Monday, March 24, 2008

Nothing like a mediocre, self-satisfied sports columnist to get the rage juices flowing

As an unofficial rule we try not to spend too much time breaking butterflies on wheels here at the Blueland Chronicle. It's ungallant, and it becomes awfully monotonous and grating when you do it too often. Since I had a go at Doc. Burnside of ESPN last night, it's probably bad taste to break another butterfly on another wheel today, but what the hell-- Jeff Schultz practically screams to be sent to a re-education camp.

I don't take issue with much of what Our Jeff actually says in his latest emission; instead, I have a quarrel with his overall posture towards the Atlanta Thrashers and towards the NHL in general. And I suspect his motives in writing what he does. Let me explain:

Schultz has taken it upon himself to rank the different sports teams in the Atlanta area according to their quality. Our Thrashers--quelle fucking surprise--hold down the bottom of the list at Number 8. We're worse than the Hawks, the Braves, and UGA and GA Tech gladiatorial combat in more than one sport. This is clever. This is subtle. I can't argue with Our Jeff's diagnosis of the Thrashers (you ought to know by now). What I hate about his column--oh, why not?--what I hate about him is his lack of any real interest or emotional investment in hockey. He can analyze the Thrashers' problems reasonably well (who can't?), he can list them in sub-snarky columns, and he can rank the Thrashers at the bottom of his Great List. What he can't do is bring himself to actually give a shit about the Thrashers; the fact is he simply doesn't care whether the Thrashers are good or bad because he doesn't like hockey and he curses the day that the NHL granted Atlanta a new franchise. It's nothing to him that the Thrashers aren't playing well; in fact he celebrates their poor performance. For Our Jeff, the Thrashers are an inconvenient, unsightly blot among the the normal all-American sports teams around here. He would love it if the franchise just fell in on itself and moved to another city. The man chronicles the Thrashers' woes obsessively (and rarely covers their occasional triumphs and their good qualities) not because he has any genuine concern or interest in them; he does it because he hates them. He hates the Thrashers because he hates hockey. After all, the whole sport is a faggy Canadian-European conspiracy to drive wholesome Stars-and-Stripes-friendly sports from the American mainstream.

Schultz is cheering for the ultimate demise of the Thrashers. He can't wait for the day (if it ever comes) when the NHL will pack its bags and leave Atlanta forever. That way the readers of the AJC (a well and truly crap newspaper, by the way, save Mr. Custance in sports and Ms. Tucker in opinion) will be able to read his bilge about basketball, baseball, and football without ever having to be disturbed or confused by headlines about that polar bear sport ever again.