June 16th, 2010

My Equally Valid Opinion

An open letter to Rick Reilly

(Rick Reilly has written some sort of awful diatribe about how vuvuzelas disrupt the hypnotic commands he receives from the ESPN implant that forces all of their reporters to focus squarely on the northeast whenever the Red Sox and Yankees have a series, or something. Does he always perform the written equivalent of turning a Philips screw with a Robertson driver? I've sent in this serious epistle because I figured it has more of a chance of being featured in the responses than the more concise, but potentially family-unfriendly, "go fuck yourself.")

Congratulations, sir, on contributing further to the stereotype that Americans have absolutely no idea what they're talking about when the subject turns to international sports. Your willful ignorance would've been only slightly unbearable if this article was simply a filler piece for a slow news week; as an attempt to be relevant during the biggest athletic tournament in the world, it becomes pathetic.

Just because you're failing to be humourous doesn't mean you can't be logically consistent. You complain about all the ties -- a reasonable issue, I understand the desire to have a clear-cut winner -- but then, for some reason, you compare it to the NFL, which has the single most unfair overtime resolution rules in any professional sport. Yes, even worse than the penalty shootouts you'll see if any games in the knockout stage play out to a draw. And on top of that, you then proceed to lambast stoppage time, a system put in place specifically to give games the suspenseful climax you so ruefully claim is better with an arbitrary countdown! Two can play at the game of hypothetical examples: compare "well, Ronaldo could get one last run at the goal, but there's only thirty-five seconds before the buzzer sounds so he's just going to stand around like a lawn flamingo" to "this is the last play of the game, we're past the third minute but the referee will allow the final rush, here comes Ronaldo seeking the equalizer!"

I suppose it's not all bad, though. After all, you did mention hockey, a game where the predominant tough guys are Canadian. You should've picked an example from a more US-centric sport, like basketball's Steve Nash... oh wait, he's ours too. Of course, those are sports where penalties are served by offering the other team a token chance to score, or putting the offending player in a box for a couple of minutes. You know that yellow card, the one you rated the effectiveness of on par with a wet noodle? Yeah, if you get two of those in a row, you're kicked off the field. For the rest of the game. Your team can't replace you and has to play shorthanded to the final whistle. And you're suspended from the next game, even if "the next game" is in next year's qualifying tournament because your team proceeds to get smacked around while you watch impotently from a grainy TV set in the locker room. Doesn't sound quite so laughable now, does it? I imagine Phil Kessel would spend even more time face-down on the ice if he thought he could get Mike Richards benched for it.

Please, next time you're considering writing a "top ten reasons I refuse to let go of my xenophobia" article, give your head a shake and try to craft something more challenging, like inviting your fellow countrymen to reach out to the international community instead of shunning them and turning yourselves into a deluded hivemind, completely out of touch with the rest of the world. Or, at the very least, try to come up with ten unique points. You complained about the vuvuzelas three times. You owe us two extra reasons.