A recent Online Internet Chatroom conversation with @theiri, lantern-jawed MLB editor at CBSSports.com and board-vetted Man of Action, leads me to make the following True Internet Confession: Sometimes, I conduct fake sports interviews with myself.
Consider this is a consequence of my being a sports enthusiast, scion of the computer age and consumer of leisured pursuits. All of this is to say, I have, largely since the point of sentience, partaken in sports or sports simulations of some kind. A corollary to all of this has been my only slightly daunted habit of conducting fake sports interviews with myself. Please allow me to explain in further depth.
When I was a lad, I would, say, complete a Pee Wee football game and then later, in sweet solitude, address the probing questions of the imagined media. “I saw an opening, and I went for it,” is probably something I said out loud yet to no one of the corporeal realm.
Some years later, I probably said, “We emphasize ball movement here, and that’s why I passed up the shot.” I was not at any kind of locker with any kind of towel over my head and was not blinking into any kind of glare from the hot lights.
Still later, I probably said to a non-nest of no microphones, “I’m not sure why coach didn’t play me. You should probably ask him.” He didn’t play me because I was not good and toiled for a low-grade football powerhouse, but to the imaginary press corps, the explanation was something darker, something conspiratorial.
Mostly, though, the fake sports interviews I have conducted with myself have been the residue of computer simulations. What good are these labors if I go about them in mute drudgery and do not grant them wings with which to rise above their contrived essences? Call it pretend, but pretending is an act and an act is real. That’s why I shall always make time for the press that isn’t there.
Take the possibly no longer extant Lance Haffner suite of sports games, for instance. What is it about my patient tutelage of Dave Yarema and convention-toppling schemes that allowed me to guide the 1986 Michigan State football team to a most improbable national championship? Let me tell you a bit about that, credentialed media members crowding about me.
As architect of a Diamond Mind colossus, I was asked about my prevailing organizational philosophies. Out loud, I would say, somewhat condescendingly, “Obviously, that was part of the thinking when we made that trade. Those considerations always inform our baseball decisions.”
In the X-Box era, I returned Nebraska football to the glories of yore, while also being a vociferous social critic of the depredations of the NCAA system. How could I continue to make a sheik’s ransom coaching these young men while speaking out against their exploitation? “I’m not at ease with these contradictions,” I would say, disconsolately, “I want you to know that. But we’ve got a football game to win.”
While shooting basketball at my in-laws, I addressed questions about the elite athlete’s mindset when burying a clutch three, which I had just done. “Muscle memory takes over,” I say to the yard, who earnestly wants to know. “You’re a bit of an automaton at that point, at least if you’re properly prepared and moderated in your instincts. If you’re in that space, that swath of the mind, then the on-ball defender has nothing to do with the outcome. I am the author of every shot I take.” What kind of athlete talks with such piercing eloquence, the scribes wonder in chorus.
I conducted this interview over Thanksgiving. Next month, I turn 42.
What I’m saying is that sometimes I conduct fake sports interviews with myself.