Defensive End

Our Sometimes Sports Columnist Tackles Recent Lowlights In The Human Endeavor.

By Tom Danehy

SOME DOOFUS ON sports talk-radio has broken the unwritten rule by uttering the "W" word on the air. Now the wrestling geeks are calling. I'm actually kinda surprised they know how to work the telephone, what with their being complete idiots and all.

Most people blessed with even a tiny bit of common sense won't give wrestling fans the time of day. This is reasonable considering that wrestling fans probably aren't equipped to handle such a complex concept as the time of day. Either that, or they'd hurt themselves with it.

Danehy Anyway, wrestling dorks are flooding the airwaves, taking valuable time away from preseason football, trying to convince someone--anyone--that wrestling is not a circus of buffoonery.

So this clod on KFFN-AM (The Fan) devotes an entire hour on Saturday nights to wrestling, and all the Cletuses in the land call in to proclaim their undying support for Dr. Death or the Butt-Biter or whoever is the hot new actor on the circuit this week.

Even the two guys who do the local sports-talk show on KNST-AM are expending valuable air time on wrestling (except for when they're spending the first 20 minutes of each show talking about office furniture, the boss' taste in clothing, and what's in the vending machines).

Well, it all came to a head last weekend. At a pay-per-view event in someplace called Sturgis, South Dakota, Hollywood Hulk Hogan lost a tag-team event to Jay Leno. I couldn't make this stuff up even if I'd bumped my head real hard.

You might think this would shame wrestling fans into searching for that path which leads back to that phenomenon we call "Reality." Or at least to South Reality. But no; the Geek Squad called talk radio to hail Leno as their new hero.

It doesn't matter that Hogan weighs about 500 pounds, having consumed the entire stock of irradiated steroids left over from the former East German Republic. Or that Leno probably couldn't even whup David Letterman. The white folk paid their 30 bucks for pay-per-view, and they saw it with their own two, bloodshot eyes.

Listen to me, people. It's fake! Not real. While we're at it, neither is Pam Anderson. Or Demi Moore, for that matter.

Wrestling is staged. The outcome is known well in advance. The script looks like this:

WHITE TRASH DUDE: (Dressed as a combination of the Grim Reaper and Boy George): I find your duplicitousness to be an egregious breach of proper social conduct. (Picks up chair and flings it at African-American man dressed as Santa Claus.)

BLACK SANTA: (Catches chair in his teeth) Grrrr!

WHITE TRASH DUDE: You've insulted my lady! (Points to bleached-blonde, overweight, leather-clad woman with a dragon tattoo on her silicon-enhanced left breast--the right one will be done after the next pay-per-view.)

BLACK SANTA: Grrrr! (Hits WHITE TRASH DUDE in the neck with pile-driver punch. WHITE TRASH DUDE falls on the mat and does the funky chicken.)

That's how it's done. It's a spectacle, not a sport. Focus, people! Go back to school and get your GED. And don't call the radio stations any more.

The United States team lost the World Championships of basketball. The dolts down at the gym were dogging the team, but that's not the point. The team, in relative terms, was weak. But they played hard and they did a good job representing the U.S., and they don't deserve the barbs.

The people who need dogging are the jerks from the NBA who decided to boycott the tournament because they're in a labor struggle with the league. Guys, I hate to say this--but no one is on your side.

It's weird. A few years ago, fans would have sided with the players against the owners every time. But the pendulum has swung the other way. Kevin Garnett gets a $120-million contract and says that it's not about the money. Shaquille O'Neal makes $20,000 per point and can't win one game against Utah in the playoffs. Patrick Ewing says the NBA players won't represent their country because of "the principle of the thing."

The only principle the players care about is that which earns them more in interest each year than the average person makes in a decade.

I heard an ad on the radio the other day for a place called the New York Burrito Co. Hey, they might be great people and their food might even be real good, but New York Burrito Co.? Who in Tucson is going to want to eat a burrito from New York?

If they make a go of the place, they'll probably branch out and open the North Dakota Bagel Bakery.

Parents Need To Be Slapped, Volume XVII: I went to my son's school the other day to speak to his counselor (to request more homework for him). His school had started classes on July 30.

(Note: Don't say or even think the words "year-round school." Having been on the committee which first considered adopting the "modified calendar," I have the lifetime option of wiping spit on the neck of anybody who says "year-round." It's not year-round. They still have a summer vacation; it's just a bit shorter so they can get breaks in October and March. Get it straight or go on full loogie alert.)

Anyway, it's August 10 and I'm sitting in the office waiting for the counselor. The place is full of parents and kids. I finally asked what the commotion was, and one woman with a straight face (and a crooked sense of priorities) said that she was enrolling her kids in school.

I mentioned that school had started nearly two weeks earlier and she said, "We just thought that was too early for school to be starting, so we went on vacation."

I sincerely think parents taking their kids out of school to go on vacation should be tried as felons. Nothing is more important than an education, and don't give me any nonsense about "they can make up the work" or "they needed a break." If you do that kind of stuff, you suck and you should be ashamed.

So now my son has to slow down in class while someone else's stupid-ass kid tries to catch up with the kids who bothered to show up from Day One. I guess there's some solace in the knowledge that my kid will go to college, while Johnny-come-lately grows up to be a wrestling fan. TW

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