Reality Bites

Feb 162003
Authors: Reed Saunders

Necessity is the mother of invention.

When this Siberia known as February comes most every year, we need things to fill the void.

When nothing else was drawing viewers, TV networks brought in reality TV shows.

When no sports were around to entertain, people started making up new ones, like Arena Football, Slamball and something called soccer.

But since the synthesis of sports and television is already so intertwined, would not the best way to entrance viewers be some hybrid of the two?

With the finale of “Joe Millionaire” on tonight and “The Bachelorette” choosing her beau-to-be this Wednesday, the muse of reality television has officially snuck into my sports-oriented world:

– A squad of middle-of-the-road white guys run a textbook offense. Big into fundamentals – backdoor cuts, thumbs out on the chest pass, shorts around the ribcage – they’re basketball purists who average roughly 40 points a game. They don’t get to many balls, but they run after them all. Surely they have no chance against a bigger and taller gang of dudes in black and green. Wrong!

On Saturday, Air Force makes 13 of 15 first half shots (11 of which are

layups) and makes the bigger but slower Rams look more like a band of hired ninjas. The popular movie comes to the small screen in, “Air Force men’s basketball: The Revenge of the Nerds.”

– This is the story of three strangers, picked to live in a house and have their lives taped, to see what happens when people don’t need a team and start living for the day.

Mountain West Conference women’s basketball castaways LaToya

Howell of Air Force, Jennifer Leitner of BYU and Elizabeth English of CSU, all booted from their respective teams, seek solace from one another while trying to avoid flying silverware and work at Laramie’s first fish taco restaurant.

Will the girls be able to stay sane with only one bathroom? Who will break curfew first? Will each girl be able to find enough shots … of their favorite drink? Find out if the boredom of Mountain West exile in a three-bedroom Wyoming apartment will be enough to make these girls realize just how sweet the single life can be on, “The Real World: Laramie.”

– The BYU Cougars have come to Fort Collins not expecting much from Joy Jenkins. After all, everyone knows she’s not an outstanding scorer, doesn’t see much time in clutch situations and would much rather sit on the bench.

But thousands were in attendance on Saturday when the lie was exposed. Joy is actually a free-wheeling, jump-shot-hitting, clutch scorer with a knack for making big plays, be it a three-pointer or a blocked shot. Should have seen the look on the Cougars’ faces when they got their first glimpse of the premiere of, “Joy Millionaire.”

– Coaches and players love them, but they’re kryptonite to reporters: the cliche. Chris Denker, Dale Layer and others play to win and try to step up to bring the reporting world to a virtual stand-still. Will “They made big plays when they had to” be enough to bring down the Collegian sports section? Is “When you play well, good things happen” enough to force a normally humerous writer into a lame-ass TV column? Find out on Fox’s all-new “Man vs. Cliche,” featuring the new Smashmouth video, “One game at a time.”

That, my friends, is a TV lineup I’d like to see.

For the record, I hope Joe picks the chick who made those bondage flicks, Trista picks Charlie (who made no bondage flicks), and I made it through this column with some shred of credibility remaining.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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