Friday, May 29, 2015

An outbreak of acute silliness

And now for a Blob favorite I just made up, What Were They Thinking, in which we actually get to hear what they were thinking:

1. "We've got us a coach who's won 65 percent of his games and has gotten us to the playoffs every year even though every year we've been missing key pieces. But he's kind of a pain in the ass. So we're gonna swallow the $9 million left on his contract, shove him out the door  -- Ooh, look, a bus! Bonus! -- and bring in some college guy."

2. "To heck with sudden death. We're out of air time, so we're just gonna declare two champions and go home. Half a Popsicle for everyone!"

The world is a strange place. But sometimes it's not strange enough. Sometimes the world has to take strange out, get it drunk and leave it stranded somewhere, sans pants.

That's kind of what happened yesterday, when the Chicago Bulls fired one of the NBA's best coaches, Tom Thibodeau, and the National Spelling Bee ended in a tie because they ran out of words in the final round. As the immortal gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson used to say, "Bad craziness."

Let's take Thibodeau first.

Yes, he was hard to get along with. But he also won 255 games in Chicago and made the Bulls an Eastern Conference power again. And how did the Bulls thank him for that?

Not only did they fire him, they, yes, threw him under the bus. And not only did they throw him under the bus, they put the bus in reverse and backed over him, then put the bus in drive and drove over him again. Their release announcing Thibodeau's firing was remarkable for its spite -- it essentially said he couldn't be trusted and couldn't abide disagreement -- and remarkably wooden-headed as well. What NBA coach of any merit is going to want to work for the Bulls, if it's an organization not only willing to fire you for winning 51 games a year but to be so stunningly ungrateful as to trash you on your way out the door?

The skinny to all this is, NBA teams will now be lining up to hire Thibs, because the Bulls' attempt to make him unemployable will fall on deaf ears. Do you really think any NBA team believes anything another NBA team says about anything? Silly you.

 And as for the Bulls ...

Well. They'll be lining up to sign, according to reports, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

Thibs wins.

Speaking of winning, there was a massive outbreak of winning in the National Spelling Bee. For the second year in a row, the national championship of speling (oops, make that "spelling") ended in a tie. Sharing the title were Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar, whose names could have been contest words themselves.

Instead, Gokul and Vanya both breezed through the 25-word finals list, which included bouquetière, caudillismo, thamakau, scytale, pyrrhuloxia and several other completely made-up words. So they shared the title, the second year in a row that's happened.

And which is completely ridiculous.

Look. No event that functions as a national championship should ever end in a tie. Ev-er.  Does the Super Bowl end in a tie? The World Series? The U.S. Grand Prix?

(OK, bad example. The U.S. Grand Prix actually did end in a tie one year, or at least the next thing to it: an orchestrated finish that allowed one teammate, Rubens Barrichello, to cross the finish line side-by-side with another, Michael Schumacher. But it's Formula One, and Formula One is silly, too.)

Anyway, this will not stand. Hockey teams play 10 gazillion overtimes sometimes to decide who gets to lug the Stanley Cup around and do weird things with it. Golfers will play 11 gazillion extra holes for the honor of donning an ugly green jacket. And when was the last time the Super Bowl ended this way?

HEAD OFFICIAL: Sorry, boys, it's getting dark. Time to go home.

JOE MONTANA: But we're not finished yet! The game is still tied!

JOE MONTANA'S MOM: Joe Montana! You get in here this instant! Dinner's getting cold!

That never happened in a Super Bowl, nor any other legitimate competition. But it's happened in the spelling bee two years in a row, mainly because (the Blob suspects) it's now an ESPN property, and ESPN had only so much air time allotted to it.

Too bad. There should have been a sudden-death shoot-out free-throw-shooting field-goal-kicking contest spell-off. You make them spell until someone misses, or drops. You make them correctly pronounce "Yvan Cournoyer." Something.

Because you know what they say about a tie. It's like kissing your bouquetière.*

(* -- An assortment of fresh vegetables. Allegedly.)

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