Dec 30, 2009, 12:00 PM EDT
This blog has only been in existence for a couple of months, but Jelisa Castrodale has been around considerably longer. So we’ve enlisted her to write a sports year-in-review, while cautioning her not to include her usual secret coded messages to the Freemasons. Also this article will be remarkably free of Charlie Sheen. Let’s begin with the story you all expected.
By Jelisa Castrodale
A new decade begins in a matter of hours, which means there’s nothing left to do but shove this box of wine in the fridge, brush the last crumbs of ’09 out of my keyboard and — of course — make a list that recaps the highlights of the year, because that’s what bloggers do. You’ve no doubt already scrolled through the Top Ten Books James Patterson Wrote This Year or the Top Ten Year-End Top Ten Lists or the Top Ten Books James Patterson Wrote This Morning. So here’s my contribution to the stack, something I like to call Tiger Woods and Nine Other Things That Happened.
Obviously, Tiger and his Value-Pack of Mistresses are the biggest sports story of 2009, if not one of the biggest stories, period. A friend and I argued about this over lunch yesterday, half-chewed fries falling out of my mouth as I insisted that Tiger’s wood had to be the biggest deal, because it quickly moved from the sports page to the front page, lingering there long enough for everyone — even those who couldn’t name another golfer if Phil Mickelson was gnawing on their left leg — to understand what’s happening, whether they wanted to or not.
Even the most elderly of my elderly neighbors, the one who stopped caring about pop culture shortly after Patsy Cline died, had heard enough to suggest that Tiger should’ve “kept it in his trousers”, shaking her head as she pressed the elevator button with the tip of her cane.
There are a number of reasons why he’s snagged our collective attention, partially because before landscaping his neighbor’s yard with an Escalade, he’d been a bland-but-talented trophy-hoisting golf machine. No one ever suspected that boring old Tiger Woods would be the one with the increasingly tangled personal life, the athlete who filled up his Alleged Mistress Rewards Card (have 12 affairs and the 13th is free!); that he’d end the year with his sponsors disappearing faster than his hairline; or — depending on which tabloid you believe — picking shards of his incisors out of his wife’s knuckles.
So what were the events that caught our eyeballs before Tiger did? Let’s take a look, shall we?
2. In February, Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez admitted that he’d taken performance-enhancing drugs, leading to endless debates about his career accomplishments and encouraging countless guys on countless Applebee’s barstools to refer to him as “A-Roid”, shortly before high-fiving the only other patron and ordering another SoCo and Lime.
3. On the field, A-Ro(i)d and the other guys in pinstripes won the World Series — the 27th Yankees championship, according to this tasteful commemorative blanket — over an overmatched Phillies team. Whether because of their Series win or simply their heritage, New York Yankees items were the most frequently purchased things on eBay, far outselling the runner-up category, Twilight merch. Apparently buyers prefer the unsettling dead-eyed stare of Mariano Riviera to the unsettling dead-eyed stare of Robert Pattinson.
4. It was the Year of the Old Guy in the NFL, as greying quarterback Kurt Warner led the Arizona Cardinals to their first-ever Super Bowl and their first postseason appearance since 1998, back when Bill Clinton had America’s most talked-about penis. In what’s become an annual off-season ritual, forty-year-old Brett Favre came out of retirement and saw his shadow, which meant another season of football. His Vikings are currently 11-4 and if this run of brittle-boned heroes continues, I look for the St. Louis Rams to burn their top draft pick on Boniva spokeswoman Sally Field.
5. The Lombardi trophy went to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who actually won the Super Bowl, despite the feel-good story on the Arizona sidelines. In the NBA, the Lakers picked up another NBA championship, making this the best year ever for bandwagon fans since both teams have merchandise that is readily available. Do you know how hard it would’ve been to find an Orlando Magic jersey in, like, Sioux Falls?
6. On the ice, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup over the Detroit Red Wings, although most Americans still think that a Stanley Cup is a protective garment worn under the uniform. The Pens were led by Captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who was both MVP and worth twenty-two points in Scrabble.
7. As for the unpaid professionals of the NCAA, Florida won the FedEx BCS National FedEx Championship Hey, Have You Ever Noticed the Arrow Between the E and the X Game Brought to You By FedEx over Oklahoma, led by quarterback and Patron Saint of Eyeblack Tim Tebow. Regardless of what happens in this weekend’s Sugar Bowl, Tebow will likely enter April’s NFL draft after spending the early spring months doing charity work, ensuring that his hair never touches his ears, and building playground equipment out of his own bones.
8. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke his own already mind-bendingly fast records in the 100m and 200m, running halfway around a track in approximately the same time it takes most people to eat a Twizzler. So far, Bolt’s drug tests have come back clean and I sincerely hope it stays that way, that he won’t join the tangle of spandex-and-spike wearing bodies at the bottom of the pedestal. Unfortunately for track stars, previous experience has conditioned us to think the worst of them, just like CBS sitcoms or Nickelback albums.
9. In France’s World Cup qualifying match against the Republic of Ireland, French captain Thierry Henry used his hands to keep the ball in play, a shady illegal move that set up France’s winning goal. Although admittedly unfair, that loss kept the Boys in Green out of next year’s World Cup and worldwide sentiment for Ireland ran so high that, for almost an entire afternoon, nobody referred to Bono as a douche.
10. I’m not sure what to drop into the final slot. Roger Federer’s record-breaking major win? Mark Buehrle’s perfect game? Urban Meyer’s kinda-sorta-maybe retirement? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
It’s time for me to wrap this up, since that wine’s probably cold by now and James Patterson just coughed out another four books.
Happy New Year, kids.
Jelisa Castrodale is a writer and comedian who has learned a lot about life by making a mess of her own. She chronicles her failures at The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy, covers music for London’s BitchBuzz and twitters while she waits at stoplights. Castrodale was featured in the book Twitter Wit and was named one of Mashable’s 10 Funniest Twitterers.
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