The big day's finally here, and everything is as it should be: The tree is trimmed, the stockings are stuffed, Bill O'Reilly's picketing the local Target for failing to use the word "Christmas" in hawking its wares. Which actually captures the spirit of the holiday pretty well, no matter how foppishly the liberal intelligentsia looks down its nose at Poor Ol' Bill, because really Meat let's be straight here: Nothing spreads Yuletide cheer like discount bric-a-brac, and if God didn't send us His only son so that we might be free to revel in the mindless joys of heedless consumerism.
Well, what the hell was the point?
Unfortunately, America's penchant for purchasing means that its now harder than ever to find just the right present for everyone on your list...and that goes double for your favorite sports nut, who's never met a commemorative championship sweater vest that he couldn't be persuaded to order over the phone. With that in mind, we've gotten just a touch creative at the Spot this week, compiling a quintet of fanciful must-haves for the fan who's already got everything. Granted, what follows is an impossible wish list as much as anything else, but 'tis the season for dreaming, after all, and Man, Meat:
Man cannot live on Chinese imports alone. Unless they're, you know, like a really really really really good bargain, and with the value of the dollar these days...
Number Five: A Personal Champagne Celebration
You've earned it, haven't you? You've spent years in the stands, or on the couch; you've lived a life of solitary vigil, watching idly while your heroes won championships and doused themselves with sparkling French booze—the least you deserve, now, is a little bubbly of your own. Your personal cork-poppage can be redeemed at a time of your choosing...although we'd recommend waiting for a more opportune moment than, say, your first intimate encounter with a new paramour. After all: A Mums bath might not be the best complement to that crippling sense of postcoital self-doubt. Not that we'd know anything about that.
Number Four: A Fantasy Life League
How much more fun would that make things? As it stands, it's hard to work up the verve to finish that oh-my-God-another? internal sales memo on Wednesday afternoon...but if your weekly head-to-head is riding on your personal assignment-completion average, well—that's a whole other kind of story. Some possible alternatives: monthly spreads and daily over-unders. How many hours will you spend watching ESPN in the month of January? You probably don't care—unless of course some arcane set of arbitrary rules tells you you should. Not that that's anything to be ashamed of, necessarily...because Lord knows it works for the Catholics.
Number Three: One Night with the Owner's Daughter
He's been screwing you for you years—now it's your turn to return the favor. The relationship between owners and sport fans is, at best, a marriage of convenience: The former only cares about the latter insofar as the latter is willing to shell out twelve bucks for a foamy beer and a tepid hot dog; the latter only puts up with the former because the former, if crossed, is liable to fold up his tent and take the whole show to LA. What results is all too often a brutally exploitative dynamic...and therein lies the rub, because nothing soothes the sting of bondage like plugging your oppressor's special little girl. As a side note, here's hoping that mother-daughter resemblances don't run in the Schott family.
Number Two: A Brush with Greatness
That's one of the worst things about being a fan, right?: the distance, the divide—the feeling that there's this gaping chasm between you and the dudes on the field, and that there's nothing you can ever do to bridge it. Thank heavens, then, for that fleeting brush with a sports idol...even if it happens outside the lines. Maybe it's at a club, maybe it's at a mall, maybe it's at a college basketball game in late 2003, when Keyshawn Johnson takes exception to your probably-too-vocal praise of Bucs coach Jon Gruden after the former had been suspended for the season—in any event, there's nothing like an intimate run-in with a primetime jock to give you a heightened sense of his and your own reality. And Keyshawn, while we have your ear: If you ever want to finish what you started, you know where to find us. Actually, no—no you don't. At least, you know, we hope you don't. Oh boy.
Number One: Perspective
So let's run down the list here: You've got the hat, the beanie, the scarf, the hoodie, the gloves, the jacket, and the full-length parka with fake-fur trim that you bought for your wife and then stole for yourself. When it gets hot, you've got the tank top, the flip-flops, the shades, and the board shorts—and when it gets really hot you've got the water bottle and the boxer shorts, for purposes that probably ought to explain themselves. And jerseys, Meat-boy do you ever got jerseys: home; road; Sundays; alternates; alternate Sundays; Sunday alternates; batting practice; pre-batting practice; post-batting practice; retro; faux retro; retro from that one year the unis were so bad the fans almost revolted; and, of course, game-worn, with Joe Hero's tobacco spit still soaked into the fabric. Which is all frankly just the tip of the iceberg, because there's still the souvenir pins and oh-my-goodness the bobbleheads—but the point, Meat: the point is that you've just about got it all, and all you need now.
All you need now is a bit of perspective, because figuring out where to stash all these gems sure ain't gonna be easy...