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Sportiness

Saturday 1/4/20

It is 5:30 in the morning. I have been up working for a couple of hours. I am tired. As one might imagine. I must work harder, I must not give in, I must keep going.


I wished to touch upon a few subjects from the sports world. If I don't do it now, I won't do it, so I will do it now.


Ex-Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery checked himself into a rehabilitation facility to combat an alcohol issue, and he is being singled out for his great courage. That's nonsense, and it's a damaging way to think, a damaging message--because of its implications--to broadcast.


Getting help, when one needs help, is great. Admitting one needs help is great. But it's not an act of courage at all. And to make it sound like it is makes it sound very hard to do, to simply be candid with what one is going through, as if there could be dire consequence. Here's the truth: Share what you are going through, and if it's real, and you're not making it up, not looking for attention, people are not going to think less of you at all. They are going to think the converse. They are going to admire you, and, further, they are going to look at their own lives and feel more empowered to be candid and honest about what they need to be candid and honest about.


I have seen this a million times over in my life, during these past eight years of ever-deepening hell, and I see it with this journal. People reach out to me and they say how inspired they are, they want to be strong--they don't expect to be as strong as I am, but they think, and wish, they can be stronger than they currently feel themselves to be.


Being honest about difficulties ought to have no stigma attached to it. No one is going to think less of you. And if someone says that they do, they're the same kind of person who would have kicked you on account of what you were going through, what you were battling, just as they're kicking you when you say, "Okay, here's the reality of what's going on, I am struggling right now," and you don't need those people in your life.


I put on the TV yesterday and heard a few minutes of the Felger and Maz radio show. Boston sports radio. Maz was not there. Jim Murray was filling in for him. He's normally the update guy. Utterly unlistenable. Cartoonish, forced negativity; a kind of ramrodded ignorance which was like a bludgeoning straight-arm to logic; and just plain making up shit. People make millions of dollars a year doing this. What happens is people who are lonely, embittered, or driving alone in their car, put this on; they get sucked into a vortex, and once sucked in, one tends to get dragged down deeper. It's like when you're in high school, and you try not to gossip. But then you're at the lunch table, the gossip starts, it kind of builds, you go back each day. You feel like shit, you feel gross, but you are in on the gossip now, you're in the spiral. A radio program like this is like that.


Murray wears sunglasses in the studio and tries to be this hardass type, but he comes across as very sad and scared, someone who wants to see others suffer so that he can feel better about what is clearly a sucking hole within. I mean, it's not subtle. They had on Chris Gasper of The Boston Globe as a guest. All of these Boston talking head/sports media people love Gasper, because he uses what they consider big words. As a result, Gasper can say anything, and they don't challenge it, because they don't know the words. It's kind of funny. What's even funnier is Gasper is not a bright guy, and most of the time he uses the words incorrectly. But he just says them. And what are the others going to say? So they act like they know what he's just said. Yesterday Gasper remarked that the Patriots literally ran out of gas on the field against the Colts in the 2006 AFC Championship game. They literally ran out of gas, eh, wordsmith? That's what happened? What, was there a fuel leak on the field? Petrol leaked from Brady's ass? So smug and simple. Pretend smart people are the worst. Felger just says the dumbest shit trying to be provocative. Listening to him is like sucking on a bucket of coal. You're letting toxins into your body. Felger makes his remark, then he repeats it. Over and over and over again. He refuses to release from it, say anything else. It's like the tick approach to radio. Just cling and never budge and suck.


How about this? How about have radio programs where the host is funnier, smarter, actually knows things, is more entertaining, edgier--because it's not this faked bullshit--and who you actually want to listen to, who talks in a memorable way, gives you actual insight? Hire that person. Give them a show. Hi. Hello. How are you? Right here. All you have to do is send a note. Infinitely smarter guy who is infinitely better on the radio. What's up?


They were going on as if there was no more clear-cut fait accompli in the history of humankind than that Tom Brady was going to retire, the Patriots could not go anywhere this postseason, etc. I guess he could retire. I would be absolutely shocked. I don't think his skills have slipped. I think he had nothing to throw to this year. His best receiver--his only reliable receiver--was a step or two slower than in years past. He was throwing to a guy who was the tight end in 2005. And even still, Brady was not worse than he was in 2013.


When quarterbacks lose it, you see them lose velocity. Manning, Marino. Manning especially. Brady missed throws at points this year. You miss more throws when you never have a rhythm. He rarely had a rhythm. Sonny Michel sucked this season. There was no running game. James White is a pass catching back. He's a runner when they are in the hurry-up and they're pounding the pace at the other team, who are back on their heels. Throughout the Brady era, a lot of the aerial attack is set up by play action. Less of an option this year without the running game.


As for the Patriots moving on from Brady: for whom? Who is going to be better in 2021? And then there is Brady's whole weird "Tom vs. Time" brand thing, with the health and the pliability and the magic drinks. Need a few more years to really emphasize and validate the brand. But more than that, this guy is a hyper-competive fucker. He's not nearly as competive as I am, but he's competive. I also expect him back in New England. People talk about this team like they sucked. They were 12-4. Easily could have been 14-2. 13-3. What more do you want?


I was reading a comment by a guy somewhere the other day. I don't recall where. And he said, essentially, gee, Brady is always a team guy, never carps about his teammates, never makes passive aggressive remarks, snide remarks, always takes accountability, more than takes accountabilty and even shoulders blame that is not his, never loses his cool with the inane media and their dumbass questions, is a family man, doesn't beat his wife, is thoughtful, and yet, people hate him. They revile him. And the poster concluded by saying, "Jealousy is such a powerful emotion." I get that. It's a big part of this hell right now. A friend of mine said to me yesterday, "You just published A, B, C, you just wrote X, Y, Z, times a million, you have already created more in 2020 than these people will in years, each a work of art they could never approach in a million years, you're an athletic, good-looking white guy from Boston, and of course they think, 'how the fuck could any of this be, how could this guy be,' and of course they hate you and want to stop you. You destroy everything they want to believe in their insane world." What I envy Brady is that he competes in a meritocracy. Doesn't mean luck doesn't play a part. You need a chance. But you will get one. Maybe not many, but you'll get one. And if you can play, if you are better at what you do than everyone else, if you work harder, too, you get to be where you wish to be. There's not a guy better than Sidney Crosby buried in the AHL.


As for the Patriots and their chances: I think they can beat the Titans tonight, I think they could beat Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game. I doubt they can beat the Chiefs, I doubt they can beat the NFC team if they made it to the Super Bowl. They are unlikely to get blown out. I expect them to lose, I don't see them repeating, but you are not going to finish them off easily. It's going to suck trying to finish off this team. They're not going to lose 34-17 in Kansas City. Hell, they could lose tonight. I think this is going to be a tough game, actually.


I think they'll win, but it's going to be a fight. And I don't think that's a bad thing. Taking this one battle at a time plays to their strengths, plays to Brady's strengths, the strengths of the defense. Let me give you a name: J.C. Jackson. I think he's underrated, I think he might eclipse Stephon Gilmore at times during what I hope will be a run. I think the Bills can beat the Ravens, if the Bills get there. You might see a lot of weird things happen during these playoffs. The Titans will have the right mindset on account of some of their players, and, naturally, their coach. Games against ex-Patriots are hard. Some teams get scared at Gillette, but I don't think the Titans will. I don't know what the spread is, but I'm guessing Patriots by 5. I expect them to win by no more than 7. When you think about it, this is a great opportunity. That's how I'd view it. To do something the most successful dynasty in the history of Noth American team sports has never done before, and that's win it all, this way. And repeat in the process. Again, I don't see it coming close to happening, but it's not so far-fetched that my interest in the possibility is not piqued. I'm curious. Maybe my curiosity is misplaced. We shall see.