By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) All narratives must end.
It’s one of the reasons the film The NeverEnding Story has long bothered the hell out of me, even though I’ve probably watched it a few dozen times. I can remember even as a kid always walking away from the viewing unsatisfied if not downright angry at the glaring illogical aspect of a fantasy movie. (I was also bothered by the character names, especially the protagonist named “Bastian.”)
It got to the point where I began to enjoy watching the film strictly to be mad at it. I’d point out plot holes to my younger brothers who would roll their eyes and tell me to shut up. It was my first experience with hate-watching (before growing into my own as a Cubs fan at least).
“(H)ate-watching is an irrational, compulsive act that mixes satisfaction with disgust and often says as much about the person hate-watching as it does the object of their hate-watching. We hate-do all sorts of stuff now: Hate-drink Starbucks (familiarity breeds contempt), hate-read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (more out of cultural duty than interest), hate-purchase Apple products, hate-listen to Taylor Swift, hate-attend Lollapalooza. Hate-watching, though, is the only hate-whatever that makes sense.”
Despite Atreyuonics and my dumb love of calling out weaknesses in a children’s movie, stories get finished and the Nothing, which is so painful for many, returns. Sometimes this is because the narratives run out of gas or simply because reality intercedes to sever fantasy. Bears head coach Marc Trestman brought the Nothing back to the Fantasia of Halas Hall on Thursday and killed the joy of the adventure of quarterback Josh McCown, brought forth from the land of teaching Phys Ed to take his aw shucksiness and game management to Soldier Field.
Despite the organization, the coach, and McCown himself repeatedly saying all along that a healthy Jay Cutler is the team’s starting quarterback, you didn’t want the story to end. It felt so gosh darn fuzzy to have little Ricky Schroeder all grown up and throwing touchdowns instead of that jerkface Jay. You don’t want the guy who put the “KICK ME” sign on your back in high school to be successful on the field. The absolute undeniable fact that Cutler is the better quarterback and athlete than McCown is one thing, but you need to feel good, dontcha?
And you are going to hate-watch Jay Cutler on Sunday. Oh, yes, you will because it feels so flippin’ good to dislike him. That fella gives your eyes a wedgie every time you see what you take to be sheer apathy in his eyes on the sidelines or he “DOOOOONNNNNN’TTTTTT CAAAAAAAAAAARE”s a reporter’s question.
It also feels really good to be justified and right in your feelings, no matter their irrationality. You will favor the pleasant story that, because it isn’t a movie, has to end and likely badly over the option that hands-down has a greater potential for success and a defense would rather not plan against. So much so that you will let your want of a Bears victory over the Cleveland Browns take a back seat to the hope of being right about Cutler being inferior to McCown or not worthy of starting or jailable for not smiling enough. You will emit pure pleasure in frustration at any shortcomings of Cutler’s play of Sunday.
Every time his arm cocks back, part of your brainlike thing will giggle “Interception, please!” Or maybe a fumble returned for a touchdown. That will allow you to tell everyone within earshot but strategically not sitting near you that you were right all along.
Oh, wait, but Cutler is also super injury-prone. Root for another sprain or tear or break. Trestman should have known Jay has a flimsy groin, right, comedy bros? Then McCown will have to go back in and your assumptions will be validated. It’s like getting two-for-one appetizers even though you’re eating alone!
Hoping for failure from Cutler will prove that you are a terrible Bears fan that is toxic to sports discourse, but hate-watching feels too good in your heart and your belly and maybe somewhere creepier for you to worry about the emptiness in your head. Playoff hopes should be destroyed in favor of thinking you were right about something which you are so clearly wrong.
Go jump on your Falkor and get ready to pump your fist victoriously in the air. Not for a Bears win, but a win for your sad sense of righteousness. This kind of story never ends.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his degree from 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). Got a comment for Tim? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @TimBaffoe , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.