Mario Party

Over the last few months I’ve grown increasingly disillusioned with the tone and quality of sports coverage. I don’t really feel like getting into it in-depth right now (and let’s be honest, you don’t really feel like reading about it in-depth right now), but I’ve been plagued by an increasing awareness that the entire sports media industry (teams, journalists, radio) is just part of a big giant machine designed to extract money from fans.

WGR sells “BIG STORY! IT’S A BIG STORY! LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS IT! BIIIIIG STORY!” and The Buffalo News sells, “objectivity,” but it’s allllll just a big sell and it’s all designed to take advantage of our love of sports for profit.

In my opinion, sports coverage isn’t news. It’s entertainment on every level. Which is fine… but lately I keep find myself wondering “Why am I blindly consuming so much of this coverage?” I think I might enjoy the Sabres better on a media island. I’ve gotten to the point where I’d almost rather just get my news directly from the Sabres because at least they’re completely upfront about their motivations. The Sabres are all “We produce hockey, and in exchange, please give us your money.” I find that approach refreshing by comparison.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there, because this week along came Mario Williams. It would be impossible to overstate the NON-STOP HOOPLA we’ve witnessed via twitter and the radio waves. And I loved it.

Hey, Mario. I'd never heard of you until this week and now I'm desperate for you to be a Bill.

UPDATE: He IS a Bill! While I was writing this post someone reported to someone else who reported to Twitter that there’s a 1:30 press conference scheduled and YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

I’ve enjoyed this saga from beginning to end. I think the reason I’ve found the Mario Party so charming is that there really hasn’t been any counterpoint. For the two days (before he signed) the conversation was nothing more than unmasked, vulnerable hope. That’s it. There really wasn’t anyone saying, “No. Don’t do it. Mario Williams is a waste of money.” I encountered a few people on twitter yesterday who seemed to take some perverse pleasure in predicting that Mario would crawl out of town under cover of darkness, but for the most part, every single Buffalonian who was talking about Mario Williams was simply saying, “I hope this happens. I would be so happy if this happens.” It was nice.

AND HE SIGNED, which feels like the Football Gods way of rewarding Bills fans for their vulnerable hope.

I have no doubt that the sports media machine will begin churning out the commentary within the hour, but I’m grateful for the few days of relative agreement. When the sports news got really intense, it was the voice of the fan which dictated the conversation. The newspaper, the radio, the Bills, the bloggers, the fans, everyone was on the same page. Basically, everyone in Buffalo made the same silly wish, and then the silly wish came true.

Good job, team.

6 Responses to “Mario Party”

  1. 1 mikespub March 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Hope is a fun thing and it’s nice to see that as the Bills have been the audio visual squad in the high school that is the NFL for far too long. It’s like getting a ringer for dodgeball

  2. 2 Jaime Dippold Nowicki March 15, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    My husband has been completely MIA at work listening to all the hoopla the past few days!

  3. 3 Mikey B March 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Wait a minute…POSITIVITY coming out of Buffalo sports media? *runs and hides from impending fire and/or brimstone*

  4. 4 PaulKB (@Paginayn) March 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Sports coverage should be somewhere between the coverage of serious news topics like politics/crime and art based entertainment like music/film.

    I think we treat sports like politics too often. My latest theory is about how polarizing certain moments become and how aggressively we try to combat the counter argument to our own position.

    Wth something like a music/film/tv, people don’t really become offended when someone likes something or dislikes something. I like Kanye West and no one wants to challenge me on this. I don’t really like Lady Gaga but I don’t feel compelled to confront someone who thinks otherwise. No one really cares what other people think about music. They have their own, independent opinions and that’s enough.

    If I say that I don’t like Lindy Ruff (and think maybe he should be fired), people will really want to respond to that strongly in the same way that they do in political discourse. They might not feel offended — a condition that only really occurs in politics — but sports treats polar discussions with a similarly strong and serious tone. Lame.

    Maybe sports should be thought of and discussed more like an art based entertainment. Everything doesn’t have to be subjective, but maybe we can be a little less charged. IDK.

    Anyway, yes, the one directional conversations feel really good.

  5. 5 Mike March 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I’m not convinced just based on the fact that you’re signing an injury prone guy to a team that’s already injury prone to the richest defensive contract ever. A few red flags. But I’m happy for people. It’s weird though, I almost feel like the increase of hope like Williams and Pegula only makes the lows lower for people in Buffalo.

  6. 6 Buffalo Grumblings March 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Do not judge the media by our local sports/news/weather/ reporters. Most of them are on their way to a better gig or at the end of the line (like the old fart that came back to channel 2 from LA). Having lived in other cities most local coverage fits in the above category. Talk radio and ESPN have just inflamed the passion of sports fans and given them an outlet they never had. Sit back, cheer for your team, and ignore the rest. Where is Rick Azar when we need him?

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