Wednesday, November 29, 2006

...Pledging Allegiance to New Banners

This past weekend marked 10 years since I moved from Northern to Southern California. Though I didn’t initially plan the move to be a permanent one, within that time a number of events have unfolded that have solidified Southern California as my “home” and Northern California as a place I visit a few times a year. I bought my first, and then second house in the area. I started a Southern California-based small business. I married a Southern California native whose entire family lives here. I had a son born here.

But it’s only been recently that I finally embraced the truest test of being a Southern Californian: Rooting for the local sports teams.

Sports team loyalty is the oddest thing. In virtually any other situation, we’d ridicule a person for being intensely loyal to a large corporation. I mean, can you imagine how weird you’d think a person was who only used Aquafresh toothpaste; flatly refusing to ever purchase any competing oral care products out of intense, undying, passionate loyalty to GlaxoSmithKline? Or how odd would you find it if someone continued to eat at the same restaurant day after day, despite an ever-decreasing quality of food, service and decor just because they’ve always eaten there and didn’t want to be accused of being a “fair weather diner”? Or would you ever be afraid to buy a different brand of laundry detergent than you’re accustomed to using out of the fear that long-time users of the product would consider you a “bandwagon jumper” or “Johnny Come Lately” to the product?

Yet with sports we seem to lose all of our common sense and demand blind, unthinking loyalty to large corporations whose only interest in us is how much money they can separate from us and our wallets.

I did my best to remain loyal to the San Francisco Giants and 49ers throughout my time here (not so much the Golden State Warriors, who have struggled just to be mediocre for most of my lifetime so altering my loyalty to an exciting Lakers team with Shaq and Kobe happened more or less immediately upon arrival). I tried to keep up with the 49ers by watching them on those rare Sundays when their games were televised in this area (a rarer and rarer occasion by the year as the Niners became less and less relevant as a playoff contender). I even had the misfortune of being what seemed like the lone Southern Californian rooting for the opposing team during the 2002 World Series between the Anaheim Angels and San Francisco Giants; going through the indignity of having to listen to “my” team ridiculed daily on local radio and having to endure the humiliation of hearing the wild cheers and hollers of my neighbors when the Angels made a miraculous come from behind victory in Game 7 to win their first ever World Series.

Ultimately, though, it just didn’t work out. Probably for the same reason most long-distance romantic relationships ultimately don’t end up working out either. Because regardless of how much we try to believe in overly romantic notions like “love will conquer all” or “love knows no bounds”, the truth is we tend to underestimate the importance of physical proximity. Sure, you may feel like you have some sort of deep spiritual and emotional connection to someone who lives 3000 miles away and you may try to believe your love is so incredibly powerful that the distance doesn’t matter. But a phone or IM is just no replacement for a warm body next to you at night or a person to kiss before you leave for work in the morning or a hand to hold at the movies.

That’s kind of what I found with sports teams too. I could be a 49er or Giants fan in theory, but really I’d just be rooting for a set of colors. I need a team whose every game I can watch on TV or listen to on the radio, whose players I can be familiar with because I’ve followed every game on local TV and read about them in the local paper and whose games I can attend live without having to arrange a plane flight or long-distance car trip. I’m sure the owners of the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim don’t care about me any more than the owners of the Warriors, Giants or 49ers did. But at least they’re around.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

...A Defense of Celibacy

Things They Don't Teach, But Should, in Sex Ed:

When you have a toddler he will naturally be drawn to your computer keyboard, which can lead to an accidental reactivation of a long-dormant AOL account, leaving you with several hundred dollars in non-recoverable fees.

Monday, November 13, 2006

...Fixed Fights

I’ve long suspected that Iron Chef America is about as authentic as professional wrestling. My suspicions arose as soon as the show debuted with a “Battle of the Masters” tournament, featuring the new American Iron Chefs doing battle with their counterparts from the original Japanese program. By coincidence, I’m sure, the Americans just happened to win every battle.

So my B.S. detector was on high last night when Iron Chef America featured a special, heavily-promoted tag team battle between Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis vs. Mario Batali and current it-girl Rachael Ray.

My instincts told me there is no way in hell Rachael Ray, with a brand-new high-profile talk show and having become an entire multi-million dollar industry all unto herself, would agree to participate in such a contest unless she knew ahead of time she was winning. And lo and behold, she did.

Detective Gooch, at your service.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Advice from Gooch Part I

A note to those who feel compelled to walk around with their bluetooth wireless headsets permanently attached to their ear, regardless of whether they are on a call or not:

You look like a tool.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

...Lessons in Government

Overheard at the gym last night

(Male, I’m guessing late teens/early 20s, speaking to his girlfriend as they are watching the election results come in on the TV monitors in the weight room): “The governor also has a seat in the House. So he runs the state and also represents the state in the Senate”

Monday, November 06, 2006


Good Idea: My wife taking my not-so-subtle hint about what I wanted for my birthday and getting me great, plaza-level seats to a San Diego Chargers game

Unforeseen Circumstance: Being seated next to the drunkest human being I have ever seen on Planet Earth (which I say not for effect or humorous exaggeration, but because I have truly never witnessed anyone in person who was this intoxicated – a level to which can only be achieved by a true alcoholic who has the tolerance to keep drinking well past the point where the average person would have long before passed out).

Bad Idea: Deciding that out of all the possible scenarios for dealing with this situation (ignoring him, complaining to stadium management, trying to look for different seats, etc.) “trying to keep up with him drink-for-drink so he wouldn’t seen as annoying” was the best one.

Good Idea: Having arranged for a babysitter beforehand.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

...Reevaluating My Legacy

A simple google search of my real name reveals (in this order):

A) A link to my posting history on the Wrestling Classics Message Board

B) A link to a letter to the editor I had printed in Salon in reaction to an article they ran about the war between the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling

C) A “thank you” credit given to me by a site called The Wrestling Armpit for providing them with content for their “Famous Wrestling Quotes” list

And that's about it.
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