I like things that are off the beaten path. You can call me a hipster or whatever, but I have always been this way, even when I was a little kid. This has lead me to some bizarre sports loyalties over the years. I rooted for the Portland TrailBlazers to beat Jordan's Bulls, I rooted for the Calgary Flames to beat Gretzky's Oilers. I figured they just needed another fan.
Who roots for Goliath? What fun is that?
This doesn't just apply to rooting for the underdog. I love smaller sports, much to my wife's chagrin. One of the great things about the College World Series is that most of the country does not care in the slightest, but for two weeks in Omaha, everyone you meet is the biggest college baseball fan in the world. It's like walking into Bizarro World, and it's just great. At the end of the day, I like liking things.
So it was with genuine excitement I sat down in front of my TV set to watch LSU softball while flipping back to check on the NCAA lacrosse tournament. You can take the boy out of Maryland, but you can't take the Maryland out of the boy. I might have spent halftime trying to stick fake the dog in the backyard.
Anyway, it's easy to complain about things. It's easy to be a critic, which is why I spend so much time doing it. Never let it be said that I don't take the path of least resistance. However, as much time as the internet spends railing against the evils of ESPN, and rightfully so, let's actually praise them when they do something right.
There's no way ESPN is scoring big ratings with women's softball and college lacrosse, so this really is ESPN taking an interest in a smaller sport and trying to help it grow by exposing it to a larger audience. Sure, some of the commentary was a bit rough, and there was a two inning stretch on Saturday night in which none of the graphics were working, but no one was expecting ESPN to send their A-teams for these events. It was great that they simply tried to cover it.
One of the biggest problems with this blog is that we do a downright crappy job of covering women's sports. I tried to teach myself about college gymnastics this year to middling success for just this reason. Nothing like having a little girl and burgeoning LSU fan to show you just how dismissive of women's sports pretty much all media outlets are.
Hey, I get why. We can either get five or six comments and maybe a thousand hits for an article on the gymnastics team, and we get over 300 comments and 10,000 hits for an offseason article on Jarvis Landry, a guy who isn't even on the football team anymore. We love football like nothing else, and you don't change people's hearts by telling them they should be doing something else. Yeah, I should eat more vegetables, but pizza is delicious. You'll never get anywhere telling people they are consuming their entertainments wrong, mainly because they are not. You like what you like. And it's fun to like things.
But every spring, LSU softball magically appears on my TV screen. Someone in TV land must think we're a pretty good draw, as LSU gets the televised regional with great frequency recently. And it's awesome. I mean, the games are great and I have to admit, I love how every team has apparently ten thousand intricate cheers for every possible situation. The games are fun, and not just because I'm cheering for the laundry.
The L'il Poseur was star struck. Honestly, she just likes cheering. She knows that when people clap, they are happy, so she wants to join in. She starts clapping too and then she throws her arms over her head and she starts yelling, "WOOOOOOO!" She's a big Chad Jones fan, and doesn't even know it.*
*Her teddy bear is actually named Dreads. It used to be the Posette's bear, and she named it after Chad Jones and the Dreadlocks of Doom. That is because Chad and the Posette are both awesome. But our daughter has commandeered the bear.
Every year, I watch LSU softball in the tournament and every year, I regret not following the team all year long. Not because I "should" be following them, but because I really enjoyed watching the games. They represent my school, and I spent all year ignoring them. That's on me. The L'il Poseur is mad at me for that, as she missed out on a lot of chances to say "WOOOOOOOO!"
LSU ran out of gas in the seventh game. They gave up too many runs in the first two frames, and just dug themselves too deep of a hole to come out of. They played great, exciting ball all weekend and could have just as easily won this regional, but coming out of the loser's bracket took its toll. That 9-8 loss on Saturday to Arizona was the difference, as it forced LSU to play two more games just to force that final game with a chance to advance.
It was a great run. It's a shame I missed it. It's fun to like things, and the softball team is nothing but likeable. Beth Torina is building a pretty darn good program. It's time LSU fans paid it some attention before May.