By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) A few notes before getting to your questions this week. First, after a tumultuous few days of polarization between people on the right side of history and intolerant jerks—particularly when invoking religion into the matter of Jason Collins’ coming out—kudos to Fr. James Martin for writing about the need to accept and love Collins and his bravery.
Martin hit on some major points that bigots would otherwise use as ammo, notably that God created Collins as he is (therefore, Collins isn’t choosing to be gay) and that Tim Tebow and Collins’ stories don’t compare. Well done, Fr. Martin.
Susannah Collins was canned by Comcast Sports Net Thursday night, though as of this writing there hasn’t been a clear explanation as to why. The scapegoat as of now is not her verbal sex faux pas on air Tuesday, but instead a series of raunchy videos she was in prior to working at CSN that she was never trying to keep secret in the first place. There’s speculation already that this may be more coming from the Blackhawks than Comcast. (The Blackhawks own 25 percent of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago.) Either way, this seems very much like an overreaction and stinks. Way more so than Kendall Gill’s suspension-that’s-actually-likely-a-firing.
My Kentucky Derby picks? Goldencents, Verrazano, Itsmyluckyday.
Weekend. Down the stretch we come.
On to your correspondence.
Does the fact Jordan had food poisoning instead of the flu make his feat a little less impressive or stay the same? #TFMB—@rgallik_10
If it’s even true it’s not less impressive because—and I can only speak from what others have told me—food poisoning is one of the worst non-life-threatening non-Nicholas Cage movie things one can experience. From the horrors of Salmonella et al. I’ve heard, that Jordan didn’t literally crap and vomit all over the court would be the most impressive part and might even be more impressive than playing with the flu. As Nate Robinson showed us Thursday night, being able to upchuck into a garbage can when need be is one thing. Trying to play with an exploding butt is another.
The change in narrative detail does cause heartbreak for 14-year-old me, though. I was a power forward in eighth grade and patrolled the floor in St. Cajetan’s gym and beyond like a young Ginger Karl Malone. Before a big conference game vs. St. Patricia I came down with a nasty flu. I was sure I couldn’t play that Saturday afternoon, but my parents—great teachers and shapers they were—didn’t like me and told me to get out of their house. My coach told me to participate in warm-ups and see how I felt – though we were both sure I wasn’t going to play.
But an amazing thing happened. As I went through the layup line, a very cold sweat started working, as though I was surrounded by a zone of central air in July (which, if you’re poor, feels really good, FYI). My weakness slowly became unexplainable energy. I told my coach I’d give it a go. An hour later I had 30 points and slept for 12 hours afterward. 40 and 24, depending on how many drinks I’ve had when I tell this story.
I forever called it my Jordan Flu Game. Learning Jordan likely had no flu killed a piece of my innocence. And so did learning he’s a massive adulterer.
#TFMB is it a bad birthday present to my wife to take her to a Cubs game, even though that’s what she wanted?—@jkzm820
Hell no. Your wife asked you to take her to (arguably) a Major League baseball game for her birthday gift? Do you understand how jealous many men are of you right now?
Regardless of the Cubs or any team sucking, early season baseball is always great because the full realization of futility hasn’t yet set in amongst the stadium-goers. There’s still the buzz and the joy that coincides with winter being in the rear view mirror, and so many incredibly stupid but well-intentioned fans exude such positivity throughout the park.
And it wouldn’t matter if she asked for a minor league baseball game—you get to burn a birthday present on a baseball game. Say that out loud. Say it again. Right? Right. And there’s the added bonus of being able to tell your wife you got her exactly what she asked for, meaning she’ll criticize you for getting her exactly what she asked for and not something creative. To be safe, set up an appointment for matching “Next year is here” lower back tattoos and get on some terrible commercials that insult the intelligence of the not dumb members of a stereotyped fanbase.
Based on what you’ve read, what do you consider to be the most overrated works of fiction? #TFMB—@MattUnander
The novel I’ve hated teaching most and for some reason is considered a classic is John Knowles’ A Separate Peace. Why anyone would think this book translates well for kids today is beyond me. There’s hardly any interesting action, the drama is WWII’s version of emo, the teenage characters are barely relatable, and there’s a death that students of mine have actually cheered aloud in class.
Here’s what that novel is: “Hi, I’m a rich kid that’s the top student at a New England boarding school that likely will have a the perfect adulthood if I use my social connections to avoid WWII combat. My best friend is a great athlete that can talk his way out of anything, which for no sane reason makes me jealous. I cripple him, regret it, live in a world with some other insufferable rich classmates and no minorities, females, or significant adults, try to make some connection to a war that seems so distant BECAUSE IT’S OCEANS AWAY PREDATING COMMON COMMERCIAL AIR TRAVEL EVEN, I let the crippled kid dominate my life and don’t understand why, and then he dies in a way nobody has ever heard of anyone else dying, and I’m indifferent and awful and I’ve wasted three weeks of your academic life and make it really difficult for your teacher to justify how this reading thing is important.”
And speaking of hating teaching, big shout out to my favorite teacher when I was in high school, Coach E, recipient of this year’s Golden Apple Award, which is like the Nobel for educators. Well deserved for a guy whose life is probably a few years shorter because of dealing with (and inspiring) jerks like me.
And 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.