SI Vault
What's Not to Like?
Rick Reilly
January 10, 2000
My 12-year-old came down to breakfast, stole the sports page from under my eggs'-and said, "So, Pops, who you dissin' this week?"
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
January 10, 2000

What's Not To Like?

View CoverRead All Articles

My 12-year-old came down to breakfast, stole the sports page from under my eggs'-and said, "So, Pops, who you dissin' this week?"

I gave him my hurt-and-stunned look. He stuffed a half box of Frosted Flakes in his mouth and said, "Yurnghh alghays rippinngh smmmbundy."

That's not true! Well, other than cheerleaders, hunters, baseball, the NBA, the BCS, the INS, the IOC, the NCAA, college jocks, pro jocks, Detroit, France, Little League and the 20th century. I told him he had me all wrong. I told him I love sports.

I told him I love the penalty box and starting blocks and "Rock, chalk, Jayhawk!" and NFL Films spirals and eye black and ear holes and slobbermouth tackles and multimillionaires piling on each other with glee and dignified CEOs sitting behind huge mahogany desks wearing Slippery Rock boxers and how the diamond explodes on you coming out of a stadium tunnel and long walks to the green with your putter and crossover dribbles so quick a mountain lion would gasp and broken bats and salt-stained hats and Minnesota Fats and Wrigley ivy and Fenway monsters and every blade at Augusta and DODGERS jerseys and IRV'S DELI jerseys and Crosley and Ebbets and Shibe and the reverse 1� somersault with 3� twists from platforms most people wouldn't even climb and par out of the spinach and 30-second pickles and Saratoga mudders and the Albert brudders and super slo-mo and goal-to-go and "Yajustneverknow!" and the soft leaner in the lane and the 8 ball the hard way and how nobody eats peanuts in the shell except at baseball games and passing the hot dog eight seats down and the money eight seats back and "Hey, ump! Move around, yer killin' the grass!" and bloop singles and mixed doubles and triple OT and marathoners who run 4:48 per mile and 78-year-old women who average 4:48 per block but finish anyway and appreciative coyote hoots from the chair lift above and the strut of women sprinters and the way athletes just can't stand still for the national anthem and Student Body Left and Wide Right and Nebraska players diving for cover as Ralphie comes snorting by and women on bikes in flowing hair racing the bus to the corner and 85-year-old men in white playing tennis at one mph for the price of half an egg-salad sandwich and kids going, "How come you always get to be Jagr?" and the way a new Wilson Jet basketball feels straight out of the box and Stickum and pick 'ems and "Who needs one?" and two-hand touch and three-and-out and four-baggers and "Through the five hole!" and seeing the breath of everybody in the stadium at once and "Thanks for stopping by the booth" and "Dadgum, I just gotta thank this Fram filter Champion spark plug Goodrich tire crew of mine" and "My second favorite team is who's ever playin' Texas" and bricks and bombs and bullets and the freshman fall football banquet and trap blocks and swim moves and alligator arms and the way the holder catches it, sets it down and spins it perfectly in one eighth of a second every time and how you still play Beat Bill Bradley in the driveway and it has nothing to do with the New Hampshire primary and hangin' the net and coffin corners and Madden and Summerall and a big bowl of Cheez Doodles and the Packers' logo and a 165-pound punt returner under a 50-foot-high, 50-yard punt in horizontal rain with half the nation watching and half a dozen 230-pound greenied-up men very anxious to see the inside of his neck and "Who's your Daddy?" and "Hi, Mom!" and catching a foul ball with one hand without spilling the beer in the other and writers banging out a 14-inch lead and a 12-inch sidebar in 25 minutes in a meat-locker-cold press box and "Red hots!" and orange segments and the Green Sheet and suicide squeezes and sudden death and the 100-yard war and everybody gets to go home anyway and Tour juice and the amazing thrill of a McGwire pop-up to short and "He's got absolutely no shot here, Jimmy" and four tires, 20 gallons and a ham sandwich in 18 seconds and "Thaaaaare goes Rusty!" and "gunga galunga" and the bell and the buzzer and the beep of the Olympic downhill starting gate and all the stuff that makes you forget the Visa bill and the leaky radiator and the second mortgage long enough to tingle.

My son gave me his hurt-and-stunned look.

"Dad?" he said.


"You still hate the Yankees, right?"

"More than ever."

We hugged.