Happy new year, everyone! While sitting in the bathroom scrolling through the same old boring articles on staid pages run by conglomerations, you probably wondered once or twice how this lovely site would make its 2015 debut. Well, wonder no more.
I’ll admit I considered going a different route. I had pondered a long, lovely, flowing piece on the year behind us and the year ahead. Something beautiful, perhaps, that possibly evoked a tear or two. And in time, that article may come. But then I went back to the gutter and resorted to what it is some say this website does best (or worst, depending on your perspective).
And so, with all the brimming positivity undoubtedly polluting your life these days, we bring you three things that are really bugging the crap out of us, in this, the second installment of our recurring series An Open Vent. Because no matter what other people say, there’s nothing wrong with getting those panties in a bunch sometimes.
1. Funding fanaticism.
As a sports fan, I’m keenly aware that my presence at sporting events is only truly necessitated if no other fans are around to take my place. For instance, if I was a big WNBA fan, it’d be absolutely imperative I attend every possible game because if I didn’t, attendance would almost certainly drop and my team might fold. (I’m only sort of joking.) But the WNBA is quite a different setting than that of the four major sports. Hence, when it comes to, say, the NFL and your Seattle Seahawks, my fanaticism can easily be replaced.
It’s simple supply and demand, really. If there’s a greater demand for an event ticket than there is supply, the importance of my individual fandom becomes relatively miniscule. If I can’t garner admission to the Seahawks game, you see, then someone else surely will. And since that replacement individual is no better or worse than yours truly, there’s no reason I should be entitled to a ticket over someone else. It’s the sabermetrics of fanaticism, in a sense.
This notion of fan math is completely lost on those who lack any semblance of self-awareness. There are many fans out there who feel they’re the fannest of the fans, the crème de la crème of cheering. Under the impression that they themselves are more critical to the outcome of the contest than the players in uniform, these FANS amongst fans are out to get what’s rightfully theirs at whatever the cost: money, relationships, dignity, you name it. No matter what obstacles these FANS must overcome to show up and pay witness to their ballclub’s victory, they’ll conquer all. Because their egos demand it. And their personal insecurities ensure it.
By now many of you have probably heard about the SeaHulk. A maniac of a fan who shells out hard-earned cash to appear shirtless at Seahawks games, the SeaHulk is one of those FANS amongst fans who truly believes his presence at CenturyLink Field on gameday is right up there with, say, the Legion of Boom. Lately, however, the SeaHulk’s supply of hard-earned cash has run thin, which is in many ways unfortunate and in some ways expected, when the cost of being a FAN is considered. Rather than simply retire to living a more modest existence as the Sea-Bruce Banner (I just made that up; super creative) or find new and creative means of generating income, SeaHulk has resorted to internet panhandling for charity. Without any sort of grand buildup to an entirely irreverent point that will ultimately be made, I’ll simply say this: Asking other fans to fund your fanaticism is the goddamn stupidest fucking thing in the history of the world.
You’re not the Salvation Fucking Army. You’re not UNICEF. You’re not Sarah McLachlan pimping cute little doe-eyed pound puppies, begging for just 25 freakin’ cents per day to keep these poor, helpless animals from being euthanized – EUTHANIZED! You’re none of these things. And all of us out here are barely contributing pennies to any of those charities, let alone your broke ass. If we can turn the channel on Sarah McLachlan’s tear-jerking ASPCA ads, we can flat-out turn you off, you egocentric rat bastard.
But let’s not blame this entirely on SeaHulk. He’s simply the idiot brazen enough to beg for your money. There are bigger issues at play here. This idea of funding fanaticism is more widespread than anyone cares to believe. We live in a world where anybody can set up a Go Fund Me page to take your money for literally any reason (or no reason) at all. And worse yet, there is an abundance of half-witted donors ready to spend their play money on your harebrained schemes instead of actual charity. That’s fucked up. And it says more about how hopeless our society is than it does about the douchebags who are dopey enough to put themselves before the likes of hungry children or third-world rescue efforts.
So stop funding fanaticism. It’s stupid. Whether some dipshit who’s in it for personal gain gets to attend a Seahawks game or not is irrelevant. He’s no more of a fan than the next fan and neither are any of the rest of us. Your fanaticism is replaceable, just as mine is, just as everyone else’s is. Be better, people.
What are resolutionaries, you ask? Great question.
Resolutionaries are those individuals who flock to the gym during the month of January, saturating all the treadmills with half-assed efforts to stick to resolutions, before returning to their couches in February, where they shall remain for what’s left of the current year.
If that description sounds sad and miserable, it should. Resolutionaries are not those people who are genuinely motivated to improve, then actually act on that improvement by sticking with a fitness plan and a lifestyle change. Resolutionaries are also not those people who were hitting the gym before the new year, submitting themselves to exercise without the need for a calendar to dictate their pursuit of health and well-being.
No, resolutionaries are a very specific group of people. They don’t want to change. They simply follow the herd with a shortsighted attempt at minimal improvement, then promptly give up. And they suck. They really, really suck.
For the next couple weeks, resolutionaries will be screwing up your way of life. They’ll be taking up precious gym space, leaving weights unracked in a heap on the ground, pestering you with questions while you exercise – “Hey, are you using this?” “Hey, are you done with that?” – and just generally acting as thorns in our collective sides.
The one perk to resolutionaries? You’ll see some shit you’ve never, ever seen before with some of these people. Stretches that have just been invented, exercises that will raise more than a few eyebrows, techniques that might lead to the emergency room. Just yesterday, in fact, I witnessed one resolutionary perform a sort of tribal-like dance in the middle of the gym – and that was her entire workout! In the door and out the door in less than a half-hour and next-to-nothing accomplished in the meantime. Super impressive. Such is the life of a resolutionary.
3. The complete and utter ineptitude of community centers.
Like any nomad of the pickup basketball circuit, I’m a community center junkie. Community centers offer full-size courts with hoops and backboards on which to play semi-legitimate games of basketball. And usually they only charge a few bucks a pop to make use of their facilities. All told, it’s a fairly tolerable deal for people who want to gather their friends and hoop.
Yet the system is far from perfect. Which is hard to fathom in dealing with properties of government organizations, I know. Allow me to explain.
Community centers are usually run by the city in which they reside. As a result, they’re often lightly funded. There’s only so much money to go around, after all, and adults would prefer to spend that cash on adult things. Community centers are usually lumped into that less-than-important bucket of “kids things.” One could argue that adults needing a basketball fix are simply big kids, and that wouldn’t be wholly inaccurate. Regardless of who community centers are used by, however, it’s clear they are not any city’s priority.
Because funding is often at a minimum, salaries for community center workers aren’t especially great. Which means a lot of the people holding down jobs at such venues are either doing so as a part-time endeavor or with little incentive to go above and beyond when they clock in. Those factors combine to make for a toxic business environment, and as any patron of any establishment can attest, the burdens of a toxic business environment will almost always be felt by the customer (Amazon.com notwithstanding).
In my experience, many of the community center employees I’ve encountered can be described using one of the following adjectives: bored, lazy, surly, angry, bitter, less-than-intelligent, or unfriendly. There are exceptions, of course, but they seem to be few and far between.
Not only are community center employees often abrasive, they very rarely possess the initiative or the mental wherewithal to improve the shitty environment around them. As a result, there are some annoying constants that community center patrons have learned to deal with.
For one, community centers suck at maintaining schedules. Are schedules not a staple of most jobs everywhere? Indeed they are. Yet for community centers, schedules are a gigantic fucking problem.
One of the many local community centers I frequent will only relay their schedule to inquiring parties on the morning of the current day. So if today is Monday and you want to know Tuesday’s schedule, you cannot.
To make matters worse, that same community center will only communicate said schedule via telephone hotline. Never mind the fact that it would be quicker and more cost effective to update a simple document on this new thing they call the internet. This community center makes their employees speak the day’s schedule into a voice recorder every single day. Seriously, all these jerks have to do is type up a form once a week with the week’s (seven days at once!!!) schedule on it, then post that schedule to a website they already maintain. How is that difficult? It isn’t. But again, zero initiative.
Then there’s the complete and utter lack of accountability.
Show up to a community center in accordance with their poorly-relayed schedule and you’ll often find that, lo and behold, their schedule was wrong to begin with. Oh, did we tell you the gym would be open at this time? We did? That’s weird, because it’s actually not. Yeah, sorry, go screw yourself, asshole.
And you just drove across town in traffic to do the one goddamn thing that keeps you sane, that keeps you from punching godforsaken shitbuckets like the one you’re looking at right now, only to find that you can’t, because these unrepentant imbeciles are unable to do the one fucking job they’re being paid pennies to do. YOU HAVE ONE JOB! ONE FUCKING JOB! Produce a schedule, maintain a schedule, and accurately relay that goddamn schedule, for the love of all things holy, HOW CAN YOU NOT DO JUST THAT?!
You want to take a baseball bat and smash it against the ground until splinters fly or you bash your way to China. This is more unforgivable than getting one, lone tub of barbecue sauce with your 20-piece McNuggets – as if each of those McNuggets is destined to have just one fraction of a centimeter coated in the smoky goodness of that burgundy taste explosion – because at least our low expectations for fast food workers are met when stupid shit like that occurs.
No, this is worse. Much worse. Because you actually had to produce something resembling a résumé to sit behind that desk at that community center and play solitaire all day. There was some level of expectation for you. This was not your last resort, though you act as if it was, because you suck, and your bosses suck, and the system around you sucks, you all suck.
There is no happy ending here, either. Because this shit will continue to permeate until some valiant soul goes rogue on the lackadaisical culture within the realm of community centers. They’re supposed to be providing the community a service. Instead, they’re just serving the community.