Friday, November 30, 2007
I'm here to talk to you today about a very serious disease sweeping the nation. It affects young and old, rich and poor, east coast and west coast, sparing nobody in it's deadly path. I'm talking, of course, about Attachment to Small, Scrappy White Player (ASSWiP) Syndrome: The way people fall in love with the undersized white boy, who is slower, smaller, and less athletic than the other players, but by god he works his ass off, hustles, and shows true grit and determination, nevermind the fact that he is completely average or below in every way.
You've seen it, and chances are, somebody you care about is inflicted with it at this very moment. It's the reason David Eckstein is about to get paid $8 million a year and Darin Erstad constantly has a job, despite being below average in almost every measurable baseball ability. It's the reason Lew Ford received an MVP vote in 2004, despite having a slightly above average season. It's the reason people in a bar were debating Joe Jurevicious vs. Braylon Edwards that one time I was in Nebraska. It's the reason Rudy made $23 million in the theater, despite really just being about a whiny little bitch who sucked at football . It's the reason players like David Grim, Jeff Hagen, Dusty Rychart, and Zach Puchtel are so beloved locally, and the thousands like them across the country (see Errek Suhr, Indiana). And it's the reason why you STILL see people in Chris Walsh jerseys, despite the fact that there is no reason that is an acceptable shirt to wear, ever.
Nobody is immune to it. I myself was once a sufferer of another form of this disease: Partial Basketball Blindness, brought on by Outside Shooting Ability. Oh yes, one dimensional white players who could knock down the three were my weakness. The list is embarrassing, but for educational purposes I will share it here. Some of my favorite players have been Chris Kingsbury, Jake Sullivan, Chris Collins, Teddy Dupay, and Travis Ford. Luckily, by the time that little dork J.J. Redick came around, I had been cured. I've finally learned to appreciate the all-around game of someone like Francisco Garcia, Travarus Bennett, or Chris Douglas-Roberts, rather than the White Boy Three Point Shooter. It's frightening to admit, but if Jamal Abu Shamala had come around just a few short years ago, he likely would have been my favorite Gopher. It shames, saddens, and terrifies me to admit this. Thank god I've been saved.
But just because I have been cured, doesn't mean I won't stop fighting to save the good people of this land from this disease. And you can help. When you hear about the white wide receiver who is so valuable because he busts his ass on special teams, remember that he's only on special teams because he's too worthless to play for real. When you hear someone say that the little white point guard should get more playing time because he's a hustler and a gamer and can knock down the three, remind them that hustle can't stop lightning quick point guards, and hitting the open three in mop up duty is a little different than against a match-up zone against guards who are 6-4. And if you know someone who thinks that short, white middle infielder needs to be signed because he does so much with his grit and toughness, remind him that a .250 average is still a .250 average, grit doesn't drive in runs, and sliding headfirst into first base isn't hustle, it's just really, really stupid.
Help me stop ASSWiP Syndrome. Think of the children.