Friday, August 13, 2010

Pre-Season Smack

I promised Woman: Confused that I’d do a sports post and I’m nothing if not a man of my word.  I’ve been pretty much leaving sports alone since the Stanley Cup playoffs, but now the 2010 football season beckons and it’s beginning to draw my attention.  And not even in a good way.

The Ratbirds had their first pre-season game last night.  It was against the Carolina Panthers and broadcast nationally on ESPN.  For some reason though, they also saw fit to broadcast it on the local CBS affiliate here, and in the process, pre-empting Big Brother.  Pissed me right the hell off.  I mean, it’s the same exact broadcast; why does it need to be on two channels?

Yes, yes, I know… for all the people that don’t have cable.  What’s that, about a dozen in the Baltimore metro area?  I want Big Brother damn it!  It was eviction night.

Oh well, I’ll catch it on On Demand.  Crisis solved.  My downward spiral into Lowest Common Denominator Television continues.

OK, we were talking about sports…

I don’t know what it is about me that revels in counter-cultural activities.  (As you may remember from last season, I despise the Ravens, and spelled out my issues with this band of idiots in a post from November.)  I work in a big building and since it’s located in downtown Baltimore, it’s populated with about 80% Ravens fans.  But there’s a small, secretive group of us Steeler fans that scurry along the baseboards and pop out at unexpected times.  We covertly acknowledge each other in the hallways, maybe trade tasty links once in a while.

This year, we decided to organize.  One of the executive admins and I decided to compare notes and come up with a list of all the Steeler fans we knew in the building and see if they might be interested in getting together for lunch every so often, to talk a little Pittsburgh football.  The response was unanimous… everyone wanted in.  It’s especially good that we have one of the Executive Vice Presidents in the group… that kind of pull gets us the boardroom for lunch!

If we’re going to have a secret club, I decided we needed to have a name and logo.  So this is what I came up with.  I still have to see if the group approves.

Anyway, we’re having our inaugural lunch before the opening game.  And I mean a real game, not freakin’ pre-season.  I really don’t follow pre-season at all.  Games are totally meaningless.  The scrubs take most of the snaps and the teams don’t game-plan for each other.  All I want to see is my team not take any injuries.  If the starters look sharp, that’s just gravy.

As you may have seen before, I’ve never been a bashful fan.  My cube is always tricked out with Steelers (and Penguins) decorations.  There is never a doubt where I stand.
My current cube, shot a couple seasons ago.  There are 2 more Terrible Towels just to the right of the palm plant.

One thing I like to do is tack up negative Ratbirds headlines on the outside of my cube wall.  I just want to make sure the Rattie fans’ heads don’t get too big, you see.  But back in 2005, I took this to an art form, literally.

I was in my previous department and was surrounded by a lot of Ravens fans.  When the Ratbirds opened the season with a couple of losses, I decided to make a collage out of the press clippings.  I figured I’d do it for a few weeks and have a little fun with my purple-clad co-workers.  It started out like this:
Click the pic for the larger, more detailed version.  Same with all the shots to come.

Well, the losing continued and the headlines and pictures were just priceless.  The thing was, this was the local paper… the cheerleaders!  The Detroit game was especially juicy because the Rats committed over 20 penalties and completely melted down.  So I kept the board going.

I had my growing collage hung on a big pillar, above the height of the cube walls.  You could see it from all over the floor.  I had one friend in particular that was especially rabid about the Rats, so just to twist the knife a little further, I affixed his name to it.  I told him it was an honor I was bestowing.

The losing kept up all season so I kept at it… the headlines, pictures of angry faces, fumbled footballs and celebrating opposition.  The biggest problem is that I had limited space.  I had to keep covering up older items to make room for the new.  By the end of the season in January, the thing was packed.  Now, I present my tribute to purple futility:

I don’t think Jason ever forgave me, especially when my Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl that season.  Or when they won it again in 2009.  But by that time, they barely came around me during football season any more.  I can’t imagine why…

17 comments:

  1. So glad we got a peek at your cube. I have to show this to Rich. He will love it! Your collages were great and it must be a "kick" in the head when you put those up. Have lots of fun at your Steeler lunches. Sounds like a pretty big crew you rallied together. We'll be waiting for updates. BTW, Rich is watching the pre-season game tonight. Yuck! I'll be upstairs watching old "House" re-runs.

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  2. I tickled my own self with the fact that I went to so much work for the sole purpose of ticking off my co-workers. I hadn't had such fun since I painted the office in my Cleveland record store a blinding shade of gold with black trim.

    As much as I'm ho-hum about the pre-season, if I could GET the Steelers game out here, I'd probably watch, at least the first half.

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  3. OMG, I love you! I love you for sooo many reasons.
    1. Awwww, you did a post for me! I didn't even expect it until closer to the season...
    2. The ACTUAL season because who really SERIOUSLY gives a flying fuck about pre-season?? I mean... REALLY?! Apparently...
    3. The idiots in your office who are rabid blackhawks fans (or whatever that damn ugly bird is called) really didn't have much of a choice, being that they are in baltimore but it sure does seem they're so damn hardcore about it that they have to put it on TWO channels?! REALLY? I can't even get that kind of coverage for a local team's bowl game here!
    4. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the wall of shame, er... the newspaper clippings
    5. You did a post for me :) You did not disappoint. I know you well enough that I knew there HAD to be some sort of shenannigan's in relation to football!
    This post here, bluz... this is why I love you. You take football, underground secrecy, public humiliation and turn it into... LIFE. Pure awesomeness.
    Teach me how to be you, please.

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  4. You are so rabid, it just makes me laugh!

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  5. Woman,
    Thanks! This was just another post that didn't really take shape until I started writing it. I was just going to mention my ambivalence towards pre-season games, then maybe mention the new clandestine crew of Steelers fans. Then I remembered the Ravens Collage of Fail. I'd been meaning to use that since last season and never got around to it.

    And yes, there's almost always shenanigans involved with the stuff I do. It's just my way. It's something I learned from my dad... you can never go to far in time and effort to zing someone... the more, the zingier.

    Vange, I learned that from Dad too. If you're gonna go, go all in.

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  6. How hilarious! You'd better watch your back, though, in case any of those Baltimore fans decide to emulate "Ray Ray". You might get stabbed or shot or whatever the heck he did.

    I get it that pre-season isn't "real" football, but I must confess not only to having gone to Saturday's game (with my son - his first game ever SO MUCH FUN) but had the TV on to football all day Sunday while I putzed around the house. I have a serious problem.

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  7. I cannot stand pre-season. It seems such a waste of time (for fans). Here it is Monday, and I honestly can't tell you if the Steelers won on Saturday or not. Although I did hear they moved Dixon up to #2 QB. I guess I have selective attention before the season starts.

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  8. DG,
    When taking someone to their first game ever, the Pre-Season Distain is waived! It’s a good “starter” game. The full-throated hysteria of a regular season game, especially during a playoff chase, might be intimidating for a young one, if it’s their first experience.

    Did you stay through the rain delay? I know I’da been outta there, knowing that only the scrubs were going to be playing in the 2nd half.

    RPM,
    Same here, obviously…

    Just get through the game without injury. I can’t believe anyone stayed after the rain/lightning delay. I tell you, as much as I love the Steelers, I’d be G.O.N.E. I’m not getting MY ass soaked to the bone, just to watch some scrubs run around in the 2nd half of a pre-season game. Having spent a couple games in the past, getting soaked, it’s just a miserable experience. I’d rather it be 15 degrees than raining when I’m at a game.

    They’re probably just keeping ol’ Charlie Batch around until Ben is ready to go. Then they ought to find him a spot as a coach or something. But he’s getting too old and fragile to be counted on to fill in, in anything less than a total emergency. And even then, I’d put in Antwaan Randle El first.

    I would like to see what Dixon could do in a game, though, now that he knows the offense better than he did when he played against the Ratbirds.

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  9. We stayed until the clock on the scoreboard read 0:00, and I still had to drag him out. To the rain he commented, "Mom, 'real fans' don't get scared off by a little rain."

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  10. THAT'S YOUR CUBE??? I always thought you had a corner office with windows, on the top floor.

    I only watch college football (LSU) and occasionally the Saints. It's all I can do mentally to keep up with them!

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  11. DG,
    I'm proud of that boy! You and the "other" DG must be doing a great job!

    Judie,
    Sorry, I'm just another cube-monkey. But I will have you know that I got a certificate a couple years ago for having the cube with the most personality.

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  12. Judie - you are my new BFF!!
    I watch LSU religiously (and am wearing the LSU shirt and shorts right now...) and only sometimes the Saints.
    **ends hijack**

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  13. Woman Confused, meet Judie; Judie meet Woman Confused.

    OK, you're on your own...

    (Go Buckeyes.)

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  14. You got collage-making skillz, Bluz.

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  15. BG,
    Who knew?

    When I used to work at a craft store, they considered me Crafting Impaired.

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  16. I probably shouldn't mention (or maybe I have already) that Tom and I are very loyal Cowboys fans, huh? :) I actually am more open than he is. I was rooting for the Steelers during their SB years, but not taking over the remote when a Dallas game was on. :) Marriage = Compromise, right? :)

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  17. Cristy,
    Yes, you mentioned you liked that team before, but I like you anyway!

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