Editor’s note: Tom Sorensen made it a tradition to write a column about things he’s not thankful for on the day after Thanksgiving. Here’s the Nov. 24, 2000, version:
Here’s what I’m not thankful for:
▪ Fans who turn obnoxious when their team loses and stay obnoxious until something bad happens to them or the people around them. I was in a Minneapolis hotel bar full of Iowa fans Saturday who were irate because their team had lost a close game a few hours earlier to Minnesota. Unable to handle their mugs of Leinenkugal draft beer, they argued about strategy and, perhaps, crops. First they got loud and then they began throwing punches and chairs, rarely landing either. They were kicked out of the bar and forced to vacate their rooms. And their team still lost.
Folks, it’s only a football game, and you didn’t even play. If a game played by others is the most important thing you have going, you lose every time. Also, it was only Iowa football.
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▪ Fans who turn obnoxious when their team wins.
▪ The lack of a playoff system in college football.
▪ The Myers Park historic district. You’re telling me that if I live in Myers Park, and the neighborhood is designated an historic district, I have to go to a committee to get permission to do something to MY property? I don’t think so.
▪ Sacagawea. Three Charlotte Observer sportswriters and one sanctimonious coin pick the winner of NFL games for this newspaper every week, and the dollar coin, which allegedly is flipped randomly, has been so successful that it threatens to overtake my fellow picker and friend Charles Chandler. Charles is so shook by the success of the coin that he now uses only paper money. This is a classic case of man versus machine, and I have my money – a $1 coin that I hope is Saca’s mother – on Chuck.
▪ Kids who can’t play a game unless it includes officials, trophies and screaming adults.
▪ Magic gridiron afternoons, when you gather with friends for a big game in the late autumn sunshine and the air before kickoff is brisk and ideal but wait, it’s only a facade because the temperature soon turns cold and you didn’t dress warm enough because you’re in the South and it’s not yet winter and here comes the air blowing straight out of Nome down the collar of your too-thin jacket and, whoa, you get pneumonia and have to go to the hospital and miss the rest of the season.
▪ The usual. Drivers who speed down residential streets, change lanes without using their signal, block the left lane on the freeway and park in a spot reserved for the handicapped or next to the yellow curb at the grocery store.
▪ Athletes who celebrate a slick individual play when their team is hopelessly behind.
▪ People who believe their political party doesn’t cheat because as everybody knows the only party that would even consider cheating is the other one.
▪ Bodies that don’t do what you tell them to. Mind to body: sprint the last half-mile, charge up the hill, kick to the finish line. Body to mind: Not even a possibility.
▪ These guys who cruise the parking lot at the Y holding up traffic as they look for a spot close to the door. Why are you even there? If you’re a tourist, if you go to the gym simply so you can tell people you work out, stay home.
▪ Baseball’s strike zone. Let’s see what the Official Baseball Rulebook says. Here we go. The strike zone starts where the umpire says it does, extends as far as the umpire says it does, stops where the umpire says it does and if you don’t like it, you’re outta here! If baseball umpires worked football games, first downs would range from 7 to 12 yards.