Hello friends! Is anyone still reading this? Oh good. (Yes, I love you too, mom – I’ll call you later.)
It was indeed an eventful week. Before we jump in, I’ve added yet ANOTHER feature to the weekly CSMI because I’m here for you and I ever-strive to make this an enjoyable departure from the doldrums of your daily duties. As you recall, last week I added suggested soundtracks to each segment. (This week’s has a decidedly ‘diva’ flair to it.) Whereas sports misery is not limited only to our household, I’ve taken the liberty of adding a few Miserable Shout-outs to the end of each post.
Texas Longhorns (2-4)
The Longhorns were off this past week. Bevo XIV died. These two statements of fact are unrelated.
Suggested Segment Soundtrack: “I Will Remember You” – Sarah McLachlan
Now stare at this picture for a while.
See you next week.
North Texas Mean Green (0-6)
The Mean Green also took the week off. Unfortunately, their opponent, Western Kentucky, did not.
I’m not going to break down this game. I watched about a quarter of it. That alone should get alumni effort points, redeemable for a bronze bust of my likeness at the stadium and a private steak dinner with Mean Joe Greene.
Anyways, WKU is a good team. UNT is not. The End. Now we turn our watchful eyes and hopeful hearts to the promise of a new head coach.
Suggested Segment Soundtrack: “The Promise" – Tracy Chapman
As we listen to Chapman’s sweet, wistful words, I offer my coaching wish list:
Major Applewhite, UH
Doug Meacham, TCU
Nick Saban, Alabama
Any of these would be suitable replacements. Please come. I’ll be waiting for you.
Houston Texans (2-4)
WHAT ARE YOU DOING? We’re never going to get a QB if you start winning games. And you can’t win without a QB.
Suggested Segment Soundtrack: “How Do I Live” – Trisha Yearwood
Remarkably, and with thanks to the Colts predictable loss to the Patriots, the Texans are only one game away from the top of the division. So it’s going to be like that in the AFC South, this year, is it?
I didn’t watch the game (I was busy doing awesome stuff), so I can’t comment on it. I did however notice that the Steelers won a game with a third-string QB. I don’t see what the big deal is: that’s all the Texans have on their roster and they’ve already done it twice.
If you’re not going to the playoffs in the NFL, you might as well be the worst. That’s the way it works. There’s no incentive to be mediocre in this league.
Your mission is simple, Houston: Win the division or lose more games than everyone else. Choose one, and do it to the BEST of your abilities. The future of the franchise depends on it.
Houston Astros (0-0)
We were so close, weren’t we Astros fans?
Suggested Segment Soundtrack: “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” – Whitney Houston
As the Royals knife through Toronto like a plate of warm Canadian butter (huh?), it’s tempting to think back to Monday, when they Astros were six outs away from the ALCS with a 4-run lead and imagine what could have become of this season. But that’s a recipe for madness.
Instead, I’m going to spend my time thinking on the glory that was the 2015 Astros season, Houston’s return to baseball relevance – a couple years ahead of schedule. The best part? This might be the least impressive year of the next three to five.
Sing it, Whitney. (I miss you.)
This week’s sports misery is one that I’m hesitant to address, but I think if you’ll stick with me to the end, you’ll see where I’m coming from.
Last week, reports surfaced that Texans owner Bob McNair had donated $10,000 to support a group in opposition of Houston’s proposed equal rights ordinance (HERO), a measure that, despite mountains of misinformation (including a plethora of baseless bathroom hysteria), seeks to provide an environment that is free of any type of discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy.
Suggested Segment Sountrack: “How Do I Get You Alone” – Heart
The CSMI is a politic-free space – as sports SHOULD be – and it will remain that way, I assure you. And that brings me to my chief complaint with his decision to donate money, publicly, in the first place: $10,000 is a relatively insignificant amount of money, with respects to political pursuits. It isn't enough money to make a significant difference in the outcome of the campaign. A $10,000 donation for McNair is about the same as me tossing a fifty to Teaching Raccoons to Ride Bikes, an entirely made-up non-profit aimed at keeping young raccoons out of trashcans and on the road to a better future. I mean, I support what they’re doing, but I’m not really that invested in it; I’m not going to make it my life’s work.
If the money is insignificant to the cause, then what's the point?
In essence, McNair is making a statement for the purpose of making a statement on an issue that people feel strongly, if not irrational and emotional about. It’s a symbolic gesture, more than anything.
We look to sports as a respite from the heaviness that we endure throughout the day. It’s our reprieve from the things that exhaust and divide us. Sporting events are the great unifiers among citizens of a given city or municipality and McNair is the owner of the biggest game in town.
The people of Houston – Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Gay, Straight, Trans, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Vegan, Crossfitter and every other imaginable group that has helped make the city the most diverse in the U.S. – have supported this team, without fail, for 13 years and have almost nothing to show for it. No matter his personal feelings on the subject – and he is free to believe whatever he wants and spend his money just the same – the move is an unnecessary, divisive gesture in a city whose people paid for the Palace of Perpetual Mediocrity at 1 Reliant Park.
This week’s Croucher Sports Misery Index: 36
Half of the State of Michigan
Watching this game reminded me why I never watch Big 10 football. It’s boring. Nothing interesting ever happens. Well, nothing except the wildest finish to a game we’ve seen since that field goal return in the Iron Bowl in 2013 – or probably ever. As far as misery goes, this one’s even worse. I’m guessing the guy who had an ACTUAL HEART ATTACK in the stands immediately following the play agrees. Brutal. (Let's hope he's okay.)
And then there’s this response, from an alleged grown man. Sports, they hurts.
The Entire City of Chicago
The Bears got a decent game out of Cutler and still lost to the previously-winless Lions. Meanwhile, the Cubs are staring down an 0-2 deficit in the NLCS. This is where I wanted to make a joke about things blowing in the Windy City, but ultimately decided to take the high road because that's probably just as exhausting as the "Houston, We Have a Problem" jokes we've been plagued with since mankind first set foot on a stage that was designed to look like the surface of the moon.
I picked the Aggies to win this game, with the thought that another year under Allen’s belt combined with the defensive wizardry of John Chavis would give them an edge at home, in front of what is easily one of the best home-field advantages in college football. (Ed. note: Never take betting advice from Brant Croucher.)
To my credit, Kyle Allen threw four TD passes in the game. Unfortunately, three of them were to Alabama players. I don’t know that it would have mattered, as Alabama was running at will through much of the game, but it certainly didn’t help the Aggies’ cause.
Justin Tucker's Foot
And so during that sixth week, the ground did open and into it fell the hapless leg of one Baltimore kicker. And again the Ravens did lose.
But seriously, what the hell is going on here? Tucker's not willing to blame the field for the miss. And that's fine; the rest of America will blame it for you. Get your field together, San Francisco.
And that's that. Have a great, misery-free week, my friends!