Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The sports calendar's coldest month

By Agatha Moonfry
Staff Writer


Now is the winter of our discontent.

The intelligently dreary William Shakespeare wrote that once, and no fewer than three previous lovers have used that line to send gleeful chills down my spine. It's a morbid, yet beautiful fragment of verse, and it reminds me of all my fondest childhood memories.

This is February, my serpents, a dire time for us all. The Super Bowl has left us, and baseball remains a distant pursuit, as fans crazed for true sport allow their hearts to bleed all over the snow as they eagerly anticipate the arrival of pitchers and catchers.

They're arriving, all right. To do butterfly curls and wind sprints. That might be enough to satisfy a cheerleading enthusiast, but it's a far cry from baseball.

I didn't make the cheerleading team. It was then that I knew I was destined for a life of witchcraft.

Sports fans try to latch onto that national basketball atrocity, where large men with foreign names join forces with child-siring bling exhibitions, playing some variety of driveway defense, only to ultimately succumb to the Spurs, Lakers or Pistons.

These fans try to throw themselves into the manufactured underworld of college basketball as provided by ESPN, which tells us when "Rivalry Week" is upon us (really, a series of undercard matches leading up to a Duke-North Carolina game, during which Dick Vitale participates in a sequence of orgasms reminiscent of my experiments with Richard VanLandingham in 1997). They pretend that those silly regular season games mean something, with the only true substance of the season unavailable until March.

What is a sports fan to do? There are options.

1. When I'm down, I take a one-way flight to Los Angeles and picket with WGA strikers. If someone asks, I've written for several top television programs, including Heroes, the X-Files, Lost and How I Met My Mother. Also, this gives me excellent cause to shout obscenities at Deal or No Deal contestants. My god, you stupid people, don't you understand odds? Of course you don't, else you wouldn't be selected for that show. Here's a special surprise: there is no actual "banker."

2. In winter, I love to build snowmen, then strategically assemble props and pour cherry kool-aid over the scene, to make it appear as if the snowman has been stabbed to death.

3. Following National Signing Day is always fun. This will be my second year in the Recruit Corruption pool with some friends on the black magic message boards. We each choose one of ESPN's top 150, report to campus, pose as college students and do what we can to give them a first-rate "education." The first one to cause scholarship loss wins.

4. Oprah.

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