Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006: The Airing of Grievances

The year 2006 was a landmark year in terms of the ineptitude of my favorite sports entities. Allow me to piss and moan about the past 12 months, award-show style, as I hand out trophies to the people and franchises who disappointed me the most. Don't worry, the list is lengthy, and fueled by a deep resentment toward those celebrating, oh, I don't know, world series victories.

My Britney Spears cerca 1998 Tease of the Year award goes to the Houston Astros, for their quasi-inspired play for the majority of the season, followed by their now customary late season stomp toward the playoffs. In 10 fantastic, unbelievable days, the 'Stros went from finished to on the brink of winning the NL Central, thanks to what would have been the biggest collapse in baseball history by the Cards. The possibility of this happening turned me into a giddy schoolgirl just imagining the possibility of reveling in 1) my own sense of elation and 2) the misery of the annoying Cardinal fans I endure here in Missouri. But predictably, the Astros couldn't capitalize on the Redbirds' mediocrity, and hit like 4th graders in the last series of the season against Atlanta.

The Cardinals then rode their clear wave of momentum through the mediocre NL in the playoffs, then defeated a Detroit Tiger team whose pitching staff forgot how to play defense. Don't get in a tissy, Cardinal fan, your team won, and you reserve the right to be smarmy as champions. Congratulations. On a positive note, I was privvied to seeing a roided-up Kenny Rogers, who shouted maniacally and doctored baseballs to everyone's enjoyment.

The Houston Rockets get no awards this year, since I'm not entirely sure they played in the past 12 months. Injuries have rendered our promising roster hapless, while we stand in the now monumental shadows of the hated Mavs, Spurs, and Suns, who will undoubtedly duke it out in the West Finals for the next three years. Tracy McGrady will officially be known as T-Back to me until his injury problems subside and he proves to me that he hasn't come down with Grant Hill syndrome. On the other hand, Yao Ming made fantastic advances in his game when he was healthy. While continuing to improve an already stellar jumpshot and swift turnaround moves, he is playing the game with a swagger that was absent in his first few years in Houston.

None of this matters to anyone I get to talk to on a daily basis, though, because the only thing they remember about Yao is Nate Robinson blocking him in a game a month ago. They ignore the fact that Nate fouled him on the play, Yao destroyed the Knicks that night, and the Rockets won the game. Of course, seven people at Mizzou follow the NBA, so I probably shouldn't invest much in most of their opinions, anyway.

The Inaugural Tarek Tabbara "Reeaalllyyyy?" Award goes to Mizzou Football, who perplexed fans in ways we didn't know were possible over the course of the season. Was it the Tecmo Bowl-style running game, featuring no more than three running plays? The playcalling brilliance of Coach Pinkel - which included gems like running 4-WR shotgun, spread packages inside the opponents' 2-yard line? Or was it the way they were admittedly robbed by officials against juggernaut Iowa State? No, the "Really??" moment of the year came during the Sun Bowl, when, after witnessing the team blow another late lead, I really wasn't that shocked or disappointed. I have grown to expect letdown as a Mizzou fan.

The Frank Costanza Grievance of the Year Award goes to everyone's favorite insignificant NFL franchise, the Houston Texans. This year really was a constant exercise in frustration and 'WTF-ism' for anyone with brain activity who was either forced or compelled to follow this team. Our consolation prize for the Hindenburg-like disaster of 2005 was winning the number one pick in the draft. The Texans, when presented the options of two Heisman winners (Bush and Leinart), hometown hero and state icon Vince Young, or trading the pick down in order to get more pieces to help the team, went with the only logical choice: a defensive end with half of a productive season under his belt.

I'd like to thank the Texans for this, because as my Columbia acquaintances' embassador to the city of Houston, I was given the opportunity to rationalize this decision to countless football fans, drunk males, and various fucktards over the course of the year. Meanwhile, the Darth Vader of my youth, Bud Adams, who moved my beloved Oilers to Tennessee when I was a kid, drafted Vince Young, who promptly urinated all over the Texans at Reliant Stadium in his first visit to the H as a pro. Vince left the field screaming, "THIS IS MY CITY!" and pounding his chest after his 40-yard touchdown scamper beat the Texans in OT. Coach Kubes' inaugural campaign was littered with injuries, but the team did show promise, tripling the win output of last year by going 6-10. Most depressing statistic: this 6-win total was one win shy of our franchise best.

This sums up the grievances I had during the past 12 months. It's not that everything sucks, though, my friends, it's just more fun to complain about these things in a joking matter in this format. Now, I must put the Festivus Pole back in the crawl space.

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