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Stats & Data

July 29, 2009

Here are the five things that I know about sports:

1: Joe Namath was on an episode of the Brady Bunch
2: Michael Jordan played Basketball
3: John Goodman played Babe Ruth
4: Kobe Bryant once raped a woman
5: Hulk Hogan beat Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III

That’s it. That’s pretty much everything I got. I also know that Tina Yothers’ character on Family Ties once had to do a book report about Yogi Berra, but I’m not throwing that piece of information up with the rest because now that I think about it, it might have been Justine Bateman’s character who did the book report instead. And I also know every line from Caddyshack but I don’t count that as anything to do with sports.

The fact is, I could give two shits about sports. I’ve got better things to do with my time than remember things like batting scores, statistic lineups, and sports numbers. That space in my brain is saved for more important information. Information like the year Dian Parkinson first appeared in Playboy. Information like the name of every Autobot and Decepticon action figure that came out in the original 1984 Transformers toy line. And information like the number of times characters from Cheers appeared on episodes of Wings.

The only time I remember being even remotely interested in sports was September 16th, 1988. That’s the date that fat Stevie Pilot crossed paths with a chance of becoming a sports superstar legend.

I have a friend named fat Mikey Hayden – and I only call him fat Mikey Hayden because, just like me, he was a fat little kid who enjoyed eating food and watching cartoons. And fat Mikey Hayden was also the kid in the neighborhood who got to do everything he wanted to. If he wanted to play soccer, his parents signed him up for soccer. If he wanted to take up karate, his parents signed him up for karate. And if he wanted to kill a hooker, his parents would have paid for a hooker and then helped him get rid of the body. Needless to say, they were very supportive of his passions.

So one day when fat Mikey Hayden was interested in becoming an NFL football player, I accompanied him to the Auburn Recreations Department while he signed up to play rec football. As Mikey was filling out his paperwork, I noticed this stocky man with thick calves and a whistle looking at me. This rec department coach was sizing me up and he saw potential in the raw mound of fat, nerves, and teeth that was Steve Pilot.

And you can’t blame him. I weighed over two hundred pounds at the time.
The coach must have felt the same rush as Nick Nolte when he found Shaquille O'Neal playing swamp-basketball in the movie Blue Chips.

He asked me if I was playing football and I told him no. “Why the hell aren’t you!??”, he shouted. “Look at you! You’re built like elephant! You should be knocking the shit out of other kids!" It was weird. I had been compared to an elephant before – by many, many people, including my family members – but never in a positive way. And I had never thought of playing football, but if this professional rec department coach told me I could, who was I to argue with him?

Coincidentally enough, my dad ended up being the person who argued with him. After talking with the coach, I immediately ran home and asked my dad if I could play football. His only response was asking me if I was stupid. I couldn’t really argue with his reasoning so I didn’t press any further and I never ended up playing football.

After that I think I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I can tell you how many characters from Cheers appeared on that show, too.

I think about that trip to the recreation department often. Who knows how different my life would have turned out if I got to play football back then. For starters, I’d probably know how to throw a football. I also probably wouldn’t have the love-handles I have today either. And I probably would have gotten laid waaay sooner than 27. If you don’t believe me, look at fat Mikey Hayden. Sure, he quit playing football after only two weeks, but the fact that he played football even a little bit changed his life drastically. He’s now a lean 170 pound stunt motorcycle pilot living in Florida. I’m still a fat guy who knows nothing about sports – except now it’s worse because I have back hair.

Looking back, I think part of the reason why my dad didn’t let me play was because he was too horrified of the thought of me getting injured to realize that it might actually be a good experience for me. But mostly I think it was because he was too cheap to pay the $230 registration fee.