I start this post with the premise that we all love attention. We crave it. Even if you don't openly admit it, there's a small part of you that likes it when you're recognized for, as J. Peterman would say, a "job....done."
It's not often in the sports world that one person can usurp everyone's attention away from everything else going on, especially in this time of year where the calendar is littered with relevant NFL games, college football bowl games, a slowly evolving NBA season, and baseball hot-stove league. Thirty days ago, though, Tiger Woods managed to do just that, ironically for escapades that had nothing to do with golf (although from the stories that have surfaced, clearly his 1-wood was heavily involved).
Beginning with Tiger running over that innocent fire hydrant and slowing to a trickle that wound up with roughly a dozen women coming forward saying that Tiger had putted from their rough, the "Chosen One" (his late father's words, not mine) made sports time stand still, sent writers everywhere scrambling to redo their already completed "Best Of" lists for the decade, and damn near singlehandedly triggered the launch of TMZSports.com. For the two weeks after it was discovered that not only was Tiger a shitty driver, but a shitty husband, too, there was not enough Tiger at the "all you can eat" sleaze buffet.
Since then, it feels like the sports world has been in a futile game of "can I top Tiger?" Admit it, prominent sports figures, you love attention and you're doing whatever you can to try and take away the one title that Tiger will NEVER have to hand over -- "Transcendent Sports Story of the Year 2009."
Oh don't get me wrong, in any other year, the contenders that have emerged in the last month would be in the team picture for some sort of hardware, but in this year of Tiger, all you're getting is a participation ribbon. Sorry boys, thanks for playing.
Yep, I'm looking right at you, Brett Favre -- we've seen the whole " Number 4 sucking in December" thing before. In fact, like Godfather II and Lethal Weapon II, Favre Meltdown: The Sequel is actually far more compelling than the original (entitled Favre Meltdown: Ouch! My Elbow!) given the fact that it includes a hissy fit on national television when your head coach asked you to come out of a game. I said earlier that we all crave attention, but I think that Brett Favre actually has adverse medical reactions when he doesn't get it, like a diabetic forgetting to take his insulin. If attention came in pen-shaped syringes, Favre would be taking ten shots a day. That said, Brett....sorry man, you're not even close to Tiger's league. Despite ESPN's best efforts to keep it alive, we forgot about your little tantrum within twenty-four hours.
And Tracy McGrady, like that rim in Milwaukee last season that rejected your reverse dunk thingie you tried to do, we are rejecting your lame attempts to become the center of our universe. Hell, at least Favre had the balls to completely defy his coach on national TV. You just gave one of those typical Tracy "I'm a team player and I won't complain, but the fact that I'm discussing it with this goofy smirk on my face inherently means I AM COMPLAINING" soundbites, took your ball, and went home. I honestly hope that the Rockets buy you out, you sign with a contender, ride the pine, and win a title, just so I can hear you act like you had something to do with it. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, T-Mac. And for the last time...STOP looking at me like that!
Urban Meyer, I have to admit, you came awfully close to knocking Tiger from his perch. That whole "I'm resigning because I need to get my life priorities like health, God, and family squared away" thing, I mean you really had me going there. And doing it right before the best player you've ever coached is getting ready to play in his last game was a nice touch. The coup de grace may have been how you backpedaled on your resignation a day later, reportedly after attending a "spirited Sunday practice." Your attempt to take down Tiger was the Triple Lindy of attention grabbing. That said, you resigned on Saturday. Here we are on Tuesday and lookatcha -- what are you, really? Just another beleaguered, overly stressed out college football coach. (I am clapping with my hands over my head for you sarcastically in a "Nickerson, you're just a typing teacher" kind of way.)
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Mike Leach, you're late to the dance, but if you're going to try and get in the game late you have to swing for the really bizarre fences, and I have to admit -- treating Craig James' kid like Andy Dufresne going to solitary in The Shawshank Redemption could probably be topped by only two things: one, actually sending Craig James himself to solitary, and two, Tiger Woods' banging waitresses from various breakfast eateries throughout the continental U.S. It was a fine attempt, and I feel badly that it appears it may cost you your job, but you had to take a shot.
I commend all of you for trying to win "Transcendent Story of the Year 2009" this late in the game. As Jim Rome used to say after each of my Smack Off victories in consoling the runner-up, in any other year that would probably be good enough to win. But unless in the next two days Joe Paterno crashes his Escalade because he was drunk-sexting Bobby Bowden naked while Ustreaming it (link to the broadcast on Twitter account @JoePa69, of course), it appears we already have a winner....
...oh, and sorry Eldrick. No green jacket for this one. Just attention. Lots and lots of attention.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7PM weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.