Seeing as we’re in what’s probably the second greatest sports month of the year (October is obviously first), what with March Madness, baseball’s Opening Day, the playoff picture coming into focus for both the NBA and the NHL, and WrestleMania just on the horizon, it’s time to piss a little bit into everyone’s tranquility pool and remind us of some of the people who make sports just a little bit worse.
Here are the five most unpleasant types of people in sports.
5. NFL Wide Receiver
Jerry Rice seemed like a good guy. Rod Smith too. Sterling Sharpe? Okay. But who comes to mind when you think wide receivers? Terrell Owens. Randy Moss. Chad (I can’t believe I’m fucking typing this, but I suppose it only further proves my point) Ochocinco. Javon Walker. Brandon Marshall. Ashley Lelie. Dez Bryant. I could go on, but I suspect I don’t have to. You’re filling this list out in your head. Not to sound like Gregg Easterbrook or some other dickhead columnist too fond of sniffing his own farts, but what is it about wide receivers that seems to make them the whiniest players on the field? They are the starving artists of the gridiron, upset when they don’t get their touches, prone to do the flag-throwing motion after single play where a defender did (or more likely did not) interfere with them, and most prone to blaming others when they drop the ball thrown right at them. The world is the root of all their problems, and whaaaaaa! Of course, 90% of my favorite players have been wide receivers. They’re all awful. Except the ones I like.
4. Color Commentator for any Olympic Event That’s Judged
You know who I’m talking about. The unpleasant lady who needles every dive from every diver in the Olympics. The gymnastics lady who seems ready to take her pants off every time someone slips on the balance beam. Scott Hamilton condescending to 90% of the figure skaters because their landings didn’t land on some invisible axis imperceptible to the naked eye. Anyone who gets to judge the artistic aspect of any sport seems to take the tact of focusing on the teensiest detail slightly akimbo and failing to give insight into what went well. All I’m saying is that it’s tiring.
3. MLB Umpire
Remember that “cop” who sits outside the entrance to the parking garage at DIA and gives speeding tickets to travelers in what is clearly a naked cash grab and crass power trip? You know who makes that guy look like some volunteer for Doctors Without Borders by comparison? Major League Baseball umpires.
If you could distill pure arrogance and bottle it as a fragrance (which I think Rick Martel actually tried to do in early-90s WWF programming), you’d just have to take the smug expression off the face of an umpire after tossing a manager while he saunters away slowly as the fans rain boos down upon him with impunity.
If you’re a fat, know-it-all jerk who likes to show up people more talented and athletic than you, you should definitely consider becoming a baseball umpire. Which isn’t to say that baseball players aren’t entitled scumbags – many of them are – but rather umpires are such unrepentant primadonnas, I’d take a baseball bro over one every single day of the week.
2. Harbaugh Family Member
BLARGHHHH is what you’re thinking as you picture Jim Harbaugh prowling the sidelines screaming at someone and whipping his headset off when he doesn’t get his way. I hated the idea of watching Jim and his only-slightly-less-objectionable brother standing opposite each other in last year’s Super Bowl, I overcorrected in the other direction so hard, Kristin and I had our own anti-Super Bowl. We went to the arthouse theater to watch Best Picture winner Argo, and then had sushi.
These guys are like cartoons. They’re like every single awful dipshit magazine piece you’ve ever read about the insane work habits of NFL coaches distilled into two thoroughly unlikeable people with awful personas who deserve every inch of your scorn and certainly don’t give a shit about your opinion anyway because This is the NFL. Win at all costs. Protect the shield. Fight for every inch. Blah blah blah blah BARF.
The reason you hate them both so much is summed up by Drew Magary thusly: “I’ve figured out the reason I hate both Harbaughs is because they act like college basketball coaches.” Which brings us to #1…
1. College Basketball Coach
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a professional 3 year-old, look no further than college basketball coach. You get to stomp around, throw tantrums, yell at authority figures when you don’t get your way (whether it’s even warranted or not), and no one even seems to bat an eye at you. What is it about college basketball that turns grown men into simpering, petulant babies?
Here’s a pop quiz, don’t think about it for too long: When was the last time you saw the face of a college basketball coach, and its expression indicated to you that the person making that face was a well-adjusted, taxpaying, conscientious citizen who looks like they’d be fun to share a basket of pastries with over brunch? Short answer: Never.
Because every college basketball coach you’ve ever seen is probably making a face like this:
These photos were all literally within the first 10 results of a Google image search for “college basketball coach.”
I get that the NCAA is a bloated, extortionist institution that demands indentured servitude from its athletes while paying its so-called leaders exorbitant sums to win at all costs and maintain their overinflated budgets, even as they behave in ethically questionable ways, which certainly must cause stress levels known only to the highest levels of coke-dealing middle managers, but seriously, have some fucking dignity for a change.
Enjoy sports, everyone.