Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And preorder Drew’s next book, The Night The Lights Went Out, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about eating olives, coachwear, sports sexism, pub crawls, and more.
Say you are a billionaire that hates rain. You decide that, starting next week, you never want to be in a place where drops of water fall from the sky again. You want to be outside in the sun whenever possible. You’re willing to stay on the move for the rest of your life by any sort of transport and pay whoever to watch the weather. Can you live the rest of your life being outdoors all the time and never see a drop of rain again?
Never SEEING it? That’s a lot to ask. But Arica, Chile averages just hundredths of an inch in rainfall every year. It’s also on the coast, because how could it not be? Chile is four feet wide. Arica also has lovely beaches and is known as the “city of eternal spring.” And here I am, living in Maryland like a fucking IDIOT. Fuck you, I’m moving to dry-ass Chile. I’ve decided. I’m going to Arica, building a ranch, and raising prize stallions. Might even have my own vineyard.
So yes, if you were a billionaire freakshow who never wanted rain to cross your Botoxed visage, you could live year-round in Arica (but not with me) and have your own private weather team alert you if a nickel-sized rain cloud is approaching. Then you could hustle over to your Gulfstream, have it fly around for 20 minutes over the Pacific, and then land back in your adopted hometown once the “storm” has passed. Big win for imaginary you, the world’s foremost rain hater.
By the way, this is the exact opposite of how, like, Richard Branson conducts himself. These are billionaires with magician hair who get so bored that they become poser daredevils: snorkeling with great whites and flying to Not Space and fucking Kimberly Guilfoyle without using protection. So instead of moving to Arica and living in pristine serenity for the rest of their days, the average public-facing billionaire is usually like ACTUALLY I LOVE RAIN AND I BUILT THIS KEVLAR ZEPPELIN TO SEND ME DIRECTLY INTO THE EYE OF ANY TROPICAL STORM. That’s how those guys roll. God forbid they just chill and throw a luau every night.
There’s a guy in my fantasy league who our group has known for more than 20 years, and over that time we’ve all been well aware that his politics don’t line up with everyone else’s, even the other conservatives. It’s been fine because he’s perfectly kind and polite on a personal level. However, over the past year and a half, he’s gone off the deep end of COVID misinformation, posting constantly to social media about how masks do nothing, the virus isn’t a big deal, and people who urge extra precautions just want to take away freedom. He doesn’t share this with the league—it’s not like he’s praising Ron DeSantis during trade negotiations. But I think his behavior counts as shitty enough to broach kicking him out of the league. For what it’s worth, I have no idea how our commissioner might react to the suggestion. What do you think?
Why wouldn’t you wanna beat the shit out of him every week instead? Every league needs a heel. This guy seems like the perfect candidate for it. You beat him, and then you taunt him. You call him Kirk every chance you get. You make a big show of it when anyone on his roster is out with COVID protocols. You tell him you hope he dies. THAT’S GOOD TRASH TALKIN’! Quality guy time!
But in all seriousness, I wouldn’t kick this moron out of your league, especially if he’s not bringing all of his baggage into league dealings. I certainly wouldn’t go over his head to the commish about it. If I had to vet everyone in my fantasy league, or at the stadium, or while playing Among Us with a bunch of online strangers, I’d just end up not playing anything at all. There should be legit social consequences for avoiding the vaccine—not being welcomed into concerts and restaurants, etc. But I couldn’t bring myself to give a shit about whether or not some angry Todd I encounter only on the fantasy transaction wire deserves the least impactful form of my wrath.
How long after an athlete departs your team is it still appropriate to wear their jersey to a game?
You paid for it, right? Then forever. Jerseys are expensive. Unless you bought a Rae Carruth jersey, you wear yours forever or you flip it on Poshmark. I demand VALUE from anything I buy, even if it’s a Laquon Treadwell jersey.
By the way, I’m making a drastic move this football season. A few weeks ago, I spotted this pullover on NFL Shop and I was like, “That looks pretty sharp! And authoritative!” This was right when I decided to leave t-shirts behind, so here was an attractive, CLASSY alternative to t-shirts and to fat-guy jerseys. So I bought it. It makes me look like Ben McAdoo. I tried wearing this casually while I was on vacation and my wife was like, “Nonono. You wear that on football days only.” So this fall, I’m gonna switch over to cosplaying as a coach instead of as a player. This was always my destiny.
I do like the pullover, though. The air vent in the back does wonders for my internal thermostat.
What level of relative would have to be a starter for the Packers for you to cheer for them over the Vikings? I assume if your son was a starter then that would do it. Brother, almost certainly. Nephew? Hmmm. Cousin? Probably depends on how close you are. Half-brother? Step-brother?
Yeah if it were my son suiting up for Green Bay, that’d do the trick. Anything past that is essentially a no, with the possible exception of my nephews. My sister’s son is playing tackle football for the first time this fall. I ran him through homemade blocking drills while we were all on vacation (I did not wear the coaching pullover while doing so). It was a fucking BLAST. I fixed his stance. I made him do duck walks. I had him fire out while keeping his head under a pool skimmer pole. Then I had him fire out at me while I held a seat cushion for him to punch. And I was like PUNCH HARDER! That was music to his ears.
Then I was like, “Remember: when you’re run blocking, you wanna get your guy out of the way. When you’re pass blocking, you wanna stay in HIS way.” And then he nodded. And then the Rudy theme music played in the background. It was a good afternoon.
If my man climbs the ladder and ends up as a tight end for the Packers, I’ll absolutely cheer for him. No reason not to. After all, 10 years from now I’ll be too old, and too chill living in Arica, to give a fuck about the Vikings anyway.
What is the correct way to eat olives with pits? The way I see it, there are two routes:
1) Put the whole olive in your mouth. Using the molars, gently bite around the pit, then spit the pit out.
2) Using pointer finger and thumb, hold the olive up to your mouth, chomping and eating as you rotate the olive around (in a similar fashion to corn on the cob). Discard pit when done.
I don’t like olives, although I’m not gonna make a whole thing of it here. If I did like olives, I’d eat them the first way. Same as a cherry. Why would I bother nibbling around the thing and letting it spill olive juice down my wrist? That’s stupid. Needless.
This is where I tell you that I eat peaches by cutting them in half, removing the pit with my fingers, and then eating the halves without periodontal concern. Sometimes the pit comes loose easy. Other times the pit stays in there like a baby clinging to its mommy. Very annoying. Anyway, I have no regrets. A peach is too large to shove into my mouth in one go (though I’ve tried), so this is my best compromise.
Am I part of the problem if I’m not going out of my way to watch and get into women’s sports? Or is it the job of the sports media and to give me reasons to care and get excited about women’s sports? Or is it both?
It’s not the job of the media to SELL you on women’s sports, but we do have an obligation to cover them seriously. That goes for the networks that air them as well, and it especially goes for the NCAA, which has an obligation to give its female athletes good resources so that they aren’t relegated to second-class citizenry compared to the men’s sports.
In some cases, the cart leads the horse, other times not. I’ll give you an example. I have watched women’s tennis and taken it seriously my entire life, certainly as seriously as I take men’s tennis. That’s because women’s tennis has, as long as I’ve been alive, been presented as big-time shit. That wasn’t always the case, of course. Billie Jean King and other pioneers had to make a whole lot of … racket (HUH?! HUH?!) … to lay the foundation for that equal(ish) coverage before I came along.
Now contrast that with women’s basketball, which I never watched prior to this year, largely due to my inherent chauvinism. You can go back through my archives to easily find examples of that chauvinism. I won’t squawk about it. I viewed women’s basketball as inferior to the men’s product, and the sports-industrial complex both indulged my chauvinism (and others’) and took it as a given. That’s the horse leading the cart.
But I did watch the women’s NCAA final this past spring and had a good time. I did this out of some sense of personal responsibility, perhaps to make amends for past ignorance. And yes, I know how thirsty and patronizing that sounds. The good news was that I was rewarded with a basketball game that I enjoyed with no thirst required. I should have watched this shit more often and I simply didn’t. And I have more work to do on that front. I never watch the WNBA. I should at least give it a fair shake before I go ignoring it again.
I still spend the vast majority of my sports fan time watching and obsessing over men’s sports, most notably football. But the efforts that elevated women’s tennis are already well underway in women’s basketball, women’s pro wrestling, and other sports. Women’s soccer here is already MILES ahead of its male counterpart, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. My kids are growing up in a sports landscape where the attitudes and the coverage toward women’s sports are better—not perfect, but better—than they were when I was growing up a dickhead sports bro. That’s thanks to efforts from the athletes, the coaches, some of the media, and fans alike. You’re living through progress. And everyone’s reward for that progress is MORE good sports on TV to watch. Makes me feel stupid for ever thinking the way I used to think.
I’m your age and single. I’ve been tasked with Best Man duties. My plan is a pub crawl along one my city’s (Toronto) densest drinking areas, followed by a finish at a greasy strip club who’s extremely responsible staff is very 100% vaccinated. Would you do something similar?
At my age? No. I’m at the age where strip clubs are depressing instead of depressing but fun. But the fact that I’m extremely married also factors in here. So I can’t begrudge you if you, a single man, wanna get your rocks off at The Jolly Pony or whatever. I never went to any Canadian strip clubs when I was younger, but I heard the stories. The legends endure.
As for the pub crawl, this is where I confess that I’ve never completed a full pub crawl. If I come to a bar I like and I’m comfortable, I don’t wanna fucking leave it. I certainly don’t wanna round up a bunch of horny drunken friends to coordinate moving to another bar in real time and then do it all over again an hour later. That’s where bachelor parties turn into a complete pain in the ass. Just eight dudes standing at the door with their coats already on going, “We’re going! Has anyone seen Randy?” Back in the day, I only had energy to do one switch: from the bar to another bar/a nightclub/a strip club/a casino. That was it. We would decamp to a new place to find new women, I would strike out, and then I’d go home and fall asleep in my own piss. MEMORIES.
If I were planning a bachelor party now, and budgets were too tight for travel, I’d just go to some really cool lounge, like with fancy curtains and what have you. Some place called The Carolyn or something. Lounges are cool. They make me feel sophisticated. I don’t go to enough lounges.
Why are chicken wings always listed under the “appetizers” section? Are there really people out there that order wings for the table or, God forbid, as a quick snack before their meal arrives?
Yes and yes to that, Chris. Why would I order wings as an entrée when I can get them as a bonus supplement to a burger, or a steak, or an entire Chinese dinner? The whole point of going to a restaurant is to overorder. I’m not here to restrain myself. I’ve been known to get my own appetizer, AND wings for the table, AND an entrée. All in one go. That’s how you win.
Besides, know what would happen if I tried ordering wings to be my dinner? Everyone else would ask me for one, I’d say no, and then they’d shoot me dead. And I’d deserve it. Wings are one of the GOAT appetizers for a reason.
Within the context of journalism and writing, do you consider yourself, Drew Magary, to be A Guy? Why or why not? What is the threshold or criteria for Guyhood among journalists?
I’m absolutely a Guy. 20 years from now, you’ll be in a bar and someone will be like, “Hey man, remember that Drew Magary guy? With the teams sucking and all that?” And then you’ll be like, “Oh my God I totally forgot about that Guy!” I’ve accomplished enough in my life to have earned that distinction.
And sports media absolutely has Guys in it. Jackie MacMullan just retired. She’s totally a Guy (or Gal) now. And what about Gene Wojciechowski? Remember THAT Guy? The other Woj totally stole his shine! Gene Woj had a SUPER deep voice. Bet he was super intimidating on the phone. And how about Larry Beil? ALOHA MEANS GOODBYE! Classic shit!
One of the reasons I read Deadspin the moment I discovered it was that Will Leitch understood, innately, that the people covering the games were often more familiar to fans than the athletes playing in them were. Now the advent of social media, along with ESPN’s relentless drive to consolidate all of its programming around a single person, has helped to level that playing field (no pun intended) substantially. But journalists and announcers are still Guys you will absolutely remember. College football starts this weekend and you better believe that, somewhere along the way, I WILL remember when Mike Gottfried was the main color guy in the ESPN booth.
So it would be my honor to be enshrined among Guys. Sometimes I daydream about the Vikings inducting me into their Ring Of Honor because I’m their coolest fan outside of Nick Swardson. But I know that Guydom is my likely endgame. Been a pleasure.
Is there hope that someday we can just all hug it out and go back to being slightly nicer to people? My mom is a huge Trumper, but we have nice long phone calls where we actually can discuss politics without raging at each other, and I think we’ve both become better people because of it. Is there any hope that people will do this someday instead of just being angry online?
You’re presuming that those angry online interactions constitute the entirety of the average American’s personal exchanges over the course of any given day, and that’s just not true. I hate the “Twitter isn’t real life!” wing of punditry as much as anyone, but I also know that your online self is usually only a fraction of who you are in your day-to-day comings and goings. I’m not out at the grocery store screaming FUCK YOU! at every customer who trips up my MAGAdar. That would be weird. I’m polite. Mostly. I have bad moments I’m still working on. But in general, I comport myself like a grown-up when I’m dealing with people, even shitty ones.
That’s true of many Americans. We never did kick off Civil War II, and the most public attempt to do so made the Bay of Pigs looks like fucking D-Day. So I’ve never bought into the “We’re being too mean to each other!” discourse. That’s just some shit Joe Manchin says before he single-handedly kills a bill mandating clean water supplies. It’s all horseshit.
Also, Trump isn’t President anymore, and I can’t begin to tell you how much of a difference that’s made both in my psyche and in others’. He’s fucking gone. It’s great. I feel 20 percent nicer for that alone. In fact, a lot of the rancor online bores the shit out of me now. That’s hypocritical on my end, since my job is to CREATE online rancor. But I was on Twitter this morning and two of the main trending topics were Actually Catcher In The Rye Was Bad?! and Guys Who Like Fight Club Are Hella Problematic! Just the absolute oldest shit to argue about. They may as well have ranked sports movies while they were at it. It’s like if no one asked if a hot dog is a sandwich before. Every piddly-shit argument that could be made has been. Twitter is running on fumes and it’s evident to anyone who’s been on that app for as long as I have (since 2008 oh god). So yes, people will be nicer to each other and already are. It’s how you get through the day.
Pre-tipping: Why don’t we do it? I’m sitting at an airport bar/restaurant as I type this. I’ve ordered a couple beers and some food but I still feel pressure to kind of move along. Here’s the thing: I would happily leave a very generous tip (like 50%) if I could just chill and have a relatively relaxed dining experience just so that I wouldn’t have to be a part of the rat race that is airport travel. But of course my server doesn’t know that and I understand why she’s pushing me along. For all she knows I’m about to leave her a one-dollar tip and totally waste her time.
I’m not gonna wade into the tipping argument because it’s still a total clusterfuck. But I will tell you that it’s always awkward for me if I leave a tip and then linger at the table. As it stands now, a tip means that the server and I have finished our night together. Once that cash is sitting out there, they expect me to leave so that they can collect it and turn my table over.
So when I stay past that, even after leaving a nice tip, it’s weird. Can I ask them for a glass of water? Should they bring me a free cookie because I tipped 30 percent? I bet the really want me to get the fuck out. I ask myself all of that trivial bullshit. If we made it so that you could tip at ANY time during the meal (if you’re an Italian guy, this is already true), it’s only gonna amplify the weirdness. This is one of those instances where I’d like to see the system change but I also have NO idea what that change should look like. It’s like I’m a college student all over again.
What hyped-up media (movies, music, books) were you hesitant to dive into? You feel like you should partake in this big experience, but you’re not all that jazzed up about it. A recent example for me is Billie Eilish’s new “Happier Than Ever” album. It would feel like work and I’m not really all that eager to listen to it. Other examples are Loki and Wandavision.
I watched all of Loki. Do you know how grateful I was when I realized that the first season of that show was a mere six episodes? I was fucking ELATED. Michael Waldron gets me and values my precious time. Also, the show was good. Putting Owen Wilson in a Marvel show goes a long way to making it feel like it’s not a Marvel show.
In other instances, I’m usually hesitant to dive into things because I’m tired and I already know what I like. So I don’t play any of the big-time video games, which I know is a mistake because Red Dead Redemption is sitting right there waiting for me. But otherwise, I’ve gotten very good at judging pop culture quickly. I haven’t listened to that Billie Eilish album either, but I’ve heard enough of her stuff to know that I like Billie Eilish but that I’m not gonna go nuts for her. I watched WandaVision for five minutes and KNEW it was awful. I watched the first 10 minutes of Succession and knew I’d get aboard for good. So I’ll give shit a chance—a very small and possibly unfair one—but you gotta work hard to make me commit. This is my system now. I don’t apologize for it.
When we leave or return to the apartment, my toddler daughter and I race down the hallway to or from the elevator. What is the policy on letting her win? I don’t want to warp her expectations that she will/people will let her win every race but I don’t want to be a total jerk either. I’m a single dada so I don’t have somebody to tell me, “DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE SHE’S FUCKING THREE YEARS OLD.”
At three, you let them win. There’s no harm in pretending. Like, if my kids were still three wanted to play peek-a-boo, I wouldn’t say to one of them, “Well actually such a game is foolish, for I’m always here and you’re just a simpleton who lacks object permanence.” I’d play along. You get on your kid’s level and then they have fun.
There were definitely times when my kids were younger and I’d race against them or arm wrestle them and I’d show FLASHES of my full Dad Strength. Maybe I’d let them win one out of every 10 arm wrestling bouts, say. But then I’d assert myself and they’d know I was actually a god. All part of the game. They beat my ass in everything now anyway.
The other thing is that, at a certain point, I flat-out asked my kids if they wanted me to try my hardest. I even offered levels of Dad to play against: Easy, Medium, and Full. Once I started asking them, they usually opted for Full Dad. Kids don’t like to suck. They wanna get better.
But not at three. At three, they get to be delusional.
Email of the week!
James Corden is a father in my AYSO region. I am a referee and he is one of the few sideline spectators I have had to stop a game for to tell to pipe down. This was during a 10U game. For the uninitiated, 10U means players 8-9 years old. And he’s yelling. And demanding that he has every right to yell and that I can’t stop him. Do with this information what you will.
I’m gonna leave it right here is what I’m gonna do.