By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist
(CBS) I finally agree with you. I hate the heat.
We may have argued during the NBA playoffs, but I’ve come around. This hellacious, Saharan furnace attacking Chicago has roasted any attempt to crystallize a compelling thought about sports, turning them into some kind of burned, twisted, pointless gristle. Some boil away into vapor, others reduce to thin, gray ash and scatter to the winds.
I considered weighing in about hockey, if only because of the venue and season, and the Canada thing. Cold thoughts on ice. Twitter went crazy yesterday over the pursuit of both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and Blackhawks fans seem angry that neither one is coming here, but then I realized that I don’t really know anything about either one of them.
It’s too hot to pretend to care, either. No energy for “Damn you, ‘Hawks, you failed to acquire one or two players I had to look up to see how good they are, what positions they play, and what they look like!”
I actually let the coffee pot sit on the counter until it cooled to room temperature. I was about to pour it over ice into a pint glass, but the mere consideration of that kind of expenditure of effort killed that idea. Tepid caffeination seems to do nothing to help fried neurons.
There’s always the perfunctory White Sox at-the-halfway-point column. Here it is: Nice job, Sox, you’re way better than I thought you’d be. Baseball Prospectus calculates that you have a 73.6% chance of making the playoffs after 81 games. Some guys have returned to form, some rookies are nice surprises. Robin is no Ozzie, which is fine. Keep it up.
Then I think about the close-ups of the field and the stands the last two nights — players sweating salt-rings through their hats, and spectators hopelessly fanning themselves like Southern Baptist churchgoers or back-row court-attendees in some John Grisham story, and I’m toast.
And no, I’m not sitting outside. The thermostat claims that it’s in the mid-70s in here, but it lies. The oppressiveness creeps in through the window blinds, sizzling the spirit. I’m looking outside at a lawn the color of Kenyon Martin.
I could write about the Cubs, but I don’t want to. And nobody wants to read anything about the Cubs.
While we waited outside for the day-camp bus this morning, my son suggested that I write about the possible selections for the U.S. Olympic basketball team. I told him he was free to do that when he gets home if he wants, because I can’t concentrate. And why am I asking a seven-year-old for column ideas?
Now that I think about it, what the hell could possibly go on at a kids’ outdoor sports camp when it’s 103? I picture the bus returning in the late afternoon, dropping off at each stop a dessicated strip of kid-jerky. It will need to be reconstituted in water, like baccala or porcinis.
It’s too hot today, even, to sustain righteous outrage about the Penn State child-rape cover-up or celebrate the continued public beating Joe Paterno is absorbing. There will be more news in the coming days, and plenty of time for continued delight in watching his legacy of lies laid bare. The portcullis has been breached, the dark castle of PSU now stormed by sunlight.
Thinking about sunlight usually brings a smile, but look at it out there.
NBA? Not when it’s Steve Nash and an offer to Omer Asik. Not when it’s the future of Jeremy Lin. Besides, these transactions can be considered “Hot Stove” talk, so no way.
It even reached the point where I all but worked up something about Oscar Pistorius, the disabled South African sprinter who will run the 400 and the 1600 relay in London on high-tech prosthetics. I had deep philosophical and ethical concerns over what it means to be human, how sports competitions should be defined, what is an “advantage,” and what is fair.
But those were replaced by an image of the 400-meter final, with Pistorius set to win, zooming down the final stretch, only to be overcome at the wire by a zombified Ron Santo on his own carbon-fiber leg-blades, toupee flapping, clasping tiny American flags in each hand.
I think this heat is getting to me.
Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of Boers and Bernstein since 1999. Read more of Bernstein’s columns, or follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein.