Nazi propaganda POV. Any assignment for which you wished a mulligan?—@David_Spellman
Can’t say I have one on a level like that. For me it’s usually an accessory to a lesson or unit that falls flat. I recall a few years ago in my British Lit. class the crickets chirping after I played a clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It hurt my soul that those kids couldn’t appreciate such comedic genius and that I’d have to fail them for it. Live and learn.
I feel for that teacher, though, even if I don’t condone the assignment. Giving him/her the benefit of the doubt that there isn’t any harbored anti-Semitism, I assume the motivation was to immerse the students in a topic that they have a disconnect with (Night is a memoir of a Holocaust survivor)—and coming from someone who just finished reading the book with three classes of freshmen, I can say they have little idea of what the Holocaust was other than “Hitler killed Jews”—and to strengthen writing skills by being forced to argue from a position students likely wouldn’t agree with. It’s done in classrooms all the time, though usually the topics are a bit less incendiary—pro- or anti-climate change, driving age, paying college athletes, etc. Asking kids to roleplay as Nazis is a bit much, though. Hopefully the teacher’s heart was in the right place, and she certainly isn’t as stupid as this one.
Here’s your Angry Penn State Fan of the Week:
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.