Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008...12:02 am

TitleTown USA IS the Wackness

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The moment my toddler brain was actually developed enough to comprehend Sports (thanks in part to a few Boo Harvey buzzer beaters) Sportscenter replaced Sesame Street and Thundercats on my television set. Twenty years later, I’ve yet to change the channel. I even remember exactly where I was and who I was with (Colby, brett and my sis) the night Sportscenter graphics turned into the trippy turbine crunching, spherical encompassing grooviness that seems more appropriate for an Ibiza rave. These days, I watch Sportscenter every night like a stay at home mom hopped up on Zoloft watches As The World Turns each afternoon. I never in my life fathomed watching Seinfeld repeats because those always aired at the same time as the 11pm version. Speaking of repeats, I’ll watch virtually the same show at 11 and 2am and then wake up to the replay in the morning. I would rather watch Sportscenter for the third time than listen to the annoyingness that is “Mike and Mike” on ESPN. When I go on vacation, the first thing I check in the hotel is if they have ESPN. A vacation without Sportcenter just isn’t a real vacation.

All this Sportscenter watching often puts me into a slight trance. Heck, it took me four years to start paying attention to Sportcenter’s NASCAR coverage but now that I do I’m addicted (what up Mike Massaro). So I admit, I’m not always the most attentive Sportscenter watcher as I often daydream to the da-da-dah, da-da-dah…

So for weeks the Titletown USA segments had been harmlessly airing to my ignorant bliss. Unfortunately for me, my lack of critical analysis was recently and rudely interrupted. During some downtime in Vegas a few weeks ago I was hanging with Bersin in our hotel room when he commented on how stupid the whole Titletown thing really was. Immediately, like a Kyle Farnsworth 1-2-3 inning, I was shocked into amazement. TitletownUSA IS the wackness!

I don’t want to get too into describing all the reasons why it sucks. I’m not even sure exactly how it works or what the point of it is. If you’re a regular Sportscenter watcher I’m sure you’ve had the same painful brain cramp each time some cheesy random chick starts blabbing away on a makeshift set with fans cheering in the background (is that real? What are they cheering for?). That’s even before the montage starts which ends up being more like a bizzaro sports-infused wikipedia entry on the town than anything at all inspiring or exciting. Basically, the whole thing blows. I would rather watch a four minute highlight of Around The Horn then have to suffer through the Titletown cheseball fest.

The other day I watched in amazement as Valdosta, Georgia was nominated for Titletown. It’s the 11th largest city in Georgia and the hometown of the composer of Jingle Bells! I texted Bersin and I think that is when he hit his tipping point as he couldn’t believe my text was serious until he saw it a few hours later on the left coast. If that wasn’t bad enough, at this very instant I’m watching a Titletown feature on Parkersburg, West Virginia. Holy Moly. I almost expect to see Great Neck featured tomorrow night with a segment applauding Little Teheran for having the most summer camp color war victories and the most impressive parking lot in high school automotive history. Perhaps Mike Massaro can do the segment from the sushi bar at Daruma.

To be honest, I’m not sure what the heck Sportscenter has been up to with these corny ass specials over the last few years. “Who’s Now” was as arbitrary and ridiculous as the scoring system used in Around the Horn. “50 States in 50 Days” must have been the precursor to TitleTown USA. These things make the Budweiser Hot Seat seem as fascinating as Inside The Actor’s Studio. Whatever happened to the days of Sports Century and captivating, mind-bending features like the one on Rainbow Man.

I’m sure I’m not alone in lamenting the absurdity of Titletown and the downfall of Sportscenter. In fact, the blogs are killing it here and here. If you ask me what the turning point was I’ll go with the meteoric rise of Stuart Scott and his wonky eye. I should have been more weary of a talking head yapping about “Wu-Tang Clan on steriods” and “cooler than the other side of the pillow”. Oh how I yearn for Dick Trickle results, Jumanji and en fuego!

  • Ben Malone

    This Titletown B.S. is simply Sportscenter’s way of saying that baseball, golf, NASCAR and the WNBA are not enough to fill an hour (who am I kidding … more like 8 hours) of programming a night. So they come up with these contrived features to try to keep sports fans’ attention during the time of year when college football and basketball, the NFL, NBA and NHL are all on hiatus. You notice how this never happens during one of their seasons?

    By the way – just waiting for C-bad to added to the nominess. Cardiff Bowl and lunchtime basketball rules!

  • sandrar

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