Writers Magazine: REALITY CHECK
+ Readers Letters
a sports team wins a title in the woods and nobody hears it, did
it really win it?
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.
Thats 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 thats 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 dont really seem to care
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 Murders 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 teams 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 isnt a toddlin
town or has a neat nickname or some historic figure to represent it?
Unless anyone considers the possibility that Jimmy Hoffas 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
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
What East Rutherford does have is the final games of two of this nations
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
© James Campion June 1 2003
James Campion on killing bears
MANDATE & OTHER SILLY CLAIMS
READERS LETTERS MAY 2003
Nice try on the war with "Victory Mamdate & Other Silly Claims"
(Issue 5/14), but the fact remains that since we went into Afghanistan
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?
"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
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
Anyhow, if you haven't checked the scorecard, the Yankees just
Diego State 89-0. (Earlier reports of San Diego Stated having almost
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
substantial part of my salary (no less than $16) on the team with
extensive baseball knowledge earned through years of experience and
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
hooker, but it's redeemable at any respectable check cashing
Try that with food stamps.
I am so happy over the success of your book, "Trailing Jesus".
believe we cut our teeth together at the NCN. Sure seems like a long
time ago, don't it????
Continued success, kid.
North County News
In regards to your column, "Bear Hunt Madness" (Issue: 5/21/03)
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
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
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
road (one less of the little buggers for me to hit with my car). But
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,
mind Smokey over there, he hasn't maimed anyone in 5 days or so. And
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
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
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".
Fuck bears. When does Columnist Hunting season start?
Hackwriters by James
all rights reserved