Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life as a Metaphorist

Life is a metaphor.

Profound statement. Utterly ridiculous, utterly truthful, utterly made up by someone who was bored with the daily grind that is encompassed by life on earth. We live through a lot of days people, eventually we get bored and start drawing connections that aren't really there.

Now look, I know it's the holiday season and everyone's got people to see. There's more to do and less time to read this crap. I'll try to make this concise, but more for my benefit than for yours. And if you're one of those jerks who runs at the word "basketball", this post may not be for you. It involves sports.

Earlier this week I asked for five life anecdotes that I could use for my Classic Brian post, and I got six. Sorry, Conor.

But the fact is, if you have enough of an imagination, sports can serve as a metaphor for anything. Anything at all. And that's yet another reason why people like them so much. A lot of old football guys talk about "football as a metaphor for life," well that's not true guys. As George Carlin perceptively noted, football is a metaphor for war. YouTube the video yourself, as I do not have the time to go search for it and link it, I may update that later. But, I don't wanna be Conor, ya know, so. No promises. But sports, the grand spectrum, it can be likened to nearly anything that happens. I haven't found the sporting equivalent of the Holocaust yet, but, well, let's hope that correlation never surfaces.

If you look at the song "Bloodbuzz Ohio" by The National, the whole song can be analogized to the plight of LeBron James. I did it. I sent my findings to Katie O'Brien via e-mail. I cracked up a bunch. Who knew The National were so prophetic about The (supposed) King's decision making. The fact is, sports is more than dunks and touchdowns. It's home runs too. And stolen bases. And failed stolen bases. And strikeouts. Groundouts. Incompletions. Losing seasons. Fired managers. Disgruntled fans. Team rivalries. Sadness. Happiness. Success. Failure. Sports encompasses all the emotions of human life and puts them in an arena that everyone can observe and take in without the risk of real world implications. It's like politics. Except there are not countries and thousands of lives at stake. There's just the prize, the pursuit, and the cellar. But what lies between these facets is so much more than one would suspect.

Natalie Cheng told me the story of her and her friend missing a train on two separate occasions after running through the snow to get there. That's a hilariously sad story. A struggle to run through snow and get to the train and catch a train. All to watch the opportunity slip through your fingertips.

Now the part where I relate that to sports. To hyperbolize Natalie's traumatic situation and make it something a little more grand. Look back to 1990 when a young football team from Buffalo was busting through to the cream of the crop in the National Football League. That team was highlight by an outstanding quarterback, a dominant running back, and a dynamic wide receiver. I won't give you their names because you'll forget them. (Aw heck: Jim Kelly QB, Thurman Thomas RB, and Andre Reed WR) Anyway, this team experienced enormous success during the regular season and made it all the way to the Super Bowl, where they lost on a botched last-second field goal and were upended 20-19 by the New York Giants. The next year they made it back, only to lose again. The heartbreak at that point must have been tangible. Next year the team rallied the troops and put together yet another stellar year despite their previous shortcomings. Then they met the Dallas Cowboys, a team with a better QB RB WR trio (Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin respectively) and got destroyed 52-17. That's like Nixon and Regan election numbers. Embarrassment. Third time was not the charm. Well neither was the fourth. The team got beat the next year by the same team 30-13. Four straight Super Bowl appearances, four straight crushing defeats. And if you think the Super Bowl is unimportant, check this stat out: People who voted in the 2008 election= Approximately 131 million. People who watched the Super Bowl last year: 106 million.

Jobin Kokkat revealed to me his serial cereal eating, as he destroyed 2 boxes of cereal in a seven-hour period. I could make several connections here. Obviously he is overindulging a bit. Sort of like the Yankees do every off-season. They cash in on free agents like nobody's business. Or more like there's nobody else in their business. They hog everybody. A-Rod, Jeter, Roger Clemens, Mark Teixera, Giambi, I could list on for four more paragraphs. But I won't Jobin, ya got one box of cereal down the hatch why scarf down another?

Because cereal's delicious. And nothing in life tops it. Just like in baseball nothing tops a perfect game. Enjoying whizzing pitches by opposing batters and watching them look dumbfounded as you continually gun them down with your rocket arm. Roy Halladay nearly duplicated this feat. He threw a perfect game in May (no hits allowed, no walks, no batters hit, and definitely no runs) and a no-hitter in October (no hits allowed) both of these guaranteeing certain victory as eliminating every bit of cereal guarantees certain satisfaction. And to do it all within such a short span? Even more amazing. Jobin, you need to tame your appetite.

Charles Yang posted a joke about the movie Air Bud. Okay, but an unlikely basketball star has before risen up through adversity and inspired the shit out of people. Ladies and gentlemen, J-Mac.

Robert Langellier told me he made a mix CD. Did he really? Well, I'm familiar with his (and Conor's) methods. They meticulously search their iTunes libraries and find all the songs that fit the moods and all the transitions that work well together and what-not. Kids, your General Managers. GM's put teams together. They build the roster adding and dropping players. A GM's job isn't done at the outset of the season. It takes many in-season moves to perfect your roster. Some great players don't work well together, just like how you can't have 19 smash hits on your mix CD. Songs have to work together, and they have to flow well. You like to have your big hit be your number two or three song? Well many basketball teams like to have their best player be their shooting guard or small forward, then you add in some complementary players and you end up with the Lakers. Now if I put "Wake Up," "1901," and "Bad Romance" on a mix CD you'd have the Miami Heat. I got that joke. Maybe Classic Brian did. Nobody else (who reads this) can put those two opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum together. Maybe.

Classic told me he's made fun of people and burned bridges in the process. Sounds to me like Brendan's pissed. Anyway, Brian is a real T.O. Terrell Owens is a great receiver, but a maniac. He is obsessed with himself and if everybody else isn't in line with him then its their fault, obviously. He's a great receiver, he can catch anything you throw his way, he can block, and he can make a play with the ball. Having a guy like Brian is great until things start to go badly, then he's pointing fingers and acting like he's doing nothing wrong. Then he starts feuding with the quarterback and eventually breaks the whole team apart. Classic, you are a cancer to the team. And yes, that phrase is politically correct. But it's okay because one day you'll find another cancer to hang out with and you guys will be 2-12 but you'll be really entertaining and have your own TV show in which you blame other people for your failures. Is this bridge lighting?

Conor told me he DD'd. Cool. Don't care. I said five for a reason, Con. Conor's story can be metaphorized (not a word) to someone who didn't make the team. A story that never got its chance to play out because Conor was just too slow to pull the trigger on his suggestion.

Well that's all I've got for today. Enjoy the Holidays. What'll you be doing on Christmas? I know I will be watching the five consecutive NBA games that ABC is broadcasting this year, and figuring out all my life's troubles in the process.

--Eliot Sill


  1. Chill as fuck bro. You know me all too well apparently. Love you.


  2. First shout out in Classic Brian. Eliot is my favorite!

  3. You continue to disgustingly underrate my sports knowledge.

  4. Yeah, man, even I got that reference.


  5. I said maybe and meant Appreciate more than Got. And Robert you have previously said how much you don't care about nba basketball.

    shut up guys.


  6. You should listen to the Arcade Fire. They're a good band that I like.

  7. Eliot have you heard of Radiohead? They're rad!


  8. thats a stupid and incorrect analogy to make.