21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine: REALITY CHECK

James Campion
+ Readers Letters

If a sports team wins a title in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really win it?

For perhaps the first and last time in the history of forever East Rutherford, New Jersey is the center of the professional sports world. At least it is for two of the big four, basketball and hockey.

Currently, the New Jersey Nets wait around for the deans of fourth quarter collapse, the San Antonio Spurs to dismiss what is left of the Dallas Mavericks, while the New Jersey Devils supply a healthy dose of their own reality check to the Mighty Ducks from Anaheim.
That’s right, East Rutherford, a factory town in Bergen County of a little over nine thousand residents is now Title Town USA.

Admittedly East Rutherford is no New York City or even Green Bay or no one will mistake the Nets or the Devils place of residence, the Continental Airlines Arena, as the Great Western Forum, Yankee Stadium or even the hallowed grounds of South Bend. There is no mass transit that connects it to a big town or any cultural distractions that pepper its landscape.
Maybe that’s why despite having the best teams in their respective sports for two years no one in the local media pays much attention nor do fans of other teams care enough to root against them. In fact, if attendance numbers at the Meadowlands this season were any indication, a good number of Devils and Nets fans don’t really seem to care either.

The Devils, although not as successful as the Eastern Conference Champion Nets a season ago, are now three wins away from their third Stanley Cup championship run in the past decade. And this is after a season of listening to hockey people tell you the Detroit Red Wings were the greatest thing since Murder’s Row.
The Devils scored three goals in a Game One victory last night against a team that managed to give up one lousy goal in a four game white-washing of the conference finals, and on the back page of every New York paper this morning are photos of NY Yankees. The Yankees have over 110 games to go before seeing a first round post-season game.

And as for the Nets, who have won a ridiculous 10 consecutive post-season contests, the team’s attendance for a sport that is arguably the most popular in the land is horribly low. So much so that the only story that persisted throughout the year around here was whether the Nets star point guard, Jason Kidd would bolt for someplace where people could actually see his nightly All-Star performances.

Why, I am suddenly guilty of taking some of the glory away by beleaguering the same tired points about East Rutherford and New Jersey being secondary outposts of tri-state sports enthusiasts.
But really, who cares if East Rutherford isn’t a toddlin’ town or has a neat nickname or some historic figure to represent it? Unless anyone considers the possibility that Jimmy Hoffa’s remains may have been scattered below Giants Stadium, along with a host of other unnamed early 20th century criminals of note. Does that diminish the accomplishment?
If a sports team wins a title in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really win it?

This is a fine Zen riddle, but hardly a truism. Granted, this has now become a culture where apparently nothing matters unless someone gets a weepy documentary on VH1 to commemorate it.
But that is the talk of the big city egoist. East Rutherford does not boast such an animal. It does not have a grand history or a personality, or certainly any ditties written for it. And for that matter, neither does Jersey.
What East Rutherford does have is the final games of two of this nation’s most covered sports.
And soon after these historic weeks are through those teams and their respective sports will go to Newark and East Rutherford will be left with factories and those nine thousand souls.
And the Giants and the Jets. You know, the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

© James Campion June 1 2003

Bear Hunt Madness
James Campion on killing bears

Homeland Security Shuffle
James Campion



Nice try on the war with "Victory Mamdate & Other Silly Claims" (Issue 5/14), but the fact remains that since we went into Afghanistan and Iraq we haven't had any buildings collapse via a hijacked aircraft, have we? Also, Israel, while an easy target is not going to be the primary beneficiary of a Saddam-free Iraq. That goodie bag will belong to Iran whose people are just looking for something, dare I say, anything to give them hope of a successful overthrow of the government there. As for the economy, it is clearly in recovery. Not quite as nice as the mid to late 90's, but as we found out beginning in 3rd qtr '00, the Commerce Dep't had "cooked the books" making the economy out to be stronger than it really was. Also, if tax cuts are so bad and so detrimental to our well being, why aren't the democrats out there supporting massive tax increases? I will tell you why, because tax cuts work every time they are tried and they know it. This is just politics to prevent Bush from doing anything that will put the economy into high gear.
Another thing, tell me one government that has taxed itself into prosperity. If things keep going in this direction, the question won't be will Bush win reelection. The question will be will he win all 50 states and break Reagan's record of 49 states? See Ya,
Bill Roberts

"Victory Mandate" was as enlightening as a solar powered flashlight (There's your fucking alternative energy source) Didn't you take a cue from what happened to the Dixie Chunks? I have a job, and still some unemployment checks are larger than mine.
Dammit, I would love to be laid off from work. Then I could sit home and write political commentary all day. Why don't you use your connections in the Bronx to get me a job as Yankee batboy? You know what a David Wells game-used glove is pulling down on eBay? They never have, and never will play baseball in Iraq. But a farm system has been established over there, and the U.S. economy is an aging roster of overpaid has-beens not seen since the, uh, er...the '03 Mets. Anyhow, if you haven't checked the scorecard, the Yankees just drubbed San Diego State 89-0. (Earlier reports of San Diego Stated having almost scored a run have been discredited by a particularly vicious rant on "Savage Nation”) And the rest of the baseball world in nervous. I'm laying a substantial part of my salary (no less than $16) on the team with extensive baseball knowledge earned through years of experience and no family affiliations.
Better watch out. Readers are fickle, and crazy talk like that which appears in this space will dim your brightly burning star.
PS - A $300 government check will not only buy you an eight ball and a cheap hooker, but it's redeemable at any respectable check cashing establishment.
Try that with food stamps.

I am so happy over the success of your book, "Trailing Jesus". I can't believe we cut our teeth together at the NCN. Sure seems like a long time ago, don't it???? Continued success, kid. In sport, Ray Gallagher
Sports Editor
North County News

In regards to your column, "Bear Hunt Madness" (Issue: 5/21/03) I too am a pacifist at heart, although on the very rare occasion a deep rage of Incredible Hulkian proportions can erupt and consume all in my path. Figuratively. As far as hunters are concerned, my contempt for them and their weekend warrior bullshit bravado is offset by the knowledge that they invariably take it upon themselves to do the bears' work for them. Every year, countless stories of shooting accidents and mishaps in the woods (usually booze-related) are reported. Lives are lost or ruined because these "outdoorsmen" need to fuel their egos with the thrill of "the kill." As an old Catskill-region guy, I know firsthand the dangers of stray bullets in my backyard. Ultimately, to hunt is to put yourself at risk, from the most-deadly creature that exists: man.

You are so right.

Okay PETA folks it's time for you to step up and do something positive.
I don't like these pests any more than the people who kill them, nothing pleases me more than seeing deer or goose carcass on the side of the road (one less of the little buggers for me to hit with my car). But a part of me feels bad that a life has passed, and I don't like to pass on bad Karmic ill-will. So here goes my win-win suggestion: Anybody who has any problem with the current animal control action takes immediate delivery of one of these furry (or feathered) poop machines. The animal is in their full care and custody at all times. Manhattan PETA members are NOT exempt from this program: "Hi Petra, oh don't mind Smokey over there, he hasn't maimed anyone in 5 days or so. And he has started smelling better since we put him on soy milk and babaghanouj. I wouldn't stick my leg out too close to him though." Any bear, deer or other pest not found safely in the animal-lovers' care is dealt with in whatever manner New Jersey feels appropriate.
If these well-meaning souls are so concerned about the fates of these disease-carrying rodents, they need to take responsibility for dealing with the "victims." I would be more than happy to have my tax subsidies go to food or diapers for these mangy castaways. How will Rover or Fluffy deal with their pestilent and smelly new "brother" or "sister"? Hey no one said being an animal lover was easy.
As for me, I'm putting crash bars on my Taurus and honking randomly on the back roads of "Pennsy/Jersey". Slater

Fuck bears. When does Columnist Hunting season start?

Previously on Hackwriters by James Campion

ISRAEL - Blinded by the light?

Elton Brand

Feedback to James Campion articles

Battleline America
ABC News
Dick Cheyney

Parenting in a predatory world
Blamegame - The FB! knew
More Feedback from Readers May02
God On my Left

Reader's Feedback3
September 02
'Going back to the USSR'

Standoff in Washington
All Together Now - Recession

'You know what the Axis of Evil is?
Money. Money. Money.'


© Hackwriters 2000-2003 all rights reserved