I'm a fan. My wife's a fan. My kid? Yup. She's a fan too. We go to games, we watch on TV — heck we even listen to sports radio (well, I do. And the kid does by proxy when she's with me. Amy's not such a big fan). I grew up playing, watching, and loving sports and my kid is well on her way to doing the same.
But for all of the progress we've seen in the sports world — jock radio hosts speaking openly about autism and massive campaigns against casual homophobia to name just two examples — some toxicity lingers, particularly in the all-important realm of trash talk and chirping. In particular, causal sexism and homophobia feature prominently.
And while I could take the passive route, wagging my finger and tsk-tsk-tsking, I prefer proactive solutions. After all, I don't think people who use terms like "faggot" or "pussy" are necessarily intending to be offensive. Ignorance and "it's just something we say" are far more likely to blame than deep-seeded sexism or homophobia.
So instead of scolding, I'm going to offer alternatives. Want to demean an opposing player? Don't use gender or sexuality as a pejorative, use this handy guide instead!
Probably unnecessary warning: There's some salty language ahead. But I assure you, the cusses are for illustrative or ironic purposes only.
Common chirp: "What a pussy!"
What it's usually supposed to mean: "That person exhibits cowardice and seems to lack fortitude"
Why it's offensive: Pussy is a common slang term for a woman's vagina. Thus using the term to suggest weakness, cowardice or a lack of fortitude implies that such traits are somehow inherently female. Which is bullshit.
Simple alternative: "What a chicken!" (I'm not sure why chickens get the short shrift in common parlance, actually)
Creative alternative: "What a chinchilla!" (Chinchillas are notoriously timid. Also it's fun to say chinchilla).
Common chirp: "Fuck you, faggot!"
What it's usually supposed to mean: "Fuck you, random word I consider to be insulting"
Why it's offensive: Faggot is a pejorative term for homosexuals. You probably already knew that.
Simple alternative: "Fuck you!" (Beauty can be found in brevity, folks)
Creative alternative: "Fuck you, milk that goes sour before its stated date of expiration!" (Prematurely sour milk is universally disdained and with good reason. Ain't nobody gonna defend that)
Common chirp: "Sidney Crosby? More like CINDY Crosby, amiright?" (or any other substitution of a traditionally-female name for a man)
What it's usually supposed to mean: "HA HA GIRLS ARE BAD AT SPORTS"
Why it's offensive: Girls are good at sports. Well, the ones that are good at sports are. They're like men that way.
Simple alternative: <Silence>
Creative alternative: "I'm a jackass neanderthal!"
Common chirp: "Cocksucker!"
What it's usually supposed to mean: "That man enjoys the company of other men and is thus bad at sports."
Why it's offensive: One's preferred method of pleasuring one's lover has no bearing on their athletic prowess. And using a homosexual act as a pejorative is insulting to homosexuals.
Simple alternative: I dunno, maybe not calling someone a cocksucker?
Creative alternative: "Flan!" (Flan is an open pastry or sponge cake containing a sweet or savoury filling. So it's probably bad at sports)
What other sexist and homophobic trash talk needs to be wiped out of our locker rooms? Let me know in the comments!
BONUS DOWNLOADABLE: Print out the cheat sheet below and slip it into your wallet or backpack and never be without a progressive sporting put down again!
Did you enjoy this look at non-neanderthal sport fandom? You might also enjoy "Two Men Are Kissing On ESPN! What Do I Tell My Kids?" or "Play Like a Girl? Don't Mind If I Do"
It wasn't a conversation I was particularly prepared for.
I mean, sure, I knew she'd want to talk about periods eventually... but three months shy of her fifth birthday? I guess I just assumed I had more time. And sure enough, as luck would have it, she brought the subject up when her mom was out of the house, leaving me to tackle it myself.
"Did you know that when you make a sentence you have to put a period at the end? It's a little dot that's like a stop sign for your sentence, Daddy."
<Cue the proud poppa tears>
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my daughter is learning about sentence structure. And I couldn't be more excited. After all, I've written before about the importance of storytelling in our lives; ditto the importance of words. My daughter is the latest in a very long line of storytellers and writers and while learning what a period does isn't the be-all, end-all of writing, the look of pride on her face when she explained their purpose to me suggests she's starting to understand the magical power of prose.
One more of life's little milestones passed; one more checkbox checked.
Rock on, little storyteller. Rock on.
Friends. Colleagues. Readers of YMC.
In this age of internet hyperbole and algorithmically-driven clickbaitery, I know it is trite to the point of cliche to call anything "the best" anything. Every other headline in our feed reader of choice promises "the best" or "the only" or "the greatest" something or other.
So rest assured, dear reader, when I call this THE BEST breakfast sandwich you'll ever eat I know all too well the skepticism you feel.
"Yawn," you might be yawning. "There goes that Naked Dad again, begging us to click with yet another pathetically-baiting headline. What's the matter, Boughner, 'Why a doctor of optometry made my daughter cry' losing its effectiveness? People stop falling for 'I'm a 34-year-old married man sleeping with a student?'"
You are smart, YMC hivemind. I'll give you that.
But I promise you, friends. What I'm about to tell you will change the way you think about breakfast in a manner so revolutionary that the Quaker Oat Man himself couldn't imagine it. Because, friends, I'm about to introduce you to:
To indulge in this hedonistic delight you'll need the following:
Ingredients (per sandwich)
2 slices of bread
2 slices of processed cheddar cheese
Butter or margarine
Bacon (optional but recommended. Because bacon.)
Put on a pot of coffee. This isn't really a step but it's important to have coffee with your breakfast.
If you're including bacon (and you should be), you'll want to cook that first using the method of your choosing. We're big proponents of oven-cooked bacon in our house. You'll notice here I didn't say how much bacon to cook. Really, for the sandwich, you'll only need two or three strips. But remember, there's no such thing as surplus bacon, it's just bacon you haven't eaten yet.
Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Melt some butter or margarine (a teaspoon or two) in the pan.
Butter your bread slices in the traditional way. Then cut a circle into the middle of each slice of bread (an inch or two in diameter). Dispose of the circles by eating them. Or giving them to your kid to eat. Or composting them, I suppose, though that seems like a waste of two perfectly good bread pucks. Regardless, you won't be using the circles in this recipe.
Carefully lay your bread slices in the hot, buttered pan. Crack an egg into each hole. Let the egg cook for 1-2 minutes then very carefully flip the bread over to cook the other side.
NOTE: The more observant of you will notice that, to this point, all you've done is make "eggs in a basket" or "toad in the hole." At this point, you could simply stop, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the cooked egg and enjoy yourself a tasty and timeless childhood breakfast staple.
But doing so would rob you of the unmatched joy of biting into the Best Breakfast Sandwich You'll Ever Eat. Or worse, depriving your loved ones of same. Can you live with that on your conscious? Are you so impatient that you'd deny your family - your own flesh and blood — the purest most intense breakfast joy they'll ever know?
I thought not.
Once your eggs have reached your preferred degree of doneness (as a "hard" egg fan — over hard, poached hard, hard boiled — I tend to go longer than most but if you like the idea of a dripping yolk in your hands, feel free), lay a slice of cheese on each slice of bread. Let them sit in the pan for 20-30 seconds so they start to melt just a bit.
Remove one slice of bread from the pan and put it on a plate. Add your bacon* and remove the other slice of bread from the pan, carefully flipping it over and placing it on the top of your sandwich.
* As discussed, this really is better with bacon. I've also used pulled pork with great success. I suppose peameal bacon or sausage patties would also be good. This isn't just the Best Breakfast Sandwich You'll Ever Eat, it's also the most versatile!
Pause for a moment of quiet contemplation. Enjoy the moment. Savour the perfection. Then leave a comment below thanking me for introducing you to this breakfast nirvana.
Want more bacon-laden bites of breakfast bounty? Try these awesome breakfast muffins or these grab-n-go cheddar, bacon and chive biscuits.
Eggs in a basket photo by Scott D. Feldstein
Cheese photo by Steve Spring