Spon-taneous combustion | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Spon-taneous combustion

Few people accuse professional athletes of being too subtle, so I’m not going to break any trends here.

Maybe we don’t to rush to judgment on this: Maybe the sponsorship situation isn’t fully out of control yet.

Give it another 20 minutes.

The official beer of the NFL? I can handle that. Nike and Adidas shoeing college football and soccer teams? OK. I can see that being a good thing. The Valtrex.com Artichoke Bowl? I can even deal with, so long as I can change the channel during the commercial so I don’t have to see Sufferer No. 2 (“Oooh. It burns.”) shill between quarters.

Not even Deion Sanders on a Pizza Hut commercial (“Bless the Lord for my freakish cornerback skills – and this breadstick”) bothers me too much. But I take issue when Frank and Boomer and Al and the Gipper and whoever they’ve got electrical-taped to the chair up in the Monday Night Football booth calls a punt return as follows:

“And Chunky’s Terrell Davis takes the handoff, gets a block upfield from Mark Schlereth – sponsored by Crazy Ed’s Denver Arthroscopy Shack (“Your 15th visit is free”) – before taking a hit from Gilbert Brown – you can really see the Mega Weight Gain 2000 working. And Davis is going to score! Green Bay 14, Nike … er … ah… Denver 7.”

I’m going way out on a limb here, and saying I feel a little violated.

Granted, the whole thing is kind of empowering. Heck, Michael Jordan made far, far more in endorsements than he ever did from salary. And Dennis Rodman now is the pitchman for Candies, which was a women’s perfume last time I checked, without being on any NBA roster. Appropriate. However, I do understand the Dallas Mavericks are interested in signing Rodman to address the team’s weaknesses: rebounding, defense, and an inability to battle on the blocks with Carmen Electra.

But I digress.

And if you think it’s just an NFL/NBA thing, guess again. With two years in Vail, Colo., and six months here under my belt, I’m starting to realize it’s possible to persuade skiers and snowboarders to change equipment and home mountains more often than I change my socks. Of course, this has no negative connotations for either snowsports, or people concerned with my hygiene. I’m deep into the fine points of negotiations with a local snowboard clothing company to see if we can agree on terms for them to clothe me:

“Please sponsor me “


“Please sponsor me “


Again, I digress.

But it raises the same problem. Who would want to sift through a sports story burdened with this kind of gruel?

“Renowned acro-skier Bill Murphy, who skis the bumps at Alpine Meadows for Atomic for fun, but the ones at Granlibakken for Rossignol when he’s training for the World Cup. He attributed the win in Tuesday’s duels to the superior glare protection from his Oakley sunglasses, which he always wears if he has his Acuvue contacts in, but otherwise opts for Calvin Klein glasses under his Smith goggles. He added he felt comfortable on the course because the cold doesn’t bother him in his Hot Chilly’s undergarments, which he layers under an official state of West Virginia hunting/roadkill-gathering vest. And if Bill ever straps into a snowboard, all bets are off unless it’s the second Tuesday of the month, in which case he must wear animal skins for a week, yea, and be cast into the fiery pit according to the standards Yaweh set forth in verse 20 of the 13th chapter of Leviticus II, ‘Leviticus With a Vengeance.'”

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