Monday Superlatives
November 09, 2020

COVID tried to ruin Notre Dame's epic upset, but Clemson losing is just too good

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Pool

No. 1 Clemson fell to no. 4 Notre Dame in double OT on Saturday for the team's first loss in what feels like 15 years. It was fantastic, a throwback to what we love about college football, and what are we talking about today? Well, judging by the front page of ESPN and the Great Twitter Morass, it's a story about Notre Dame fans rushing the field. Granted, they shouldn't have done that, but they're also college kids who witnessed something totally unexpected and, well, what are you going to do? Dumb choices like that are inevitable.

It's also inevitable that others will harp on it, since it's dangerous and violates a million protocols, and raises questions about whether fans should even be in the stands if they can't control themselves. If there was COVID among anyone in that crowd—and let's be honest, there was—it surely spread to others. Irish coach Brian Kelly even thought about it before the game, reminding his players to get the hell off the field fast if they won.

And what else can you say about this video except "yikes"?

The field charge, the reaction, the stories (to which I'm contributing)...it's all part of the cycle of human behavior which has become almost ritualistic at this point. All of which is to say, screw COVID for making us sick and kneecapping our entire planet, but also for routinely overshadowing our best sporting events. It ruined the World Series, it's throwing up asterisks everywhere, and now it sapped some of the joy I should have rightfully experienced while watching the huckster Dabo Swinney finally lose. Damn you, virus.

And yet, Clemson losing is sweet enough that it overcomes a certain amount of dirty COVIDRY. Let's watch the moment of victory again and again:

Ahhhh put it in my veins.

The TV Complaint of the Week: Networks Are Trying to Kill Soccer in America

Here's a boring experience I had on Sunday morning: around 11 a.m., I saw some chatter on Twitter about thet upcoming Liverpool-Man City EPL match. I am an extremely casual soccer fan, as you can probably tell by the fact that I used the word "fan" and didn't know they were playing until 20 minutes before kickoff, but I did make an effort last year to watch a few of Liverpool's matches and go a bit deeper into the sport. I even listened to soccer podcasts from Liverpool, and I couldn't understand a word they were saying. It was, intermittently, a fun experience, though COVID basically killed it. Soccer didn't fully "take," but I was on the path.

So when I saw the match-up fixture, I thought, "yes, I'll watch that." I looked up the standings table to see how each team had done so far, and I even watched a preview show. Then 11:30 came, and it wasn't on any of the usual channels. Turns out, the network decided to put that particular match on a paid streaming platform. I'm sure if you're a diehard, you'd pay the monthly fee, but a casual fan like me isn't about to fork over the cash. Instead, I opted for the wild west of streaming sites, and lasted about ten minutes before the incessant pop-ups became too much. The result? No soccer for me. As of this writing, I have no idea who won.

Something similar happened a few weeks ago when I tried to watch a Champions League match that was interesting. In the case, the paid streaming service from a different network offered a free trial, so I managed to watch that one, but the trial is over and I'll definitely never pay for that either, which means I won't have the opportunity to care much about Champions League either.

I'm just one person, and maybe I'm not representative of the broader population. But I think that I probably am, at least to some degree. Putting the biggest matches behind a paywall might provide some immediate cash flow, but for casual fans like me who have the definite potential to become something more, it has a chilling effect. It's a barrier to access for the less-than-gung-ho. I'm all for premium content offered at a monthly fee, but if you're serious about growing a fan base, the biggest matches should never be inaccessible for anyone with a cable subscription. Otherwise, the faint of heart will just opt out.

Obligatory Tennis Gushing of the Week: Daniil Medvedev

Remember when I told you Daniiel Medvedev was the future of men's tennis (okay, fine, the language I used was calling him "your new god"), and he responded to my faith by flaming out of the U.S. Open semis? Well, the dude is back, and he just beat Alexander Zverev—a man not having the best month—in the finals of the Paris Masters. Marvel at the defense:

TennisTV put up a great highlights video here, and I recommend it just to be astounded at the way he executes his slappy forehand, which anyone else on the planet would hit at about a 25% accuracy rate if they attempted it. I was wrong about Medvedev in New York, but I'll be right in the future.

The "Don't Watch This if You Don't Want to Cry" Video of the Week: Alex Trebek

Time for something a bit sad, but also redeeming. On Sunday, we lost Alex Trebek, one of the icons of American television and a hero to everyone who has ever watched and enjoyed Jeopardy! The tributes will be rightfully numerous over the coming week, and while I don't have anything too meaningful to add, I thought this video was perfect in its simple testament to the breadth of his impact. Bring tissues:

And what the hell, if that didn't get you, watch this one too:

RIP to the greatest ever.