Where would sports fans be without innocuous debates? Or, better yet, what would they talk about during those waning post-All-Star Weekend summer days?
That’s the real issue behind ESPN’s TitleTown USA contest. There’s just not that much to yap about, so TitleTown becomes the network’s yearly surefire way to fill a daily chunk of airtime. Thank God for Brett Favre’s cheekiness, WNBA players’ fightiness and — well, I guess that’s all that’s really going on right now. But if it weren’t for those two recent kerfuffles, we’d be stuck with TitleTown and more NASCAR blather from former Cleveland Cavs big men.But however inane and inconsequential this contest may be, there are currently more than 21,000 passionate comments from readers stating why their city or hamlet should be No. 1.Which leads me to my point: Fans too seldom exercise their given right not to participate. (That said, you’re encouraged to participate in the comments section of this blog.)The average fan isn’t going to be objective, which makes a contest like this completely useless.The same holds true in the music world. I don’t listen to Coldplay or particularly enjoy their albums. I’d rather get something pierced than sit through a Coldplay concert. But I will fully acknowledge that they are, hands down, the best band in the world right now. Just as I would acknowledge (perhaps not hands down) that the Patriots are the best team in football and that CC Sabathia is the best pitcher in baseball.You really won’t be able to apply this principle to the TitleTown lameness though because it’s just going to go to whichever town gets the most votes — or, in this case, city (New York).But the ‘honor’ simply won’t mean a thing if any major city were to win. Bestowing the moniker on Chicago, New York, LA, or even a mid-major market like Louisville would be like the other author giving Bono the “Kevin Allen Thinks You’re A Good Guy Award.” Sure, it’s a coveted feather in one’s proverbial cap, but it’s also one that would go completely unnoticed and under-appreciated by an uber icon.If a small town like Parkersburg, West Virginia were to win, there’d be a nice sign that would go right between the Kiwanis logo and and the Rotary logo on the Welcome to Parkersburg sign for all future generations to see. It would be a huge deal. HUGE.Need proof? Check the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Web Site and do a search for the word ‘titletown.’ It’s literally the talk of the town right now. Kudos to News and Sentinel reporter Dave Poe, who deftly captured what the experience meant to the town in his July 19 article.Meanwhile, here in the City of Big Shoulders, we hardly took notice when Ditka blunderbussed his way atop a Sheffield Ave. rooftop overlooking the Friendly Confines to wax, ahem, poetic about our fair city’s storied sports tradition. He managed only to stammer out a few words about the ’85 Bears no matter what question he was asked during his TitleTown stint.And still, our population is 100 times the size of Parkersburg, West Virginia, so we will surely crush them in the TitleTown voting.As The Other Author logged on to cast his vote, a lone Cubs fan stood outside his Wrigleyville apartment, drunkenly shouting the chorus to “Go Cubs Go.” And suddenly The Other Author was reminded that the true fan knows not what he does, but he does it with gusto anyway.So The Other Author broke down and voted for Chicago anyway.The Other Author: Hopeless lemming or loyal fan? Or does one beget the other?