George Carlin was a counter-culture goliath, a witty and intelligent comedian who, at age 71, was still writing hilarious and pertinent comedy bits.
He died of a heart attack over the weekend, silencing a voice that had no qualms sharing an opinion.
Everyone recognizes Carlin for his "Seven Dirty Words You Can Never Say On Television" bit, a routine that actually got him arrested in the early '70s.
But Carlin's brilliant and acerbic mind frequently turned to sports.
One of his bits focused on the differences between baseball and football; in particular, baseball's peaceful ways compared to football's warlike temperament.
"Baseball is played on the diamond, in a park, the baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.
"Baseball starts in the Spring, the season of new life! Football begins in the Fall when everything is dying.
"In football, the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops in to enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
"In baseball, the object is to go home and be safe! I hope I'll be safe at home!"
No one has summed up the two sports any better.
Carlin also unleashed his wry humor on hockey and, in particular, why he believed hockey could not be considered a sport.
"People think hockey is a sport. It's not. Hockey is three activities taking place at the same time: ice skating, fooling around with a puck, and beating the sh*t out of somebody. If these guys had more brains than teeth, they'd do these things one at a time. First go ice-skating, then fool around with a puck, then you go to the bar and beat the sh*t out of somebody. The day would last longer, and these guys would have a lot more fun.
"Another reason why hockey isn't a sport is that it's not played with a ball. Anything not played with a ball can't be a sport. The only other place you'll find a puck is in the urinal to control the smell in the bathroom."
Carlin was a fan of basketball, the ballet of the game and that the players are close enough to the crowd. He also enjoyed March Madness, but, as he explained in an interview with ESPN.com about four years ago, probably not for the same reasons most others enjoy it.
"I like people under pressure.
"To me the most fascinating thing is the losing locker room. I just love watching those guys because they can't handle it. There is so much pressure and they bring it on themselves. I love people failing in public. I think that's magnificent. The thing I like best about the NCAA: 64 losers. I savor that. The games are great. There is so much at stake. It's fun for me to watch the drama."
To transcribe and analyze every Carlin routine that focused on sports would take far too much time, but, love him or hate him, he stayed true to his dogma—that every comedian should find the line and then deliberately cross it.
Even at 71, with a history of heart problems, Carlin was still performing as recently as last weekend. His premature departure has deprived us of a great voice and a keen observer of not only the world around us but the sporting world, as well.
So, when you're standing at the urinal today, think of George Carlin. He'd probably like that.
Photo Credit: AP