Jeff Pearlman

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I don’t care which team wins

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I want to clear something up, because there seems to be some confusion.

OK, here I go.



[Clears throat]

I don’t care whether your team wins or loses.

When I say “I don’t care,” I TRULY don’t care. Kansas lost to Washington tonight—don’t care. The Jets beat the Chiefs a few days ago—don’t care. I’m not rooting for X to beat U or Y to beat X. I’m not down, I’m not rejected, I’m not dejected. When @evans1371 asked (below) whether I’m “butthurt,” the answer is a very sound, “No, I’m not butthurt. I’m still not even sure what butthurt means.” Actually, perhaps I am butthurt—if that’s some sort of compliment. Which it doesn’t appear to be.

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What I am, truly, is fascinated. By the irrational adult fans who live and die with college athletes. By the dad who ignores his kids on Sundays to sit on the couch and scream at Eli Manning. By the old Southern gentleman who wouldn’t allow his kids to date African-Americans, but loves Auburn’s tailback to bits. By the recent behavior of Tennessee fans, who (and I’m not exaggerating here) provided loads of comedic material for a nation in need. It’s all so weird and quirky and funky and jarring. To observe irrational sports fanaticism is to understand (to a degree) Roy Moore loyalty. You wed yourself to an ideal, then refuse to let go.

So why do I write about sports? Simple: The stories. The people. The narratives. It’s gripping and fun. Most important, come day’s end it’s neither life nor death. It’s a beautiful distraction.

Little more.

  • Jeff

    “the old Southern gentleman who wouldn’t allow his kids to date African-Americans, but loves Auburn’s tailback to bits.”

    You couldn’t make your point about the silliness of sports fanaticism (a valid point about a phenomenon that has sold a lot of your books) without shoehorning in racism?

    If you have to assign additional unrelated negative attributes to stock characters to support your argument, you’re cutting your argument off at the knees.

    When you resort to this tactic, are you really any better than the Fox News shut-in who thinks a horde of Prius driving transgender Muslims are coming to take his gun, ban football & force him to cater a gay wedding in the women’s bathroom at the Santa Monica Whole Foods?

Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life