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A Sports World Gone Mad

(Column Intermission II: Presumptive Heisman winner Timmy Chang -- now with a record 15,845 career passing yards -- completed 23 of 31 for 376 yards in Hawaii's 52-21 victory over Idaho. In the first half alone, he threw for five touchdowns, even though at times Idaho appeared to have 12 or 13 defenders on the field. Heck, I believe Timmy Chang could throw a touchdown pass from a dentist's chair.)

People point to the disconnect between fans and athletes. That's not the problem. It's a deterioration of civilized thought and behavior, and it's played out daily in more than just sporting arenas.

I mean, I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a lot of anger out there.

So you have people cutting each other off on the highway and parents fighting each other at youth soccer games and voters screaming at each other at polling booths.

And while sports fans today aren't necessarily more belligerent than they were generations ago, the means of belligerence -- talk radio and the Internet -- have become more pervasive.

Do we need beefed-up security at arenas? Perhaps. Do we need to restrict alcohol sales at games? Perhaps. Do we need to educate athletes on how to respond to fan abuse? Perhaps. But what we really need is a massive re-socialization. What we need is to reassess a culture that props up athletic feats excessively. What we need is to redirect our energies to healthier pursuits. (Yes, Couch Slouch's Xanax prescription ran out several weeks ago.)

I've had a simple solution for years, for which I'm usually shouted down: We've got to stop taking these games so seriously.

We could use a little more Abbott and Costello and a little less Mike and the Mad Dog. By the way, go rent "Rollerball" -- James Caan is on fire in that baby.

Ask the Slouch

Q. I will be graduating from college soon and am wondering about a possible internship. I would like to improve my skills in sleeping until noon, drinking straight from the carton and being check-raised on the river. Have I come to the right place? (Paul Cole; Gainesville, Fla.)

A. Congratulations on the internship. See you next Wednesday bright and early at 2:15 or so.

Q. Is Michael Irvin actually working for ESPN doing football commentary, or am I having recurring Sunday morning nightmares? (Ryan Barndt; Quakertown, Pa.)

A. If you wake up an hour later, the nightmares should go away.

Q. Now that the World Series of Poker is over, what do you do the rest of the year? (Gary Randolph; Sterling)

A. Hang with Mel Kiper Jr.

Q. With all the attention regarding Terrell Owens's end-zone antics, I was wondering if any of your ex-wives have been penalized by the judge for excessive celebration after your divorces were finalized? (Rob Phillips; Reston)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. E-mail asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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