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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Cutting Down Nets Is Stupid
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering Easter, third parties, saunas, pencils, and more.

Your letters:


What if, while cutting down the nets after the Elite 8, a player fell and stabbed himself with the scissors? Would the NCAA ban scissors? If he died, would they have a 20-minute "in memoriam" at the Final Four? Would Rovell tweet something like, "The beat goes on, just replace him"? Does this van get good gas mileage?


I think, if something like that happened, the NCAA would move ahead with the tournament (as always: MONEY), but move to ban the net-cutting ceremony, which is fine by me. As Matt Ufford noted here, there's no point in cutting down the nets when you can simply unhook them. It would be 10 times faster than sitting there and watching some asshole coach—who CLEARLY hates visible displays of celebratory behavior—fumble around with a pair of scissors and then hand them off to another player just so they can share in the wonderful experience of snipping off a ringlet. It's like winning a title and then someone saying, "Congratulations! Now try to unwrap this Discman."

And the net itself has no character. It looks like every other net. It's not like you can sign the thing, like a ball or a glove. It takes on no distinguishing characteristics from extended use. If I saw one on display, I'd be like, "Yep, that looks like a net someone ruined." They should just take the basket. The WHOLE basket. The fans should storm the court and pull the stanchions down, like goal posts, and then carry them out into the street so that everyone can shoot beer cans at it. That's better than getting some limp-ass net for your troubles.


Where do you fall on getting Easter gifts for the kids? Someone told me that the "Easter Bunny" should bring our kid a bike for Easter. I'm down for baskets and egg hunts in the yard, but is Easter now a second Christmas?


Who told you that? Burn that person. That is complete dogshit. It's bad enough that Easter is the third-biggest candy holiday, after Halloween and Christmas. The kids get up, they find the eggs, they eat all the chocolate, and then they spazz out for the rest of the day. It's horrible. So help me God, this year I will make them sit through an entire screening of The Passion of the Christ just to get them to calm the fuck down. I totally understand why that movie made money now. I bet it's a highly effective form of child punishment. Morning candy is the worst.

I used to do ad work for Hershey, and they have an entire calendar set up for seasonal candy displays. There are NO gaps in the calendar. They have found a way to make holiday candy a perpetual thing, from Halloween to Christmas to Valentine's Day to Easter to "Summer" and then back to Halloween again. All retail is geared around special occasions that, by design, are happening ALL THE TIME. And you know what? It totally works. If I see crème eggs on display at the store, I still freak the fuck out. And if toys are "half off" at Target this week only until next week, I toss one in the cart. I am a sheep.



So after seeing a Masters commercial on TV, my friends and I got into a heated argument over whether I could beat Tiger at Augusta if Tiger has to play one-handed and left-handed. Some caveats:

1) Tiger gets left-handed clubs.

2) I am a terrible golfer. Like, I shoot 100+ at shitty municipal courses. I also haven't played golf in almost a year, because golf is fucking stupid.

Regardless, I believe that it's ridiculous to think I couldn't beat a one-armed man in any athletic endeavor, even if that man is a professional. He has one goddamn arm, and it's not even his dominant hand. Am I wrong here?


You are remarkably wrong. You saw the ad, right?

They were supposed to shoot a different ad that day, but Tiger just started dicking around with his club, and the ad people were like HOLY FUCK FILM THAT. So they did, and that became the ad. Left-handed Tiger would throttle you, and I say that even though I firmly believe that Tiger Woods is done. He's never winning a major again, but he is still a professional golfer, and the degree to which pro golfers are better than you cannot be overstated. He would beat you with his FEET.



If you win the Division II Championship in college basketball, are you allowed to brag about it?


Hell yes. I once had a teammate in college whose brother was playing for Widener in the D-III football playoffs, and he was proud as hell of that fact. And that was D-III. And they didn't even win. And it was his brother. And you know what? I thought it was awesome, too. I even told people I knew a guy whose brother was playing football in the D-III playoffs. I was bragging about it.

The whole point of winning is to brag. It doesn't matter WHAT you win. I'm currently in fifth place in the Gawker office NCAA pool, and I've already bragged about it to the neighbors. I'm bragging about it to you! I haven't even won yet, and probably won't. But still! It's nearly winning, and that suits my purposes just fine. So if you win the Division II national title, you should brag like hell. I would get a jacket that says NATIONAL CHAMPS on it, with no qualifying facts anywhere else to be found. Anyone who says my national title isn't a real national title will get a chest pass to the face.



If all current sports leagues never existed and all were started up today, which ones would succeed and which would fail? Assume the sports themselves are completely foreign to everyone.


Basketball would likely dominate, because basketball is fast-paced (except for the last five minutes of any NCAA tourney game) and has shitloads of scoring, which suits our ADD world perfectly. It's also relatively easy to understand, which is important if the amnesiac population needs to learn the rules all over again. Football and baseball would be doomed for those reasons. Have you seen the latest extra-point proposal? It would take 10 years to explain that to a layman. I can't even explain the current PAT system to my kids, because a) it's dumb, and b) their eyes glaze over after five seconds and they go right back to Minecraft. They may never fully grasp it. I am awed by other small children who understand sports rules in full. They're like chess prodigies.

Soccer would also thrive, as it does now, because soccer is simple. I legitimately think soccer would do well in the U.S. if you blew up the system and started all over again, and somehow we ended up getting all the best players and were able to put them here, in a single league. One of the reasons that it's hard for Americans to get into soccer now is because, apart from the usual complaints, there is no single dominant league to follow. There are English leagues and Spanish leagues and Turkish leagues and 5,000 different Cups that I cannot rank in importance. Sorting it all out is a goddamn mess. My American sensibilities cannot accept the idea of a sport not being monopolized by one shitty, evil entity that somehow has nonprofit status. If all the best players aren't in one league, then every league is the CFL to me. And so if the world got a collective Men in Black brain wipe and we managed to start an "NFL" with all the fanciest soccer players, I bet soccer would do fine here. For all the arguing I do about sports, I'll watch pretty much any sport so long as I'm drunk.



What would it take to start a legitimate American third political party?

A hundred billion dollars. Perhaps more. And even if you had a hundred billion dollars, you wouldn't bother trying to set up a de facto third party, because it's far easier to simply take your money, invest it one of the two existing parties of your choosing, and then bend that party to your will. There's far less risk in spending your money on some good old-fashioned corruption. Despite being remarkably incompetent in virtually every way, Republicans and Democrats have certain existing infrastructures that make their shared grip on national power almost impossible to break. (It doesn't help that the media inexplicably plays along by portraying any third-party contender as a spoiler and/or lunatic before they even have a chance.)


And frankly, as a voter, I like having just two options. I get a headache otherwise. The two-party system appeals to my deeply American need for every issue to be completely polarized. It's either one guy or the other. One is good, the other bad. One is smart, the other has the IQ of a clubbed baby. If a third party existed, it would never perfectly siphon off equal numbers of voters from both parties, and so one of them would be thrown out of balance, and then I would feel like MY team was somehow at a disadvantage. I can't let that happen. I can't let the Republicans get an edge, because I hate them, and they all have creepy hair. I need the hilarious delusion that a two-party system provides: the idea that you are choosing sides even though both sides are shitty and corrupt. So ditch your Whig Party pin and toss out that PEROT '92 bumper sticker. You are stuck with these people for the long run. Even a nuclear bomb going off won't change anything.


If the 2015-16 Cleveland Browns only had to gain seven yards for a first down while the rest of the league still had to gain 10, would they then win the Super Bowl?


You know what? YES. Seven yards is such a big difference compared to 10 that even the most anemic offense could probably muster up five TD drives a game with such a dramatic advantage. You could keep an offense out on the field FOREVER. You could spend an entire quarter on offense. I know that sounds insane with Josh McCown at the helm, but it would be like the Sixers playing everyone but getting an eight-foot rim. These are still professionals, and the difference between the worst professionals and the best ones is always razor-thin. It's just hard to see that with the Browns, because they are the Browns, and they SUCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKK. They could fuck up a peanut-butter sandwich.


Knowing what you know now, could you go back five, 10, 15 years and have the brains and financial wherewithal to start Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix … etc.? And could you become a billionaire in a year or two (I'm guessing yes on some level), or would you crash and burn and be relegated to the nuthouse for suggesting that people will one day drive Segways or wear Crocs?


Nope, not a chance. In the case of Amazon or Netflix, you would still need massive amounts of capital to get your ripoff project started. Who's gonna give some random asshole all that money? In the case of Google or Facebook, you would have to be a good enough programmer, or know enough good programmers, to make an exact replica of either site, which is possible in the case of Facebook (because Facebook is dogshit), but not at all possible in the case of Google, which got its start thanks to a brilliant search algorithm that its founders developed on their own. You won't be able to pull aside Joe from IT and be like, "Hey, can you do that?" He can't. There is an unknowable mix of tech savvy, salesmanship, luck, ruthless business enterprise, and seed funding that has made those companies successful. Without any of that, if all you have is the bare idea … you have nothing.

For example: I would like there to be dimmer switches for side mirrors. Every time I drive at night, some complete fuck driving a BMW will blast his dickhead halogen lights and blind me via my side mirror. I would like to dim those side mirrors. But I cannot engineer them myself, and I won't pay anyone to do it for me. And my car probably already dims the side mirrors automatically, and I just don't know it yet. The idea is worthless in my hands. I am already bitter.




I was in the sauna today at the gym, and I also had to pee, and I started to wonder. What percentage of hotel sauna rocks have been peed on? I'm thinking it's gotta be 100 percent because of all the kids on sports teams that stay in a hotel for a tournament or something. It's gotta be 100.


I doubt it. If you piss on sauna rocks, the joke is on you, because then you have to sit there and breathe in all your stinky urea vapors. That's why I never pee on the rocks. If anything, you should just gonna piss on the floor of the sauna and watch as the cedar planks slowly soak up all your urine. I bet that's a really nice moment. My guess is that the average sauna is absolutely filthy everywhere EXCEPT for the rock pile.

By the way, I go to a gym, and there's a sauna there, and there's always one dude in it at a time. If one dude is in the sauna, no other guy is hopping in there and making it a sausage fest. I'm always amazed by places like Finland where people crowd into saunas and eat pickled fish inside of them and act like it's not awkward at all. I can't hold a normal conversation with someone who is in the middle of having their asshole steamed by a red-hot wooden park bench.



I've started paying close attention to what kind of pencils people use in class (because paying attention to the actual class is for NERDS), and I've noticed that no one uses wooden pencils anymore. Everyone uses mechanical pencils. Do you think wooden pencils will ever stop being made?


According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of pens and pencils have actually gone UP in recent years, despite the fact that Nick Bilton can't locate one in his house. They don't have a full breakdown of mechanical versus wood, but obviously mechanical pencils are growing in popularity (you can use them on Scantron tests now) because wooden pencils SUCK. They suck to hold. They suck to sharpen. They smell like institutionalized confinement. The ends snap off constantly. Much better to rock a fancy mechanical pencil that will quickly run out of lead, and then you click it, but then it gives you too much lead, so you push it back down and the lead snaps off and I WILL KILL ALL OF YOU. Much better way to go.

Nonetheless, there will always be a market for wooden pencils, because they're cheap and BIG PENCIL will find ways to put them on school-issued back to school shopping lists. And I bet there has to be a handful of insufferable people out there who must FEEL THE WOOD in order to write their Flannery O'Connor fan fiction. Also, it's a good form of medieval torture for American children to give them wood pencils. It keeps them humble. I don't want my kid to become some GLORY BOY who loses his composure at the sight of a box of Dixon Ticonderogas. Callus up those hands for high school, young man.


(By the way, when I was in school, they took us to some olde-tymey schoolhouse to show you how kids learned back in the 1800s or whatever, and we had to write on a slate with chalk, and we could only hold the chalk with the thumb and forefinger, or else the olde-tymey teacher—who was dickish and annoying—would correct us. I've never been in so much pain. She may as well have whipped us with a horse crop.)


All of my dishes were clean and put away today for the first time in a long time, and the forks seemed a little light. So I took inventory, and holy shit!! I'm missing two knives, one small spoon, and three forks!! (All 12 salad forks and big spoons were accounted for, because these are bullshit utensils that nobody uses.) At first this seemed like a lot of loss and/or theft. But I've been married for 17 years, and a 0.35-utensil-per-year shrinkage seems acceptable.


I've thrown spoons in the trash by accident. Good spoons, too. Workhorse spoons. I really could have used those spoons, man. Once the spoon count gets down to, like, four or five, you really feel it. You go into every meal shorthanded. Nothing worse than having to do an emergency rinse on a handful of knives, because the two good ones are already in the dishwasher basket. That sucks balls.

I remember when I was single and I had, like, one spoon. I had one spoon and three forks and I ate out of wooden bowls for dinner. I was basically living like an animal. Then I got married and my wife registered for flatware and I was like, "Wow! There are so many spoons here!" It's one of the unanticipated benefits of marriage. Multiple spoons are quite useful.



Wouldn't it make perfect sense to build that new NFL stadium in Los Angeles, but instead of permanently moving teams, just treat it like London and have rotating single games for teams?


Yeah, but football is a novelty in England, and those games draw in lots of expatriates. What sane L.A. resident is gonna drop $500 to go see a Week 6 matchup between Buffalo and Cleveland? If they build the stadium, there needs to be a permanent team playing in it, even if L.A. fans don't want that (they don't). Besides, from a fiscal and social standpoint, it makes perfect sense to move a team from St. Louis to Los Angeles. St Louis people don't even like football. One article said the value of the Rams could TRIPLE in the process. That's $3 billion. For the Rams. The same, shitty Rams that have had a common-law marriage to the Ron Pitts announcing crew for the past decade. I don't even know what Stan Kroenke is waiting for, frankly. I'd move today. I'd play in a fucking gravel pit for two years if I had to.

As it stands right now, the current NFL franchise arrangement already feels like a dated version of itself. Goodell and the owners are DYING for the L.A. thing and even maybe the London thing to happen already so that you can enjoy the fully market-saturated version of the NFL that Goodell jacks off to in his shower at night. You put a couple of West Division teams in L.A. You put a South Division team in London. Suddenly, the league is worth $5 billion more than it used to be. Like magic.



Which professional athlete, actor, or musician did you really feel was going to hit it big, and then just ... nothing? I remember telling friends back in the day that James Van Der Beek had all the earmarks of the kind of guy that was going to have a blockbuster Hollywood career.


Oh, you mean like Jacory Harris? Why yes, I may have offered some ill-considered opinions about his potential pro prospects. HE COULD STILL DO IT! I'm also a fan of the Scottish rock band Idlewild, and they released an album about a decade ago called The Remote Part that I really liked, and I used to go on message boards being like THEY'LL BE AS BIG AS U2! They were not as big as U2.

The tired hipster joke is, "I liked (x thing) before (x thing) was big," but it's true. I'm always scrambling to get on the ground floor of the next big phenomenon. I don't know why I do this. It's like predicting NFL games, but somehow even more pointless. You don't get any cash rewards for this. All you get is a dormant Hollywood Stock Exchange account. Remember HSX? I bet 60 percent of the Grantland staff was culled from its user base. From now on, I'm gonna be late to everything and not care. You guys seen Breaking Bad yet? It's pretty compelling!



What's the best building at a university to take a dump in? The library doesn't dampen the sound very well and has too much foot traffic. The science building always has four or five stalls out of order so that building is a crap shoot. The art building is decent, but every art building is situated miles away from convenience. Is it the building housing the math department by default?


I mean, it depends on the university, doesn't it? They aren't exactly all designed the same. I can only speak from personal experience when I say that, at my college, the gym toilets were clearly the worst (dank, smelly, always fertile ground for horrific pranks), the bathrooms outside the dining halls were always too crowded, and the best place to piss was either on the high levels of the library (in the stacks), or in any new facility. I took one English class in a new building and the shitter on the third floor outsider the classroom was luxurious. I used to deliberately leave class every time just so I could go hang in the bathroom and take a dump or masturbate. Or both! MAKE IT A PARTY. Anyway, you're always looking for cleanliness and privacy, and new facilities are more likely to provide such amenities. Shit in the Rockefeller Art Wing!

Email of the week!


I was 20, and it was just after the first semester my then-girlfriend and I spent apart due to college (she was a year younger than me). Long distance sucks ass, and neither of us handled it really well, and I was pretty sure she was going to break up with me as soon as she got back for winter break. This scared the shit out of me, so I had this plan to buy her favorite flowers and a Christmas present to take to her when we're going to get together, which would of course patch up everything in my head. Well, I wake up early and drive to the flower store, spend $30 for a nice bouquet, and start heading over to her house.

And then I feel a nervous rumble in my stomach. I try to fart it out—big mistake.

I have just shit my pants on the day I'm trying to save my relationship. I had to turn around and drive 20 minutes back to my parents house to change my underwear and take a shower, because there's no way I'm convincing a girl to give me another shot if I reek of shit. I clean up, head over, give her the flowers, and she just looks at them and says, "How nice" before setting them aside without putting them in a flower pot or anything: I knew I didn't have a chance. She was mad at me for being late, broke up with me, and now only dates women.


Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Image by Sam Woolley.

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