March Madness, Bad Car Ads And Grown Men Crying Over Games
I have a hard time being invested in televised sports. I could put it in my own words, but the best explanation comes from this essay, which likened it to being in an abusive relationship.
Imagine a girl. Very pretty, a joy to be around, and a nice person that is kind to animals and people alike. She’s a good person, and deserves a good boyfriend, someone who is nice and kind to her.
She has a boyfriend. But he sucks. He makes her pay for everything. When they do something, he tells her what they’re going to do, never asks what she want to do, and never makes any accommodations to her wishes. He only pays attention to her when he wants something out of her, but when she needs something, he is totally unresponsive. He relentlessly lies to her, and is transparently dismissive of their relationship and her as a person. He makes important decisions that impact her without asking her, or consulting her or even considering what she wants. He takes her completely for granted, and almost seems like he holds her in contempt. In essence, he treats her like garbage. Yet, she worships him and supports him no matter what.
What would you tell her? You’d say what any reasonable person would say: What the hell is wrong with you? Why are accepting this? You can do better. He’s not worth it, there are so many other great guys out there who won’t treat you so badly, stop putting up with this.
Now, think about this: If you are a devoted fan of a pro sports team, you have the exact same relationship…with that team.
You are the girlfriend, the team is the boyfriend, and they don’t give a shit about you, and you love them anyway.
Now, with college sports, I get that there’s a connection to a school based on geography, or alumni status or something else. But it’s still an entity that does not give a damn about you, and you are staking your happiness on the performance of people who are, in many cases, not old enough to legally crack a bottle of celebratory champagne. And if you didn’t go to that school? Well, Bark M has words for you.
But what’s worse than all of that is Acura’s campaign to create “memeness” for March Madness. I can’t remember I’ve seen anything so nakedly attempting to be hip or pandering to the “digital native”. It is undignified for any brand, especially for one like Acura that is trying to be taken seriously in the premium space (as the digital marketers would probably call it).
The most recent ad, with a strings version of The Pixies “Where Is My Mind” was pretty great. This campaign sucks. Like everything else Acura has done since they switched to alphanumeric names, it’s two steps forward, one step back.
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Organized sports, either amateur or pro, have little interest to me beyond the occasional opportunity to socialize with friends who are interested. But what chaps my @ss about sports is the fact that I pay every month for ESPN because my cable carrier can't/won't offer an a la carte service that lets me select channels. It's bad enough that sports advertising costs are built into so many products that I use, but I NEVER watch ESPN, yet pay about $10/month because Comcast feels they have to include it.
There are grown men (and I guess women) who take their love of sports way too far, but this whole boyfriend/girlfriend analogy is predicated on "you take sports way too seriously and you shouldn't because you take sports way too seriously." "and you are staking your happiness on the performance of people" No, I'm not. I'm staking a fleeting couple hours on it. So maybe it's inferred that this essay is directed ONLY to those who live and die for sports, but that wasn't particularly clear, it reads as though some obscure craft beer swilling neckbeard is grouchy in the corner at a Super Bowl party muttering to himself how sports are dumb because he got picked last for dodge ball in third grade, but everyone else is just having a good time, and the outcome will be all but forgotten on the folllowing Tuesday anyways.