Let's face it. ESPN is pretty lame nowadays. With the exception of ESPN Classic,in particular Cheap Seats (Without Ron Parker). But at one time, ESPN rocked. When Ronald Reagan was president. And for the most part, Busch 41. But sometime after the departure of Olbermann and before the departure of Chris Myers, ESPN went from being hip to thinking it was hip. BIG difference. Can you say, "Boo-yah"? Dan Patrick and the occasional Chris Berman's ghost sightings are the only things worthy of attention now.
But think back. To the 1980s. Was there anything cooler in the universe than watching late-night ESPN with Australian Rules Football? Australian Rules Football, the roughest game of the 20th century. No helmets. No pads. Lots of tackling and hits. And wacko from-another-planet goal judges wearing white hats and trenchcoats, like the white guy in Spy Vs. Spy. There has never been a greater referee body signal in all of sports than the goal signal by the ARF ref. The fist to punch out a batter of MLB, the overhead hand stretch of the NFL TD, the outstretched arm safe sign, all pale in comparison to the quick leap to the goal line, followed by the elbow flexion and index finger point of the ARF ref.
And then it disappeared. But Fox Sports World (Fox Soccer Channel) has resurrected it. I can now watch ARF more than I ever have before.
My favorite team is the Collingwood Magpies. During the 1980s they always seemed to be on, so it just seemed natural to choose them to follow. Collingwood? Magpies? Are you kidding? Who made up these names? I had to look up what a magpie was. I lost track of them for awhile, and found out they actually won a championship while I wasn't paying attention. Granted the Magpies will never replace the Cardinals, but I revel in being a Magpie fan. The fact that it is another type of bird seems to fit my fan M.O. The team colors of black and white of course fit perfectly with the color of magpies.
These ARF nicknames are so un-American-like they totally rock. The Magpies, Swans, Kangaroos, Dockers, Bombers, and Crows. That's a total of 3 fabulous bird nicknames, and throw in the Hawks and Eagles and 5 of the 16 teams have bird names.
Tonight (tomorrow?- crap it's like that date line thing again) at 1 a.m. CDT the Magpies play Geelong on Fox Soccer Channel. The game was actually played last Friday, but I won't give away who won. Collingwood is not having a good season, but that's okay. I'm just glad to be able to watch again.
So crack open a Bartles and Jaymes wine cooler, poof out your hair, put up your collar, and watch some Magpie action!