First, last, and only love
If there is a “Bah humbug” equivalent to St. Valentine’s Day, please, for the love of Stalin, let me be the first to know.
What the Grinch is to Christmas, I am to Valentine’s Day—except I don’t magically transform into a lovable dolt at the end who apologizes to all the Whos in Whoville.
I hate people in love. I think they all should be tackled by Mike Ditka, body checked by Scott Stevens, punched by Mike Tyson, and driven over by Jeff Gordon—in that order.
But I sometimes think my anger stems from my loneliness, so to combat that, I have decided to take things into my own hands . . .
Hi, my name is Emmanuel Moutsatsos, I’m 23 years old, a journalist, and am looking for a sophisticated, intelligent, and personable woman who shares the same interests and passions as I, which are:
The penalty box and starting blocks, and “Let’s go, Oilers—Let’s go!”
NFL Films and perfect spirals, and eye black and ear holes and slobbermouth tackles, and multi-millionaires piling on each other with glee, dignified CEOs acting like children watching them, and fans rising to their feet when the players trickle out of the stadium tunnel.
Long walks to the green with your putter, crossover dribbles so quick “The Flash” would have problems keeping up, broken bats and salt-stained bats and Fenway monsters, and Joe Carter Blue Jays jerseys.
Reverse one-and-a-half somersaults with three-and-a-half twists from platforms most people wouldn’t climb let alone jump from, and being on par, and the seventh inning stretch, the “Goaaaaaaaaaal” guy, Yogi Berra, and “The Catch” (and watching all of the Dallas Cowboys and their fans cry afterwards).
The 19th hole and the soft leaner in the lane, Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, and how nobody eats peanuts in the shell except at baseball games and passing the hotdog eight seats down, and “Hey, ump! Move around, yer killin’ the grass!” and bloop singles and mixed doubles and Willie Mays triples.
And marathoners and 78-year-old bowlers who come close to throwing a perfect game, and the way athletes just can’t stand still for the national anthems, and, of course, Wayne Gretzky and playing street ball against my bro.
“Through the five hole!” and the back-nine, and seeing the breath of everybody at Lambeau Field in December, and “Thanks for stopping by the booth” and Hail Marys, the swim moves, and way the holder catches it, sets it down, and spins it perfectly in one-eighth of a second.
They way you still beat Larry Bird in the driveway and hangin’ on the net, and Madden and Summerall, and Cheez Doodles, and the 49ers’ logo, and a 165-pound punt returner under a 50-foot-high, 50-yard punt in horizontal rain with half the nation watching and a half a dozen 230-pound men psyched up and very anxious to see the inside of his neck.
And “You couldn’t guard me—the secret service couldn’t guard me,” and “Hi, Mom!” and catching a foul ball while holding a beer in your other hand and not spilling, and then appearing on TSN’s highlight of the night, and Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.
The unsportsmanlike penalty, and writers banging out a 20-inch story in 20 minutes in a meat-locker-cold press box, and the late-great Jim Murray of the L.A. Times and Red Smith, who is having a beer next to him.
And the Oilers of the ’80s and “You got to believe!” and the instant replay and the two-minute drill done by John Elway, and “Just a bit outside” and “fumbalaya-fumbilinksi-fumbleroony,” and Rocky and popcorn sticking to your shoes at the arena, and “I just won the Super Bowl and I’m going to Disneyland.”
And the ski jump and the fat man on the Jumbovision dancing as if he were part of a pagan sacrifice, and Wayne Gretzky, and diving for a return, and the drop shot and the champion’s parade and “Ali—Bumbaye!”
And the way the crowd starts a roar and hits the high note right up to the kickoff, and the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and a triple-triple jump combination followed by a spin that would make most people fall straight on their face.
The Tour de France and the salary cap, and the Gordie Howe hat trick and the NIKE spring line, and 125 yards to the pin on the fairway with no wind, and the way rock climbers are able to pull themselves over a ledge with only two fingers without a safety harness.
The signing bonus and the 2004 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees, and Jack Johnson, and “Hit em’ high, hit em’ high, hit em’ high” from “Space Jam,” and athletes who think they can act and actors who think they can play.
And Olympiakos and a 200m race from Michael Johnson, a Vince Carter dunk over a 7’2” French player, and applause given to the winner and the cheering heard for the last-place finisher. . . .
You know what? A light bulb just turned on. Who needs women when you have sports? Sports will never cheat on you, never ask “Do you think I’m fat?” and will never provide a dull day.
I could go on and on, but I’ve got to go—there’s a game on.
First, last, and only love