1) Print out every critical tweet, column and blog post from the past year or so.
2) Mark them up with marker, highlighter, colored pencil, crayon, oil pastel, Sharpie and water color, circling out every statement that looks ridiculous in retrospect.
3) Write a 15,000-word draft delicately vivisecting every single misplaced character and off-target prediction.
4) Perform various audio renditions of this 15,000-word opus, with orchestral accompaniments.
5) Turn the entire output into a screenplay, and produce a 15-minute short, titled “HAHAHAHAHAHA,” which, instead of closing credits, featured the names and faces of each of my critics, digitally altered to make them look really dumb, and also extra bald.
6) Create holographic versions of my critics and force them to watch this film, while regularly looking askance in their general direction, and possibly smirking.
7) Sleep on it all for one night. Then, I would drink a nice warm cup of coffee and throw all of this stuff in the dumpster.
I can’t say this would be easy, though. Not pointing out your critics’ missteps requires superhuman self-control. And so there are alternate approaches. Like this one:
Look, this is a very Monumental moment. The Caps and Wizards, combined, have the best mark of any city’s NBA/NHL duo in 2017. They’re both in first place at the same time this late in the year for the first time in literally forever. And many people — ME ME ME — wrote skeptical things about these teams, did not see this heat wave coming, and now appear to have been wrong. All that said, a few mild comments:
1) I’m not sure you have to be a self-proclaimed expert to feel sort of positive about an NHL team with the best record in the league, that’s winning and scoring at a near-historic pace. How else but with optimism should one regard the hottest team in pro sports?
2) Pointing out that a team with a meh record has a meh record, and that a team with a fantabulous record had a fantabulous record (and then maybe trying to figure out why) does not mean you are building anyone up just to then tear them down. It only means you’re reflecting something that’s happening in the world.
3) The Wizards went from historically bad to contenders at about the same time that they went from 2-8 to 31-21, and from damn near last place in the Eastern Conference to third or fourth place in the Eastern Conference. This is not “according to so called experts.” This is according to the NBA standings. How and why they started poorly and how and why they rallied are interesting questions that I’d like so called experts to continue exploring. And how and why almost no one saw this coming is also an interesting question. It is not, however, particularly surprising that people feel sunnier about a team once it puts up the NBA’s best record over a 30-day span.
4) I know virtually no members of the local sports media who consider themselves self-proclaimed experts, so-called experts, or so-called industry experts. I just know a lot of people who enjoy talking and writing about sports.
5) But if these so-called experts devoted their so-called radio shows and so-called blogs to topics other than the so-called struggling local NBA and NHL franchises, so-called owners might publicly wonder why these so-called experts were not discussing their so-called teams. Theoretically. And if the teams were struggling and the so-called experts weren’t acknowledging those so-called struggles, but were instead issuing rainbow beams of pure optimistic joy … I mean, that would be kind of weird, no?
7) Further: Making accurate predictions and perfectly anticipating the future are cool talents. Most sports media folks do not have those gifts. If they did, they would make their livings in Vegas casinos, and not by trying to jam a digital recorder over a bunch of sweaty heads while getting reminders to file their stories five minutes ago.
8) Different sports people fulfill different roles, but I don’t think most people consume sports media because they want to know who will win a particular game a week from now. I think they do it to learn more about their teams, and also to be entertained. If you are reading my work today to figure out whether the Caps will win their second-round series, I believe you will be disappointed.
9) All that said, I was super wrong about the Caps and the Wizards this fall, and was far too pessimistic about both. I regret the error(s). Ted Leonsis has every right to dunk on me, as often as he’d like.
10) And I do agree with his conclusion. No one knows nothing. I just know the Caps and Wizards are both playing jolly well.