Wow, that's a grody canker, isn't it? Anyway, Michigan and Notre Dame are still battling it out and USC and Ohio State comes later, so consider this your open thread. And oh, I have a fun story for y'all!
Since it's my final post of the day and I've already shit all over the Big Ten, Auburn fans, Tim Tebow and Nick Saban, allow me to share a heart-warming little story with you fine folks, a story I'll call, "The Best Job a Sports Fan Could Ever Have."
Back in what seems like another life, before I moved to New York and was still living in Baton Rouge, I received a call one day from a friend of mine who worked in the sports information department at LSU. He called to ask if I'd like to work for ESPN on the sideline of LSU football home games as a parabolic microphone operator. He said that the network usually hired four locals for freelance work whenever they came to town to broadcast a game and one of the guys who always did it in the past had moved out of town, so there was an opening and he thought I'd be good for it. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, so he put me in touch with some producer or whatever and I was hired over the phone. For the first two years of the Saban regime at LSU I was ESPN's guy (for $200 a game) on the sideline in Tiger Stadium on the south end zone side of the LSU sideline. It was pure heaven. Sadly, I had to give it up when I moved to the northeast. That was sort of tragic, but alas...
Now, if you're unfamiliar with the terminology, the parabolic mic guy is the person you'll often see on the sidelines holding something that looks like a small satellite dish at chest level. The mic is used to pick up many of the sounds you hear during the broadcast of a game: a quarterback calling plays under center, helmets crashing together, etc. The device itself is nothing short of amazing, as you can literally aim it into a crowd of 90,000 people and listen to individual conversations hundreds of feet away, not to mention hearing everything being said on the field and sidelines. So yeah, this gig was quite stellar...imagine not only getting to watch most of your favorite college team's home games from the sidelines AND getting to hear pretty much anything you wanted to hear on the field on top of it. Over the course of the two seasons I did this "job," I learned a number of things. I'll share a few of them with you now:
-Nick Saban has the most vulgar mouth I've ever heard over the course of my life. Now, I pride myself on being a bit of a vulgarian, so I'm not easily shocked by such things, but Saban's use of profanity on the sideline was just over the top. I've been called many things by coaches and I've heard coaches call athletes many things, but I don't think I've ever heard a coach call one of his own players a "cunt" until I heard it come from Saban.
-ESPN is hyper-sensitive to the theft of their apparel. For every game, each of us parabolic mic guys were outfitted with an ESPN vest and we were told we would face harsh consequences up to and including termination if the vests weren't turned back in immediately following the games. It became kind of a running joke between me and the other parabolic mic guys that they were more concerned about the stupid fucking vests than they were for the expensive sound equipment we roamed the sidelines with while monstrous young men crashed all around us.
-Fred Smoot is a trash-talker of epic proportions. Seriously, some of the stuff that came out of Smoot's mouth when he was at Missisippi State was just awe-inspiring. It almost seemed as though he hired a private detective to do background research on all of LSU's wideouts prior to playing them. He was well-informed and his delivery and timing were impeccable. Fred Smoot is the man.
-Former ESPN sideline reporter Adrian Karsten, who committed suicide in 2005 after being convicted for tax evasion, was a massive prick who was almost universally loathed by everyone, players, coaches, and ESPN personnel. I know it's frowned upon to speak ill of the dead but the guy was just an insufferable asshole. God forbid anyone blocked his sightline or stepped on his cord. And now we have Erin Andrews! Why was she not around back then? And on the subject of sideline reporters, Michelle Tafoya is a delightful sweetheart. I still have a slight crush on her.
-Old Cajun ladies who get drunk at football games will often thumb through game programs and speculate on the cock sizes of college athletes. I know this from the many halftimes I spent scanning the crowd for interesting conversations. And now you know.
Anyway, it's been a fun Saturday and below is a funny video of animals competing at sports to make it even fun-er. Enjoy and have a great Saturday night. I'm off to watch the LSU/Vandy game. Geaux Tigers!