The joke's on us - The Explorer: Sports

The joke's on us

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Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

On fourth down, crouched in shotgun formation, most every pint-sized sandlot quarterback shapeshifts into Peyton Manning or Brett Favre for a minute. It’s a rite of passage.

Some of us made the same transformation during lunchtime — only with our comedy routines. Right around fifth or sixth grade, I’d morph into various stand-ups, like George Carlin, for kicks.

Sure, it’s plagiarism. But I didn’t know. So it doesn’t count.

My initial debt pays out to a babysitter’s boyfriend, who sauntered from the bushes after my parents’ car sped away one evening, probably in anticipation of Blue Oyster Cult’s summer resurrection.

The amorous acne casualty stubbed out a cigarette, jammed the cable converter between channels and Poof! We had HBO. I got my first taste of some skinny uncle-type working Carnegie Hall with a rubber face and vocabulary to boil aluminum.

Young minds are ductile as gold. When that first shot of Carlin radiated across my sixth-grade enclave, it morphed recess like nothing would until Michael Jordan hit the scene, fervently spurring us to nail jumpers, tongues extended.

For schoolyard comics, reciting Carlin’s shtick far from administrative earshot marked a sacrament roughly equal to passing the cinnamon schnapps while walking to high school football games.

Both were just enough to warm your tongue in November.

Monday night, I e-mailed The Girlfriend’s Dad with gratitude for the Carlin tickets he gave me as a birthday present a few years back. He replied with the Seven Dirty Words, and nothing else.

Strangely, none of them included “Sun,” “Devil,” or “Stoops.” Then I wondered how long he waited for a chance to level such a salvo at me.

Buzzkills pack more stopping power than curse words. I’ll never forget Carlin’s 2005 Centennial Hall show, when the spry-and-freshly-rehabbed comic riffed on the housing market’s impending crash — muffled murmurs rising from the affluent audience.

Such “I-was-right” gallows joy — the sort to wallpaper the Star’s online comments whenever the Wildcats drop a close game — marked the endpoint of Carlin’s trajectory.

It’s a little early for me to suit up in that jersey. But that’s all right. Carlin would’ve shredded this column anyway — and I’d have stolen HBO to laugh along.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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