- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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The new year is almost upon us. Here are a few resolutions the sports world should make in order to improve in 2013.
Stop calling every fan base a 'nation'
Red Sox Nation got this started in 2004. But Boston had a national following that only grew with the natural bandwagon fans that cling to a title team. There is a Red Sox "nation." No one is denying that. Like it or not, the Red Sox have millions of fans all over the country and the world.
The Sacramento Kings are not the Boston Red Sox. The Sacramento Kings have the second-worst attendance in the NBA. There is barely a Kings city, let alone a Kings Nation. Yet there is a Kings Nation. How often do you see Vanderbilt Commodores sports apparel outside of Nashville? Never? Ah, apparently you are unaware of Commodores Nation. Think the Washington Nationals don't have a "nation" because they are relatively new to Washington, D.C., and struggled to draw any fans before last season? Wrong again. Nationals Nation has a flag and everything, you guys.
There are maybe a few dozen teams -- pro and college -- that have a legit "nation" of fans. They are obvious: Red Sox, Yankees, Cowboys, Steelers, Packers, Celtics, Lakers, Notre Dame football, Kentucky basketball, Manchester United, etc., etc. If you have to debate whether a team has one, it doesn't.
The rest of you nation-wanting wannabes, knock it off. You're only embarrassing yourselves and drawing the ire of those of us in You're Not a Nation Nation.
Stop using the term ELITE
From the people who brought you grade inflation -- which made it possible for every middle schooler who can write his or her name and make it through the entire school day without committing a crime or vomiting on a teacher to earn a "C" -- came the term ELITE.
Just as every fan base is now a nation, every athlete is great, if not ELITE. Watch any national broadcast on any network. All an athlete has to do is successfully achieve one basic job requirement -- complete a pass, pick up a blitzing linebacker, turn a double play, hit an open shot -- and he instantly becomes one of the best in the sport. No one is asking broadcasters to trash the … let's say, less elite athletes on the air; just don't watch a Mark Sanchez butt-fumble and tell us it's raining.
Did the change I made to saying "don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining" work or make sense just then? Not really. But I don't care. Look at me. I'm using proper punctuation! ELITE writer. One of the best writers in America!
Stop with the lockouts
Our grandparents lived through baseball's golden age. Mantle, DiMaggio, Mays, Koufax. We are living through sports' golden age of labor strife. Goodell, Smith, Bettman, Fehr, Stern, Hunter, Selig. Our grandparents win. In a blowout.
The last few years have been nothing but nonstop, eye-glazing labor woes. NFL lockout, NBA lockout, NFL referee lockout, replacement refs, NHL lockout. I won't claim to speak for all sports fans, but I wasn't initially drawn to sports due to the fun of collective bargaining, guys in suits and canceled games.
You know what would be awesome? Just one calendar year without a lockout in any of the four major sports. Imagine. It won't happen because the NHL lockout will drag into 2013 -- and possibly 2014 -- and Roger Goodell is likely to get bored and pick some sort of fight with the Equipment Managers Union to save the NFL $17. But still. We can dream. I'm keeping this resolution penciled in for 2015.
Stop freaking out about facial hair
James Harden has a beard. Brian Wilson has a beard. Some other athletes have mustaches. So they can grow hair on their faces, same as pretty much any other male over the age of 18. Neat.
The interesting thing about athletes, I thought, is that they have physical gifts the vast majority of the population does not. But no. It's that they can grow hair on their faces. Are you not amazed? Wait until fans find out that athletes use the bathroom, too!
If the facial hair craze ever subsides, look for our next superstar athlete to be someone who grows out his fingernails. It's like a big beard on your fingers! Awesome!
Stop calling them 'charity fun runs'
There is nothing fun about running a 5K or 10K. Running is miserable. Challenging. Rewarding. But miserable.
If you're giving your best and trying to put up a good time, the entirety of the event will be full of pain and discomfort. If you are there to just jog because you are out of shape, the entirety of your next 24 hours will be full of pain and discomfort because you ran and you are out of shape.
There is no such thing as a "fun run." Just call it a charity run. You're not fooling anyone.
Stop asking athletes on Twitter for a retweet
Nothing in the world is sadder than seeing this on Twitter: "Hey, @Athlete. You are my favorite [position]. Any chance I can get a retweet for my 30th birthday?"
Realize that decades from now there will be obituaries including sentences along the lines of: "He considered getting a retweet in 2012 from Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive tackle Guy Whimper his greatest life achievement."
Stop complaining about the wave
Did you hear? The cool kids decided doing the wave at sporting events isn’t cool anymore. Even the uncool kids don’t like the wave.
It was fun back when they were children, but now? So played out. Only idiots think The Wave is still cool. Watch the game, morons! There’s important stuff happening while you’re looking across the stadium getting ready to lift your arms again!
Or, look at it this way: The Wave was fun for you when you were a child because you were a child. Look around. There are a lot of children at a game. They are enjoying The Wave. Maybe you can handle it for three minutes because it makes other people happy. Or do you hate the joy of children? That’s it, isn’t it? Child hater!
Stop complaining about everything
Maybe some people like the wave or hate the wave or really are excited to think that an athlete read their tweet and took the time to click one icon. What's it to you? A charity can call their runs whatever they want. It's for charity. What kind of jerk complains about what a charity does? Wow. And so some people get a kick out of facial hair. So? Are you really losing sleep over that? What if a fan base calls itself a "nation"? There's no law against it. And who are you to say who is or is not ELITE?
Stop getting upset about stuff that isn't important.
Lockouts, though. Screw them.