The Final Jamboroo And The Art Of Being A Sports Fan Without Watching SportsS

Big Daddy Drew's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo previews the upcoming weekend of the NFL every, well, every Thursday afternoon. Well, until today, anyway.

Well folks, this is the end. It's now the offseason again, and as much as I'd like to piss and moan about the desert stretch of seven football-free months that lay ahead, it's hard to complain much when the NFL gave us such a rewarding, pants-dampening sendoff. I said to the Maj after the game that it would take at least a few days for the end of that game to truly sink in, and I still don't think it ha...

HOLY FUCK, THE GIANTS FUCKING WON? AND THE GAME IS FUCKING OVER? AND IT ACTUALLY COUNTED? THEY'RE GONNA LET THAT SHIT STAND? HOOOOOOOOOOLY SHIT! AY CHIHUAHUA! HOLY DONKEY DICK!

/gets drunk on floor varnish

Time was, I'd happily segue from the Super Bowl straight into NBA/college basketball/hooker prowling season with relative ease. And I still follow those sports, along with golf and baseball and what not, every day. I'm primarily an NFL fan, but I'm also a sports fan in the more general sense.

But you know what? For a guy who likes sports, I sure as shit don't watch a whole hell of a lot of them.

There's a big reason that the NFL is the dominant sports league in America, and it's a reason that few people ever talk about. And it is this: it's EASIER to be a football fan than a fan of some other sport. The NFL demands far less time from diehard fans than a sport like basketball or baseball. All it takes is three hours a week watching your favorite team for a few months, and a few extra hours of viewing during the playoffs. In a world with movies, TV and gonzo cyberporn, that's a huge plus. You can watch pretty much every game without it being a huge drain on your schedule. And that leaves plenty of time left over for playing video games, hanging out with your family and gunning down liquor store clerks.

But baseball? Holy shit. If you want to be a diehard baseball fan, you pretty much have to forsake the outside world to watch every game. THEY EVEN PLAY TWO GAMES IN ONE DAY, FOR SHIT'S SAKE! DURING WORK HOURS! I understand why the players show up for those things. They get paid. But fans? There are doctors on call who are less put upon.

But just because I don't have the actual time to WATCH baseball or basketball games doesn't mean I'm not a fan. Or does it? I have a decent working knowledge of pretty much every NBA team and its management. And I happily shoot the shit with guys when interesting stuff pops up, like the Gasol trade last week. Does he make the Lakers a bona fide title contender? How come he couldn't keep Memphis from being so shittastic? Is there any relation between Pau Gasol and T'Pau? That stuff all interests me.

But you know how many NBA games I watched on TV last year, from beginning to end, including the playoffs? Zero. None. I'm not even sure I made it past the hour mark. If I did, I almost certainly flipped around or wrote stupid dick jokes in between. I see highlights. I watch 10-minute stretches of games when I'm at a bar, or when I'm channel surfing. But a whole game? No way. I follow basketball, and yet I watch almost no basketball at all.

Why the fuck would I do that?

Let me borrow from the Simmons playbook and use my own personal life experience to make a wild generalization about the behavior of ALL other people. I think what's going on is that we, as people, are consuming sports in a completely different fashion now. And I'm not talking about getting all your sports info from SportsCenter. No, this goes beyond that. The NBA had middling ratings last year for the Spurs-Cavs Finals, yet the league continues to thrive financially. Why? Because more and more people are following sports now without bothering to actually watch them.

I didn't watch much of the NBA playoffs last year. But I damn sure kept track of what was going on. Remember when the Suns and Spurs had that mild fracas in the playoffs and all those guys got suspended? Man, I knew all about that shit. What a fucking outrage! They barely graced the court, Stern, you fucking jackass! But did I see that shit happen in real time? Good Lord, no. That shit was on at like, 4 a.m. I need my beauty rest. It helps resist aging.

I'd wager only a couple million people watched that game on TV. But scores more were happy to talk about it the next day. And that's because, thanks to blogs, and YouTube, and ESPN, and all that shit, we can not only get the gist of what happened out there when Stoudamire and Diaw (it was Diaw, right? I'm too lazy to look that shit up) got suspended, we can get it fucking Rashomon-style, covered from about 4,000 different angles. You can get a version on blogs, a version from the wire report, a version from the streaming video, myriad versions from message boards and comments threads, and what have you. You don't need to see it happen live to be well informed, to get in the slipstream of conversation.

In fact, if you ONLY watched the game in the arena, without benefit of replay, and digested none of the media built upon it, you probably wouldn't be as well-versed about it as someone who didn't see it at all.

Sports are a common language for us. They're a way for us to bond. Something happens in the world of sports, and we talk about with buddies, or we make jokes about it in the comments here. A long time ago, it was considered a rite of passage for a dad to take his kid to a ballgame for quality time together. In all those instances, sports are a vehicle, a means to an end. We NEED the conversation. We NEED to interact with one another over something we share in common.

We NEED all that. What we sometimes don't actually NEED anymore is to watch the game itself. We need the game to take place somewhere out in the ether, so that something happens to spur our discourse. But sometimes, that's ALL we require. Obviously, watching replays or reading accounts of a sporting event after the fact are never anywhere near as exciting as seeing it all play out as it happens. But is the latter a prerequisite for being a legitimate, impassioned sports fan? I'm not sure it is.

Is that weird? Well, it's not as weird as you might think. Think about other fields of conversation, such as politics. This, as you know, is primary season. We've all had our political flame wars and dinner table conversations about who we like and who we think is a complete piece of shit (COUGHhillaryCOUGH). Well, have you ever watched a political debate from beginning to end? Or listened your favorite candidate's stump speech all the way through? I haven't. Those things are boring as shit, with only a few exciting moments to be had over the course of hours, if that.

Not unlike watching a baseball game.

But that doesn't mean politics or baseball aren't of any interest to you or me at all. On the contrary. I personally find the whole steroid scandal juicy as shit (They got Clemens? AWWWW YEAH!!!!!). I could talk with friends for hours on end about what a complete fucktaster Barry Bonds is. Number of times I saw him play in a game last year? Zip. The game provides a foundation for our conversations, but it isn't always necessary to it. I used to watch baseball a lot. I don't watch much of it anymore. But am I still interested? Yup. Am I still a fan? Yeah, I guess I am. Not a very good one, but there you have it. What's the opposite of a purist? That's me. I'm an impurist.

I used to think that this shift in my consumption of sports was bad for me. That somehow, this made me a member of the ADD generation who is easily distracted by OH MY GOD THAT DOG HAS A PUFFY TAIL! I used to think it was kind of embarrassing. But now, I actually think it's good. I think it helps make me a more well-rounded individual. Ever talk to a guy who was a complete baseball freak and watched every game and kept track of VORP's and shit like that? Let me tell you something: That conversation dies after about three minutes. It's in-depth baseball or nothing. I know. I've had drinks with Leitch.

But a good conversation is one that flows like music, with one subject floating seamlessly into the next without tripping over itself. And, if you're someone who is well-versed in sports without having dedicated all your time to watching them, you're probably better at having just such a conversation.

I know I am. Dinner party guests find me worldly and large-penised.

Now, am I as well-prepared to have an argument with Henry Abbott about the greatest power forwards of all time than I am having an argument with a friend about the Vikings' problems at quarterback? Uh, no. That dude watches a whole shitload of basketball. I watch a whole shitload of football. We aren't gonna have any kind of scholarly discussion. But we can still shoot the breeze and bond over it, which is why we're all naturally attracted to sports to begin with. It's not about the games. It's about us. It's always about us. We're all selfish dicks like that.

So I, for one, salute this new kind of casual yet extremely well-informed sports fan. Because I am one of them. Come March, I'll fill out a NCAA tourney bracket and then skip the title game. Then I'll make lots of rape jokes about Kobe while he plays late games I have no chance of watching. Come summer, I'll even take in a little baseball... posts from Fire Joe Morgan. And I'll watch some movies, read half a book, consume lots of celebrity gossip (Amy Winehouse back in rehab?!!!! OMG!111!!!1! But she's so brassy!), and do lots of other things that give me basic, topline information about what's going on in sports and the world at large, so that I can be a productive, interesting citizen of the universe.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. I love sports. Just not always enough to watch them.

That said, time to shut down the Jamboroo.

Playoff Game Picks and Predictions

All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.

No Throwgasms

The Pro Bowl. Every year, I stumble on the Pro Bowl and say to myself, "Well it IS football." So I start watching. And then, 30 seconds later, I change the channel. Watching the Pro Bowl is about as interesting as watching a goddamn celebrity golf Pro-Am. Oh, look! It's Ray Romano AND Steve Stricker! Together! Wheeeee!!!

I also resent the fact that all the players and media members get to spend the week in Hawaii while I freeze my ass off back home. Look at Berman, wearing a lei. He looks so damn relaxed. Fat fucker. I don't care how great of a fucking week you had. If players aren't suffering, I ain't interested.

Last Week: 0-1 (1-0 vs. the spread)

Overall: 6-5 (7-4 vs. the spread)

Song To Get You Through The Offseason

"Won't Be Long" by The Hives. I like me some Swedish men who dress in matching suits and look like porn stars. This song makes me want to guzzle champagne and pinch a stripper's ass.

Embarassing Cassingle I Once Owned That Will Not Fire You Up

I'm all outta cassingles. The only other cassingle I remember owning was "You Could Be Mine," which featured "Civil War" as a B-side. And that song kicks much ass. I bought it because it came out in advance of the "Use Your Illusion" release.

Maybe I'll do embarrassing albums next season, because I have a shitload of those sitting in my Caselogic. I even have a Stereolab album I've never listened to. Why did I buy that? I think I might be French. And gay. And a Communist.

Player That Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death

No players to single out this week. Everything worked out juuuuust right.

Actual Wild Card Of The Week

This week's actual wild card is ELI MANNING!

The Final Jamboroo And The Art Of Being A Sports Fan Without Watching SportsS

Oh, yeah. DIDN'T EXPECT OL' ELI TO STEP UP, DID YA?! My goodness, he grew up right before our very eyes on Sunday! And grew pubes and everything! I heard he even had a nocturnal emission!

/marks Eli's new height on the inside of the pantry door

You're 6'4" now, Eli?! WOW!

Snack Of The Offseason

The Final Jamboroo And The Art Of Being A Sports Fan Without Watching Sports

Funyuns! The snack you only THINK are made of onions! According to Wikipedia:

They were named "Funyuns" by University of North Texas professor and copywriter Jim Albright after it was discovered that the first choice of name for the product, "OnYums", had already been taken.

The last laugh is on YOU, OnYum man! Nobody ate YOUR onion flavored processed corn product! Suck Frito Lay's cheese balls!

Cheap Beer Of The Offseason

Boy, I need something for the next few months that'll get me good and DRUNK! I know...

The Final Jamboroo And The Art Of Being A Sports Fan Without Watching Sports

Little crooked I up in this bitch! I like to think of St. Ides as an undiscovered Caribbean island with a crime rate that somehow manages to dwarf that of Jamaica, St. Thomas and the Bahamas COMBINED. What's a figure higher than 100 percent?

Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Everyone

The Final Jamboroo And The Art Of Being A Sports Fan Without Watching Sports

Crumb. You start out Crumb thinking Robert Crumb is pretty fucked in the head. And then you meet his brother, who sits on a bed of nails and spends his day passing a very long piece of fabric through his entire digestive tract. IT'S COMING OUT OF HIS MOUTH AND ANUS SIMULTANEOUSLY. He committed suicide after the film was shot. Man, do I feel better about myself.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote

"We're going up to the bluffs to paint SPRINGFIELD SUCKS in huge letters. That way, whenever they look into Shelbyville, they will realize that they suck."

Offseason Masturbation Kit

• For the guys: Brit supermodel Kelly Brook. That suit just won't zip!

• For the gals: You know, I spent a lot of time this year Googling shit like "shirtless men" and what not for you ladies. And what do I get in return? "Oh, he's not hot! Ewwww!!!" Well ladies, tough shit. All I have to go on here is my repressed homosexuality. If you find Justin Timberlake unacceptable, I have no clue what the fuck it is I'm supposed to look for in a man. Kiss my ass.

Blatantly False, ProFootballTalk-Style, Fred Edelstein-esque Rumor Of The Week

WE HEAR... Patriot fans still whining like the little, insufferable bitches they are.

Your Motivational Quote For The Offseason

"Your son looks like a fag to me. You'd better get married again, 'cause he'll have somebody's cock in his mouth before you know it."

-Reggie Dunlop

NOTE: The Jamboroo will return one week in April for the Draft. And I'll be back here in two weeks with a newer, way fucking shorter column. Special thanks to Dan V for his outstanding Photoshop work all season long. You made the Jamboroo sing, Danny Boy!

Enjoy the offseason, everyone.