Jan 10, 2014, 8:11 AM EDT
Sadly, most of us will never dunk on a dude’s neck. Or turn on an inside fastball and send it over the Green Monster. But for some stupid reason, we still love to compete. From skating on ice that’s just been Zamboni’ed to having Wes Welker fall to the 6th round of your draft, these are some of sports’ simplest of pleasures.
Receiving a “Thank You” Point in Basketball - You’re at the Y on a cold Tuesday night, and nothing is goin’ your way. Your shot’s not falling, your team’s lost two straight, and the old dude with the rec-specs keeps lookin’ you off. But then something happens that turns everything around, and pretty much validates your entire existence.
An easy layup. Not for you, but for your teammate, set up by you and your Bobby Hurley-like vision. On the way back downcourt, your teammate gives you a nod, and then the subtle point. “Good look,” he says, thanking you for the bucket. “Your goddamn right it was,” you think, but for now you stay silent. Because no one drops fresh dimes like you do.
Blasting An Opponent’s Shuffleboard Disc Off the Court - Why you agreed to play shuffleboard, who can remember? But now it’s 95 degrees and you’re stuck hanging out with the entire cast of Cocoon. To make things worse, your Uncle Don’s in the zone, and if you don’t blast him out of that stupid 10-point triangle, victory is his.
You have two options: miss on purpose (so you can get on with your day) or blast that jerk (and live to fight another round). You know what to do. You are a warrior.
Ohhhhhhh baby, this one’s on point, zipping along the pavement like a heat-seeking missile. (Or maybe more just like a disc-seeking disc. Yeah, let’s not get carried away here, it’s just shuffleboard for cryin’ out loud. And let’s face it, heat-seeking missiles are kinda all over the place anyway.) But then …WAMMO! Take the walk, Uncle Don, the fat lady ain’t singin’ just yet.
That Sweet, Perfect 8-iron - Ahhhh, that sound, that feeling, THAT LOFT, you are a natural. Seriously, if you quit your job and moved down to Florida, you could be on the PGA Tour in 6 to 8 months. Maybe 10. You are the next Rick Rhoden.
Unbuckling Your Ski Boots After a Long Day on the Slopes - What the freak were you thinking? This is fun? Paying $96 dollars for severe lower back pain? Pretty much every 11-year-old kid is better than you at this sport. Even the kid with snot all over his goggles. How it got there? You’ll never know, but the fact remains that that kid has layers of snot caked all over his face.
But now it’s almost over. The lodge is in sight. So very close to a cup of hot chocolate and ultimate relief. Skis off, poles down, heel, toe, heel, toe, heel, toe, snowpants swishing, looking for any bench, ANY GODDAMN BENCH, that can support your cherry red butt. And then you sit down, and unbuckle your boots, OH MY GOD WHY ARE THEY SO TIGHT, HOW DID I EVEN CLAMP THEM ON IN THE FIRST PLACE, and then, release, all is right in the world. Bow down to the king of the mountain.
Picking up a Spare in the 10th Frame - Your wrist is throbbing and your feet are on fire, your high score for the night is a 78. But then comes the tenth, and the extra ball that comes with it, and suddenly the pins need to be punished.
Crushing a Wiffle Ball Over a Fence, Ending the Game Immediately – You are, without a doubt, the Dave Kingman of your generation. Only handsomer. And with a compact swing that would make Chase Utley jels. “Do I lift weights? Nah, not really. Not really. It’s all in the hips. Learned how to take cuts from an old ballcoach. You mighta heard of him, Tom Emanski? Whatever, no big deal, only led his teams to back-to-back-to-back AAU titles. Whatever, only the greatest baseball coach/VHS salesman who has ever lived. You should prolly look him up. If you wanna hit like me.”
No one who grabbed that plastic yellow stick before you hit one out of the yard. Not even your cousin’s 19-year-old boyfriend, and he played Legion. But you? You jacked that knuckler onto the neighbor’s roof, and now it’s time to get yourself a cheeseburg.
(For the record, the feeling of smashing anything is amazing. Ping Pong balls, whack-a-mole, watermelons, all fantastic. Any one of them could’ve been included in this piece.)
THE WORST FEELINGS
Unfortunately, there is no glory without pain. Sometimes we fail. And sometimes we barf. And sometimes we are forced to sleep on the couch after lathering up in Ben Gay. Behold, the 5 worst feelings in sports:
Basketball: Jamming your Finger – Doesn’t matter how it happens, going up for a rebound or deflecting a loose ball, it is the worst thing that can happen in your whole entire life. The absolute worst. Fingers aren’t supposed to turn green and purple. And yellow. And orange. And the sound oh good God the sound!
Softball: Misjudging a Fly Ball and Having it Go Over Your Head - Then turning around and having to sprint after it, so far, so far, like “how is it still rolling?” only to finally get there, pivot like Willie Mays and fire it nowhere near the cutoff man, who now stands in shallow center with his hands in the air, totally embarrassed to know you.
Golf: Not Being Able to Find Your Ball - OMG, you didn’t even hit it THAT FAR off the fairway, and yet you can’t find it? How is that possible? You had your eye on it the whole time. Did someone pick it up? How long are you going to look for it? Seriously you have like, 50 other balls in your bag. Let’s just give up. Why are we still looking? I’m so thirsty.
Basketball: Missing a Free Throw When Shooting Up Teams and Having to Sit Out a Game Because of It - Not only did you miss, but the dude who made it after you shoots with two hands. Ugh, just leave the courts and/or stop playing sports forever.
Football/Hockey/Lacrosse/Boxing/Basketball: Getting Blasted - There is nothing worse than getting blasted. Any type of blast, really. I know I just said that jamming your finger is the worst, but I was wrong. Getting blasted is the worst. It’s interesting because blasting is so fun, and yet getting blasted is so horrible. Can you imagine blasting someone whilst getting blasted? Rocky II was the best movie EVERRRRRRR.
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