What started this was supposed to be a one-off about a drought, a butt, and my own sanity. Instead a second chapter came effectively against my own will, and now we’ve got the last installment in an off-topic mini-trilogy for which nobody asked and which I didn’t intend to write.
I suppose that’s how things work though. Everything is supposed to be a one-off, until a bunch of one-offs string themselves together and against our own intentions turn into a story. It’s all an accident.
As far as I can tell, most of everything is an episode zero rather than the story itself — some potential prelude to a future story still unwritten. I’m not knocking episode zeroes.
They’re necessary, after all, these preludes: 70 to 21 ruled. But 70 to 21 every year from the beginning of college football til the end of time? That’s just two numbers.
Without them, Seinfeld is right — we are just cheering for laundry.
We need episode zeroes, yet when we’re in the middle of them we just want to get to the next story.
It’s why Nebraska would fire Bo Pelini and subsequently be trebuchet’d into a decade of mediocrity. Or why we’re constantly jumping the gun to declare that Texas is, indeed, back. Or why, even at the highest, most-sustained peak any college football program has ever reached, the occasional Alabama message board poster declares that actually Nick Saban has lost it and [insert greater novelty but clearly worse coach X] could inject new life into the program.
I think the general antsiness is perfectly reasonable because duh, but I do think it’s worth appreciating those inevitable prologues of our teams and communities or own lives or whatever the shit, even if they do have a tendency to overstay their welcome. Especially because no one story exists in a vaccuum, nor are the lines drawn clear; at what point did 21 years of despair go from an epilogue of 1995 and 2001 and turn into the prologue of 2022?
And even as those 21 years served those narrative purposes, I’d hardly say a generation of kids doing the Ichiro sleeve tug when they’re at bat in whiffle ball isn’t its own season in its own right. And what is Felix if not a fatalistic Greek tragedy?
It’s the episode zero-ass nature of so much that’s why I think college football communities (or hockey fans, or baseball people talking prospects) get so unhinged-ly excited about recruiting.
Of 131 programs, most at any given moment are kind of floating in limbo between their absolute highest and total worst; in these tweener epochs, when any discernable arc is lying dormant in hibernation, we’re just waiting on its restoration — and next year’s class isn’t destined to just be a continuation of that prologue. Maybe they’re the episode one of a season we’d been waiting for. Fingers crossed.
And why sports? I mean some people get excited about the next generation of writers, musicians, actors, etc., sure — but that’s more about dibs-ing that you knew them before they were famous, or being excited to see what more they can create that brings you inherent joy just from experiencing it. (I, for example, will tell you right now that you need to watch Frayed because it is incredible. On HBOMax in the US! Watch it and email me your every thought why is nobody watching this show???) But there aren’t 113-page message board topics of grownups arguing over an Edinburgh Fringe breakout star vs a Just For Laughs New Faces invitee. There are 113-page message board topics of grownups arguing over two 18 year-olds committed to Washington and, I dunno, Notre Dame.
Because both carry with them the possibility of a new season? And because — unlike the above creators of work we enjoy just in its own right — we’ve attached our own communal identity to this organism against which mmmmmmmost forces are working?
Excuse my melodrama for saying it sure feels like the same reason humans attempt to summit K2. Because the universe really really really seems to not be down with that idea. Have you heard the horror stories? The blizzards, the altitude, the crevaces, the avalanches, the falls, the shattered bones, blindness, sickness, hypothermia, death. All signs lead to the universe saying you aren’t allowed here. The universe doesn’t want you at the top of K2. It’s telling you to go home. It doesn’t like your team. It doesn’t like your people. It does not want you to be happy.
And together we decide, despite being presented with this evidence over and over and over and over and over
and over and over and over
and over again:
The universe can go fuck itself.
This is an extremely long-winded way of saying that, for the third and final week in a row, I once again barely watched Washington because a long time ago someone played baseball for the first time in Seattle and I wasn’t missing this season’s finale.
Or at least I think it was the finale. I’m not sure; there’s no intro song or end credits or fade in or “play next” button.
And who knew it would be a double-feature? The network execs sure trusted the writers on this one (finally, amirite). And I think they were correct to. They’ve set it up for a lot of characters to have major stories next season. If you ask me, that Kirby fella is gonna play a major role. He’s just got that face, ya know.
It’s all a very long series of accidents.
What if Sisyphus wasn’t rolling the boulder up a mountain, but a mesa?
I mean, for all we know, he could’ve been. We assume it was a peak but it’s not like we ever see the top of this slope. And in that case, wouldn’t it have been so much worse for him to reach that top, and graduate to just pushing the boulder straight ahead, flat for the rest of the rest of eternity?
At least Hades spared him that.
Far worse than being eternally cursed to roll a rock up a mountain is to have nowhere up to roll it.
Lines of the Week
Losing two weeks in a row and then almost losing to Jayden de goddamn Laura again:
Not losing to Jayden de Laura again:
Way to go team.
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.