Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The 2011 Nonsportsman! of the Year! is coming!

Until it does, enjoy this series of classic NC! reruns of the past Nonsportsman!'s of the Year!, beginning with the first ever Nonsportsman of the Year!:


Every year, beginning with this one, Nonsportsmanlike Conduct has picked the Nonsportsman of the Year: That person outside of sports who has had the biggest impact on the world of sports. It’s a celebration of those of us, like me, who were not athletes, not coaches, not sportscasters, but who still, like me, have dramatically affected sports. I am taking a risk, I suppose, in naming the Nonsportsman of the Year now, with a full 51 days left in 2007. Yet, I feel confident that nobody will have a bigger impact on sports, will make a bigger mark, than the 2007 Nonsportsman of the Year, this guy:


*

Asterisk has a rich history of affecting sports.

His tenure goes at least as far back as Roger Maris beating Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record.
Since then, Asterisk has worked harder and harder, stepping up his efforts to permeate the sports world.

Asterisk’s big breakthrough came in the King of Sports, pro football. Remember when Bears-Packers meant something? Remember the Asterisk Bowl? Maybe not. But I do. And the Bears do.


Here’s a quote from Bears History.com: Sandwiched in the middle of the stretch was a trip to Green Bay to face the Packers, which they had beaten eight straight times. With seconds remaining the Bears led 13-7, but Packer quarterback Don Majkowski threw a touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe to tie the game. It was immediately ruled that Majkowski was over the line of scrimmage when he threw the pass, but the ruling was reversed by instant replay on the most questionable replay reversal in replay's history.
For years, the Bears' media guide carried an asterisk that read "instant replay game" in protest.

And things would only get better for Asterisk from there on. Whenever something controversial happened, whenever a champion fell unexpectedly, whenever a rule quirk was discovered, whenever people suddenly went from a size 4 hat to a size 14, Asterisk was not far behind, taking credit and seizing the spotlight.

Sports fans came to rely on him more and more. Bert Emanuel traps a pass and a rule says it’s not a catch in a playoff game? Change the rule, but demand that Asterisk be there. Tom Brady appears to be getting ready to run when he loses the ball in a playoff game? Call in the “tuck rule”—and Asterisk!

Asterisk won a World Series game, riding Kenny Rogers’ smudged hand. He’s been to the Tour de France (but didn’t get to date Ashley Olson.) But it was not until this year that Asterisk stopped redshirting and really moved to the forefront.

In 2007, Asterisk went back to the Tour De France and joined Floyd Landis in winning a stage. He stopped off at the NCAA to see whether they would take away all those games Reggie Bush and USC won. He took a job refereeing in the NBA, and got all the way to the playoffs there: Amare Stoudemire might have had to miss a game, but Asterisk did not.

Still, football has always been Asterisk’s true sport, and he’s back in the League now – and upping his game, because now even Asterisk might need an asterisk. It was widely reported this week that Don Shula had said that if the Patriots* go 19-0 they should have … Asterisk! after their record. Only it wasn’t true – so the quote about an Asterisk now needs an Asterisk.

Nonsportsmanlike Conduct is not the only person to recognize Asterisk – he’s also going to Baseball’s Hall of Fame, so Asterisk will live on for future generations of sports lovers:



It’s a rarity that a long and distinguished career can be celebrated while someone is still active, but in Asterisk’s case, we can do so. Years and years of excellence have culminated in 2007, the Year of the Asterisk. And, looking ahead, who knows? He might even win the next Superbowl…


6 comments:

Grumpy Bulldog, Secret Agent said...

Knowing you the 2011 Nonsportsman of the year will be announced in 2013.

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