Note: Skip to paragraph 3 if you already know where I’m going with this and don’t want to read the intro. (Although I will say that the youtube links are excellent today, just throwin that out there).
Most Americans look forward to Christmas Day with great anticipation and excitement. They become enveloped in the “Holiday Spirit” each and every December. They sing carrols. They bake cookies. They pray for snow. They bring trees inside their homes. They spend embarrassing amounts of money on gifts for loved ones. They partake in all sorts of strange rituals.
Not all Americans are on board with this “Holiday Spirit” though. Some of us don’t like the phony commercialism of the season. I think Sinbad sums up all the flaws of the season best here. No, we’re not Ebenezer Scrooges or Grinches. Those are silly fictional characters with no real backbone to their beliefs. We are weirdos who like the television show Seinfeld way too much and celebrate the holiday invented by Frank Costanza called Festivus every December 23rd. Festivus is a secular holiday that is very anti-commercialism while being pro-brutal honesty and pro-violence. Instead of having a decorated tree, there is an upright aluminum pole. Instead of gathering with family and friends to exchange lavish gifts and warm greetings, people gather to share brutal truths. Traditionally, each person will tell everyone else all the ways in which they have disappointed him or her over the past year. This ritual is called the “Airing of the Grievances.” In addition, the holiday isn’t over until someone pins the head of the household in a wrestling match. An event titled “The Feats of Strength.” (For a complete video explanation of the holiday click here.)
To the outsider this holiday might sound bizarre and even horrifying, but for those of us who celebrate, it’s actually quite therapeutic. Yes sometimes feelings are hurt, but for the most part forgiveness and closure are the end results. That will be our goal today with our sports themed Airing of the Grievances. I’d like to hash out (chronologically) all the ways in which the sports world (particularly the Indiana sports world) has disappointed me in the past year in the hopes that I can take a deep breath, say “Gus Fra Ba” to myself, and move forward optimistically into 2012.
As Ted Marchibroda use to say, “Let ‘Er Rip!”:
– General grievances that I’ll have every year forever and ever: We don’t have a college football playoff. We don’t have single class high school basketball in Indiana. Indiana University still exists. The University of Notre Dame still exists. ACL tears can’t be healed within a few weeks (I’m looking at you doctors). The writers of Lost are still laughing at me. Moving on…..
– Colts head coach Jim Caldwell’s INEXCUSABLE timeout with 29 seconds left in this year’s Colts-Jets Wildcard playoff game. The timeout basically turned what would have been a 50 yard field goal attempt into a 32 yard field goal attempt for Nick Folk. Game Jets. What in the wide world of sports was he thinking? Check out how pissed Manning was at the decision by his brilliant leader. I thought for sure that we were almost done with Jimmy C, but now that he’s won two games in a row, I’m afraid we’re stuck with the dope indefinitely.
– The end of the Purdue basketball season. The obvious grievance here is towards the injury gods who stole Robbie Hummel from us once again, but alas his injury occurred in 2010 so it’s off limits. But the performance of E’Twaun, J.J. and the boys in late season losses against Iowa, Michigan State, and VCU is not. What happened to this team? A few weeks prior they had defeated #2 Ohio State in glorious fashion. Then all of sudden they completely fell to pieces. As the most anticipated tournament run for Purdue since the days of Big Dog Glenn Robinson approached, the Boilers started playing as poorly as they possible could (actually worse than I imagined they ever could). Absolutely crushed by an 11 seed? That was the moment we had been building towards for four years!? It made NO SENSE! ZERO! How can a team completely disintegrate that quickly? This really wasn’t the way I pictured the Baby Boilers going out. I’m going to go take a 30 minute break from typing before I smash my laptop over my head.
– Butler’s performance in National Championship Game. Once again, tip of the cap to the Dawgs. I really can’t believe they made it to the mountain top two years in a row. It was truly an unbelievable story. But even more unbelievable was how badly they shot the ball against UConn. Matty Howard deserved a far better send off.
– Indiana Pacer fan attendance at Game 3 and Game 4 of the Pacer’s first round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. I was embarrassed for my city as I watched those games. The Indiana Pacer faithful should have come running back like the prodigal son had returned. Instead they watched the Pacer home playoff games at home while scumbags by the thousand swarmed down from Chicago to attend the games. Hard to blame the Blue and Gold for losing that series. They basically played every game on the road. Come on people. It’s time to come on back and give these boys a chance.
– At the time of the 2011 Indianapolis 500, I had a grievance against rookie driver J.R. Hildebrand. The American was leading the greatest race in the world with one lap remaining. He was only one clean lap away from racing immortality, but then he choked. On the races’s final turn after maneuvering around a slower lapped car, J.R. slammed into the wall costing him what seconds earlier seemed to be an inevitable victory. I guess I should just feel sorry for the poor guy instead of casting a grievance against him, but I greedily wanted an American to win. In hindsight, I think Dan Wheldon swooping in for the checkered flag was for the best. Dan would pass away later in the year at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the most horrific racing crash I’ve ever seen. There’s no better time than now to once again send our thoughts and prayers out to the Dan’s wife and two young children and all of his family for that matter. What an immense tragedy. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.
– I wish Russell Westbrook had passed the ball to Kevin Durant more during the NBA playoffs.
– I wish Purdue star football players would stop tearing their ACL’s.
-I wish Purdue hadn’t just extended Coach Hopeless’ contract out through 2016. 2016! Great, he got us to The Motor City Pizza Bowl or whatever it’s called. Is it possible to have lower expectations for a Big Ten football program? Looks like we can look forward to another decade of mediocrity (at best). Oh joy.
– The NFL and NBA lockouts were both annoying and stupid. No one likes to watch billionaires argue with millionaires over money. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
– At last we come to the 2011 Indianapolis Colts. Where to start? Obviously there’s no one to blame for the Peyton Manning injury, but I had no idea we would be this bad without #18. I thought we could win 6 or 7 games. Part of me (stupidly) thought maybe we could still challenge for the division crown in the crappy AFC South. Boy was I wrong. The Colts were awful this year. Unbelievably awful. There were way too many great players on this team for us to go 2-14 or 3-13. I have to turn my blame towards a front office (The Polians) who seem to be losing their touch and the inept head coach who we mentioned earlier. Indy Star columnist Bob Kravitz has already called for their heads multiple times, but my gut tells me that owner Jim Irsay will keep everyone on board. Luck or Manning or both? Polian and Caldwell or new dudes? These are all great questions. All I know is this Colts team should have fared way better in 2011. Period. No excuses.
As Frank would say, “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people!”
Can’t wait to gripe some more next year.