Hello sports fans, As many of you know, there are a great number of ways to enjoy things. We can enjoy good things by admiring their quality. We can enjoy bad things by laughing at how ridiculous they are. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a great example of the latter. They took bad movies and put up a dude and two robots heckling them and turned it into comic gold.
In sports, not every team can have a good season every year. Hell, that's why we invented fantasy sports in the first place. Sometimes a team is so bad that you have a pretty good idea from the outset that it is going to be a terrible year. Sometimes a team like the Buffalo Bills comes along and you have to marvel at how a team can be so consistently bad for so long. And then you look at this year's team and realize that the guy at the counter piled it HIGH on this year's sandwich. As bad as the Bills have been, this year's looks like it has the potential to achieve new heights of awfulness. Seriously cheering for the Bills with expectations for success is like rooting for the stain in a detergent commercial. Everyone knows the outcome, and you just wind up looking like you need someone to hold your hand on the escalator.
With that being said, I love football, and I will find it very hard to avoid watching their games this year. But if I get all invested in winning expectations, I'm going to have a terrible time. The only way I'm going to have fun this season is if I make it fun for myself, and find my own way to enjoy the Bills' failure and everyone else's success. Here are some ideas I have for making a bad season more fun.
1. For contract/free agent purposes, pretend it's the NBA. Anyone in a contract year? They're taking their talents to South Beach. I intend to spend this season building up the 2011 Miami Dolphins to truly mythic proportions. Can you imagine the training camp battle between Manning, Brees and Brady for the starting job?
2. If you are a fan of a team that has reveled in mediocrity for an extended period, the awful players manning important positions should already have demeaning nicknames. For example, Bills QB Trent Edwards is known throughout Western New York as Captain Checkdown for the zeal with which he dumps the ball off to a running back. If the player you wish to ridicule does not already have a demeaning nickname, make one up. Once you have a nickname, go ahead and write a theme song you can sing every time the player does the stupid thing he always does that pisses you off. I am currently working on a Captain Checkdown theme to belt out every time he chickens out an floats it out to Spiller in the flat.
3. Pretend all of your teams late round draft picks from the previous draft are the next big thing and are poised to make a huge splash if they'd just get put in the game. I'm getting my Arthur Moats chants ready right now.
4. Without warning, pretend you're watching a different sport every ten minutes. For hockey, start clamoring for a line change when your team starts to suck. Chug a beer and punch somebody in the face while you're at it. For golf, focus on players' states of mind and concentration, as well as commenting on the wisdom of players' approaches. Do all of this in a gentle voice. You get the idea. Some other sports you can use: Cricket, tennis, women's tennis, bowling, curling, basketball. Sports you shouldn't use: Women's basketball.
5. When all else fails, make a drinking game out of it. That way you're at least drunk by the end of it. Be creative with your rules. A drinking game is only as good as the rules you make. A few suggestions for rules to follow:
- The Kobe Rule: Any time a QB has completed 6 of 24 passes (or 6 for 24 yards), a RB has 24 yards on 6 carries, a WR has 6 catches for 24 yards, or a drive goes 6 plays and 24 yards, yell out "MVP!" and take a shot. (For the uninformed, Kobe Bryant won the 2010 NBA Finals MVP after going 6 of 24 from the floor in Game 7).
- NBA Jam Rules: 1. Anytime a blatantly missed block results in a bone-rattling hit on your running back in the backfield, yell "Boomshakalaka!" and take a swig of your beverage of choice." 2. If a receiver makes 2 catches in a row, or a running back breaks 2 decent runs in a row (use your discretion), or a defender makes 2 good tackles in a row, yell "He's heating up!" and have a drink. If the player follows this by making a third consecutive play, shout "He's on fire!" and finish your drink. Make up your own as you deem fit. Some suggestions of things to make rules for: "Razzle Dazzle!" "Oh my!"
- The personal fantasy player rule: Each person watching the game selects an offensive player (skill positions only). Every time they do something good (make a catch, complete a pass, make a solid run), you are awarded one point. Every time they make a mistake (drop a pass, throw an incomplete pass, get tackled in the backfield), you lose a point and must take a drink. A touchdown is worth three points. A turnover means you lose 3 and must finish your beverage. To raise the drinking stakes, one option is for each person to have 2 cups. When you gain points drink out of the win cup filled with something you enjoy (finish for touchdowns). When you lose points drink from the cup of shame, filled with something generally agreed to be less delicious.
- Make up your own rules. Make it your own! I don't want to hear the details unless they are hilarious.
Go forth and do good shit. Go Bills, Nick