| Yes, the second-tier NBA stars competing for the U.S. at the World Championships actually lost to Argentina, whose uniforms are styled after Punchy, the Hawaiian Punch mascot.
And no, tennis crabass Andy Roddick couldn't have looked anymore lost on court with Pete Sampras if he'd been holding a map and wearing a Hello, My Name Is...Andy sticker over his I (Heart) NY t-shirt.
And yes, the Oakland A's are on an epic winning streak that Bill Kinsella couldn't imagine after a loaf of peyote.
Any of those stories might rate a full column in May or June, but this is NFL Week One. We can't be distracted by lesser games.
Time to order the food, fetch the Pabst, and settle into that ass-groove on your couch, American. Week One has arrived. We've been tearing through Sports Illustrated's special double-issue NFL preview, and we're jazzed because we just realized exactly why Randy Moss is The Man, our model for athletic meta-personality.
It's not his freakish size, live-wire jukes, or blistering speed that we're into. Instead, it's the pathological Moss blather that gave us last year's ESPY winner for crazy sound bite: "I play when I want to play." Well, that's the essence of play, right? If you had to do it, they'd call it work. Randy Moss is the most gifted athlete in America, and now that he's shed former handler and teammate Cris Carter, he's exploded into our most random, uncontrollable orator, spewing his homespun Nuke-LaLouche-speak to anyone with a tape recorder.
If you read just one item from one NFL preview this season, make it Michael Silver's SI account of his brush with the Randy Moss Experience. In a fantastic snapshot of an excessively self-involved, schizoid wide receiver, you can feel the writer's half-fear, half-awe, when he is confronted with the totally unbalanced Moss.
To summarize, Silver is promised a 30-minute interview with Moss. The manic Viking tries to big-time the writer, announcing that he'll allow only two questions. His answers, however, fill the half hour. Sentences begin "HAY-ell no," and end with "homey." One of Silver's questions produces this savory meal of a phrase in response: "The things I do speak might come out different in terms of language."
All right, class, anyone willing to diagram that sentence? Object? Predicate? The only thing we know for sure is that Randy Moss is the subject. This never changes.
After the discussion is terminated, Moss telephones the writer and asks to re-do the interview. More fabulous quotes follow in his unmatched stream-of-bullshit style. He cares about his image. No he doesn't. Yes he does. He was misquoted and misunderstood, but he meant what he said. Whatever it was. He wants to win, wants to do his part. But no one's gonna tell him what to do. His responses might be complex, they might be simple. In the end, Moss comes across as a nihilistic Yogi Berra. We're as amped and disoriented as Randy, though. The Vikes will win it all, Randy will catch 150 passes for 3000 yards and 60---no, 70---touchdowns. He'll lead the league in rushing and boot longer field goals than Gus the kicking mule.
We've never been so ready for some football, homey.
Big Foam Finger