Honouring Festivus: Airing of sports grievances

Festivus is upon us and in honour of this great tradition, we at Sportsnet have decided to air out the many sports grievances that must be brought up (New York Daily News/Getty)

“A Festivus for the rest of us.”

In case you’re unaware of the popular fictional holiday from the television show Seinfeld (or were born under a rock), Dec. 23 marks the anniversary of Festivus.

Festivus, which was created by Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) has some quirky elements to it. Instead of a tree, an aluminum pole is erected. You can learn more about the holiday below:

According to Mr. Costanza, the Festivus tradition begins with the airing of grievances, so in honour of the holiday we polled several people around the Sportsnet offices to come up with our version from the sports world.

Here is the first annual Sportsnet Airing of Sports Grievances.

“I got a lot of problems with you people and now you’re going to hear about it.”

Fans who leave games early to beat traffic

This is a big no-no — the ultimate sports party foul. If you’re going to attend a sports game, stay for the whole thing. It looks bad on you and even worse on the team’s fan base. And sometimes fans end up missing crazy comebacks and exciting plays when they’re too busy worrying about the commute home. That’s not what sports should be about. Leaving early is almost as bad as those who wear jerseys with their own names on them. C’mon, show some respect.

NHL hearings

When did this become a prominent topic? Yes, suspensions should be and are big deals but why do we have to hear about every single player that gets assigned a hearing? This is overdone and frankly quite annoying. Nasty hits happen in hockey. We don’t need them overanalyzed every second of the day.

Inconsistency of NFL officiating

This was the one of the most common complaints amongst the Sportsnet newsroom. The officiating in the NFL has gotten way out of whack this season. First off, can the NFL or the refs please determine what constitutes a catch? The rulings have been ridiculously erratic and something needs to change here. Too many times, we’ve been left dumbfounded by strange explanations and poor rulings by referees. Pass interference may be a bigger issue. No one in the league can seem to figure out how to call this properly and it’s having too big of an effect on the games. All of these mistakes are hurting the credibility of the game. Didn’t the NFL get rid of the replacement refs for a reason?

Extremely long MLB playoff games

Sitting through a three-hour baseball game is difficult enough for some, but what has become exceedingly difficult are the games that exceed four-plus hours — especially in the postseason. We can mostly blame the Boston Red Sox for this.

The term “compete level” in hockey

Back in the day we simply used to call this effort.

UFC Weigh-ins

No offence to Showdown Joe and the wonderful number of MMA contributors to our website but I can’t for the life of me understand anyone who wants to watch two shirtless men getting on a scale. Even the women we polled agree with this! And this is coming from someone who grew up idolizing the WWE. People really need better things to do with their free time.

NHL stat wars

Mark Spector touched on this perfectly here. It’s great that some have found a new innovative way to analyze the game. But what’s troubling is the ongoing war between bloggers and “mainstream media” about these numbers. The analytics certainly add value but they shouldn’t be the be-all-end-all of hockey analysis — or analysis. Get a grip and stop the lame fighting.

Twitter trolls

This leads to my next point. Worse than the Twitter wars are the insecure, immature, attention-seeking keyboard warriors typing everything just short of, ‘hey, look at me,’ 140 characters at a time. Please, stop. No one around our office or any office in the industry has any time or respect for this type of behavior.

The annual tanking debate in sports (mostly basketball)

Every year this overdone debate comes up and it’s becoming quite frustrating. It’s a reality, whether you like it or not, that some teams in sports are willing to tank. Is it moral? Probably not. Is it smart? It can be. But do we really need to revisit the same tanking questions over and over? It exists and it’s time to just accept it. Ask the 2001-02 Cleveland Cavaliers or the 2011 Indianapolis Colts. Enough with the moralistic debate — even the word tanking has become annoying.

Rafael Nadal’s shorts

Nadal is a very accomplished tennis player but he can’t seem to find shorts that actually fit him. The guy is constantly yanking at them, adding to the time between points he’s often penalized for, frustrating all of us. Why can’t he find shorts that fit?! Wouldn’t Nike make him his own custom shorts?! But, well, at least he’s got a sense of humour about it.

Fantasy sports

Fantasy sports can be great. I myself play fantasy football, fantasy hockey and fantasy baseball. But there are certainly elements of fantasy sports that can really grind my gears. For example, nothing is more annoying than when fans root against their own teams to cheer for their fantasy players (or when then fantasy owners openly discuss their fantasy teams and dilemmas aloud — but that’s another story). This is an extremely flawed practice and going against everything we were taught about sports. Your team (not your fantasy team) should always be the No. 1 priority.

That’s it for this year. You can join in on the conversation and send out your sports grievances to Sportsnet on Twitter or on Facebook and we’ll retweet the best answers. It will be a Festivus miracle.

“Until you pin me George, Festivus is not over.”

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