Sports radio listeners expose themselves to a product that produces the unsteady mix of laughter, nausea, and self-psychological harm with the latter two as the most behaviorally-consistent reactions. Fortunately, the head-pounding field has taken up the lion’s share of my twenty-five years as a radio listener. I’ve endured a lot in my listens besides an encyclopedic memory of radio ads for the gentlemen’s clubs of Chicago. From the experience, certain treatments and coping mechanisms emerged to alleviate the annoyance of hearing (insert name of caller) from (insert name of neighborhood or suburb).
What follows are some remedies to treat the unavoidable:
The person calling from a certain area is always the absolute, no-doubt, worst representative of the area they claim to be calling from: You know the moment you hear, “Next up, Glenn, in Brookfield.” You cringe because you’re from Brookfield and you don’t want to be linked with some townie whose half-baked evaluation of last night’s game somehow correlates with your intelligence because you both bought Slurpees from the same 7-11. You’re afraid that your friends from, um, more, put-together suburbs are going to ridicule the town from whence you came and in turn, you. Fear not. The longer sports talk radio is on the air, the less credibility their callers receive. Think of them as the family at little league games who get into shouting matches with each other, only to fling their Bic’s at an umpire if he blew a double-play call.
Change the channel during parody songs or gimmick segments: Avoidance might seem to be a cop-out when it comes to such issues, but explain a way to listen to any sports-talk parody song without wishing to detonate the radio. Don’t attempt to detonate the radio, not yet. Change the channel. Plus, in the most non-humble of humble-brags, I will no longer listen to parody songs after I wrote one for my friend’s great-grandmother in Theology Class. The song was based off of “Only the Good Die Young” and the line “You had a nice white dress at the Emancipation Proclamation,” ranks supreme over anything else ever done in sports radio. All other parody efforts are secondary.
Avoidance is also best followed during gimmicky segments. The ones with rhyme-time and big-sound drops to announce the hokey bullshit you’ll be forced to endure when you prognosticate football games. Be careful though, the more chancy, more outlandish your picks become, the more willing the hosts will label you a “Riverboat Gambler,” “Ace,” or “Big Money.” All of which will be followed by the sound of a cash register opening and closing.
Reject all trades: Don’t even think to savor the idea. It will suck. Stay far away from the imaginary trades about players being swapped to attain imaginary results and win imaginary championships. It is a guarantee I feel safe in making that a trade has never ever, not once, been correctly predicted without reports fluttering around first.
Only listen to shows during the workday: It’s a horribly-kept secret that restaurants and bars bring out their A-Plus staff on weekends and leave the minions to Monday and Tuesday. Picture sports radio that way: The Grade-A performers all have airtime from the morning drive until six. At that point, run. Stay away from sports talk, catch up on your oldies, see if Terry Gross has anything new to say, but don’t listen to the “End-Zone” or “Jungle,” or “Trenches,” or any other zippy name to symbolize an energetic, hard-hitting sports talk radio show after dark.
Raise the volume when someone prefaces an athlete’s last name with “this” and follows their last name with “guy”: These fellows are the treats of the radio show, real-life gems. You’ll love their insight on everything from life to politics, religion, and facial hair. They are the national treasures, the next “Greatest Generation,” to come through the revolving door. Enjoy the hell out of their opinion, don’t respect it, but enjoy it. You need not worry of being swayed by it. Wish one of the gentlemen were related to you because he’ll reference a part of his body, offend a race, and question the sexuality of three professional athletes, all in one long-winded, run-on sentence, not unlike this one.
The following were only remedies if your anxiety and annoyance are in their infant stages. For more serious cases please seek more aggressive treatment, like lighting your radio on fire and tossing it into a pit of despair.