Saturday, January 29, 2011

THE MOST IMPORTANT KNEE IN THE WORLD by Alan Huang-Editorial Columnist


Not one to shirk from making grandiosely ridiculous statements, I’d like to think that were Shakespeare alive in these days and times, in all of his infinite wit and wisdom in coining the phrase as the play, “Much Ado About Nothing”, he would savor the practical as well as impractical applications of his turn of phrase especially in light of the existence of Twitter. For those knowledgeable of this particularly virulent form of social media, clearly, at any given moment, a lot of “much” can be made about comparable amounts of “nothing”.

For the record, I’m not exactly what most people can refer to as, “Twitter-proficient”. Before last Sunday’s live-tweet with @MattTruebe, I have to admit that I wasn’t even very clear about that whole hash-tag thing. However, what was entertaining about Twitter was how it felt like I was taking a quick glimpse at the U.S. sports-watching populace’s collective subconscious, or rather, more specifically, it’s collective id. Kind of like watching Ron Artest give post-game interviews in that there are obviously no speed bumps between the brain and the mouth. This is especially true when it comes to trolling, malicious rumor-mongering, and snide sh*talking in general. Needless to say, plenty of all of the above was in ready supply for the Packers vs. Bears game. In what was already an ultra-hyped-up matchup of epic proportions, it really wasn’t the most entertaining of games – until Jay Cutler left the game with an unspecified (at that time) injury.

Naturally the Twitter-verse launched into overdrive. Sensing blood in the water, frenzied bloggers, including many actual NFL players, launched an onslaught of abuse, questioning his heart, questioning whether there was actually an injury, and above all else, questioning, WHO THE F*CK IS TODD COLLINS?? I’m not going to lie either, I initially questioned whether the injury was real as well. It didn’t help at all that Cutler’s relationship with fans and media was already shaky at best and that coupled with a reputation for inconsistency and seemingly not caring, only sprayed further lighter fluid into the conflagration.

                However, continuing my theme of not lying, as horrible as it may seem, I have to say this is the point of the game where I actually woke up and started enjoying it. Sure, much was made about nothing especially since the story kept on going long after the actual game was over (reference rumor that Cutler was using STAIRS at a Chicago steakhouse) But all of the sudden, Twitter was interesting. The game actually had dramatic elements. Maybe it’s a blogger/columnist thing about feeding off anger, chaos, and controversy. Even still, there’s an undeniable thrill that one feels watching usually unknown and unheralded third-string nobodies like Caleb Hanie almost lead the comeback of all comebacks and become the toast of the Internet (including a Wikipedia edit claiming that he would lead Chicago to the Super Bowl). I suppose its part of our national identity, to root for the scrappy underdog that comes out of nowhere to lead his team to victory. Pure Hollywood. Except, that’s what it was - pure Hollywood, not reality.  Naturally, the better team ended up winning, so ultimately, despite the hullabaloo about the knee, that’s what it was about – nothing.

Editorial Column by Alan Huang

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