I was sitting in a sub sandwich shop (not Subway), and the ubiquitous flat TV screen was there. I bit into my sandwich and looked up at the screen: ESPN. Was the show football? Baseball? Soccer (I love soccer)? WNBA? No.
ESPN was covering the National Cornhole Championship. If you don’t know (I don’t know what “cornhole” means—I hope it’s something vulgar), Corn Hole is basically pro beanbag. It is good wholesome fun at a Labor Day picnic (unless “cornhole” is something vulgar and the kiddies get ideas), but ESPN?
The contestants stood about twenty feet away and tossed beanbags into wooden boxes with slanted holes in them. They scored either by getting the bag into the hole (a lot of my favorite games involving getting it into the hole—unless “getting it into the hole” is something vulgar), or knocking away another player’s bag which lies near the hole.
The sound was off, so I didn’t know what the athletes were saying—though they were banging their chests and raising triumphant fists, and a bleached blonde announcer, the type who does local news in small towns but isn’t considered cute enough for the Bigs, interviews the combatants. But the crowd was boozy and lusty. Men standing behind the bleached blond were gazing longingly at the bleached blonde’s ass. It seems as though the athletes had certain weight requirements: Tubby, tubbier and tubbiest.
Which leads me to last week, midweek, midday. I wasn’t feeling well. I had knocked off writing, and I was lying on the couch. I hit the old clicker to see if there was a ballgame on. ESPN again. Only this time, the event was, I kid you not, the National Cherry Spitting Competition live from somewhere in Michigan (I think the programmers were ashamed to say the exact location).
Old geezers (sorry, athletes) were standing behind a line, grabbing their crotches, contorting their mouths and spitting cherry pits across a paved asphalt area that has line delineating distance. The ESPN cameras weren’t good enough to show the teeny, flying cherry pits, so they showed the launch (the spit) and the landing, the pits tumbling to a stop and more old geezers (sorry, judges) with tape measures shuffling (no, not Shuffleboard) forward and taking measurements.
The sound was on. Reenactment:
Announcer 1: This is Fred’s 20th year of competition.
Announcer 2: He told me he hates leaving his sheep.
Announcer 1: Who doesn’t? But his son is on the farm to hump them while he’s here.
Announcer 2: You just said hump.
Announcer 1: His last name is Hump. They call it “humping the sheep.” I apologize to the national network. Here we go. Fred steps up…launching…Oh, eighteen feet five inches. Wow, Fred?
Announcer 2: That was neat considering that Fred swallowed his pit last round—and that counts as a turn!
Announcer 1: Let’s go down to the field and our Cindy Big-Breasts. Cindy?
(Cindy approaches contestant with a microphone.)
Cindy: Tell us all how you did it. I hear you have a mouth secret.
Fred: Uh-yah. I take that there pit, moisten it, and I fold my tongue in two longways. Then I jump forward and fire, unfolding my tongue and whammo!
Cindy (to the booth): Guys, Fred just gave advice to all those young spitters with dreams out there.
Fred: Can I have a hug, Cindy?
Cynthia: Fuck off, pervert. (to the booth) Back to you, guys.
ESPN? Are you so cynical that you’ll show anything on TV that’s cheaper to shoot than baseball? Announcers? Trying to make sports heroics out of beanbags and cherry pits? Have you no shame? How about Mighty Mucus Blowing (brought to you by Kleenex) and Underwear Crack Tug (Michael Jordan No-Tag) and Women’s Distance Farting (Febreze)?
Give me games with stealing and slamming and putting the old ball into the hole (into the hole, Tiger!) and goals and “downtown” and shuttlecocks and pucks (unless “shuttlecock” and “puck” are something vulgar and the kiddies get ideas).