The Casual Sports Fan on Labor Day Weekend
As I sat down on my couch at 8 pm Saturday night, I either wanted to watch college football or Cleveland Indians Baseball. Little did I know, I would get neither. Instead I got aggravation and a lesson in economics.
Now I follow the news, I knew Ohio State and the Big 10 weren't playing, but I assumed the SEC would be playing. They were not. ACC? Nope. The only Division I college football game was Army vs. Middle Tennessee, which had long since ended. Army had won 42-0, which sounded like I didn't miss anything. "Army limited fan attendance to the academy's approximately 4,300 cadets who were spread out at Michie Stadium, which has a capacity of 38,000. As the academy is under federal jurisdiction, they were not limited by New York state COVID-19 restrictions regarding crowds." -ESPN
Uggh, I don't want to hear about pandemics. I don't want to hear about hurricanes. I don't want to hear about politics. I just want to veg out and watch a game. The Indians should have been on Channel 3 locally. Turned on Channel 3, no Indians. Stanley Cup. I watched the New York Islanders score 2 quick goals while I searched my phone to see where to watch the Indians. Apparently they were only on Cable. Oh well, guess we're watching Stanley Cup, I thought to myself.
But after a few minutes, it was evident that it wasn't the Philadelphia Flyers' goalie's night. Maybe there was some basketball on Channel 5 (ABC). Nope. It was a re-run of a Cleveland Browns game. Maybe I'll watch that? The camera cut to the sidelines and it was Gregg Williams.
Okay we're not watching that either. Went back to my phone, Clippers/Nuggets was on TNT. Since my family cut the cord and went to the Netflix/Hulu model, sometimes I just want to watch sports. But since I work on Beacon of Speech, instead of a second job, that's what I get.
Turned the TV to Channel 8 (Fox), hoping against hope maybe they had a UEFA Nations League game. I had watched a few minutes of Portugal v Croatia in the middle of the day. Nope, MLS action, Atlanta v Orlando. Let's check that out.
Hmmm, there's fans in the stands here, too. I guess people really are sick of staying at home. Coronavirus isn't stopping those diehards, they want to see the, let's look it up, the 3-4-2 Atlanta squad play 4-2-4 Orlando team. What state is that game in?
Went back to my phone, it's in Orlando. Well, I guess I must not pay close attention to the news, apparently the virus isn't that bad in Florida anymore. (Why am I looking up coronavirus numbers? I just want to watch a game.) Orlando takes a shot on goal Atlanta's Brad Guzan watches the ball sail into the stands. As I scrolled through MLS stats on the phone, an ad came up: Childhood Cancer doesn't stop for Covid 19, please donate to MLS charities.
I'm not going to donate to anything. I just want to watch sports....
Brad Guzan is awesome, I started to think to myself. He should be the starting goalie for the Men's National Team. That's it, I'm rooting for Atlanta in this game. As the camera panned behind Guzan's goal, I saw giant photographs that were flag-sized in the stands with large captions that read "SAY THEIR NAMES."
Say their names? Whose names? None of those people look like MLS stars....
Oh, SAY THEIR NAMES, the Black Lives Matter motto. I just wanted to stare at the TV and not think. You know what? I'm going back to the Islanders-Flyers game.
4-0 Islanders? That game is over. I guess we're going back to Option 5, Orlando-Atlanta, at least that's still a game, it's only 1-0.
But the more I watched, the more annoyed I became. "The quality of MLS just isn't there. Using a baseball analogy, watching the Premiere League is like watching Major League Baseball, watching MLS is like watching AA baseball." And I can't watch baseball, it's not on Free TV and the owners cancelled minor league baseball. It would have been nice to go to a minor league ballpark over Labor Day, but they're all closed.
So I really started to focus on the soccer game within a soccer game. What is the difference between MLS and the Premiere League? After about 10 minutes, it was really very simple, the MLS is sloppy. When a team scores a goal in MLS, the precision is as good as the Premiere League. But between goals, MLS is loaded with unforced errors. So many that you wonder why opponents don't take advantage of them. Then you realize that BOTH teams in the game were making a ton of unforced errors, which extends to a league on a whole filled with unforced errors.
If you took the best 15 players in America, made them gel together for a year, then entered them into the Premiere League as a team. Then maybe, possibly, they could come in 16th or 17th place. Maybe avoid relegation.....
But again, now we're talking about what if's and buts and not about the play on the pitch. Atlanta ended up scoring in the 95th minute during stoppage time to bring the game to a 1-1 tie. I dropped the remote on the ground and said "time for bed."
A friend of mine said to check out a band called 35007. I did. So instead of sports, I fell asleep to music. Thumbs up to, what is this? Dutch Cosmic Metal?
One day later, my choices were LeBron and the Lakers v Hardin and the Rockets.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights v the Dallas Stars.
Or the Ugas/Ramos Welterweight Championship.
I chose the Ugas/Ramos fight. (With hockey in between rounds.)
Dr. Lou Moret should be in jail. Ugas won that fight easily. But on Saturday I had learned my lesson. I turned down the sound and tried to focus on the action inside of the ring. I just enjoyed the simple art of two guys punching each other in the face.