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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

SCHMIDT: The stars aren’t aligned

Here’s a pop quiz for everyone trapped in their apartments by 20 inches of snow like helpless Eskimos.

If you took the world’s greatest athletes, split them into two teams and threw them on the same floor together for a one-night only scrimmage, would it be:

A.) A divine experience on par with seeing Halle Berry in “Swordfish” for the first time.

B.) Utterly and unequivocally the most entertaining thing in sports history.

C.) A highlight-fiesta with more slam dunks, stiff-arms, triple-dekes and towering dingers than is medically safe for a human brain.

Or how about D.) A completely pointless act of futility.

If you answered “D,” congrats you win a full eight-dog bsled and a pair of galoshes. If not, don’t worry, you’re just another naïve fan who continues to get victimized by the soulless entity known as the All-Star Game.

On paper the All-Star Game formula sounds fool-proof: putting a collection of genetic freaks into a fast, fun and free environment where they can let it all hang out should be a recipe for success.

But there’s a catch-22. A bunch of millionaire superstars playing hard in an environment that is fast, fun and free is apparently an impossibility. Too much money on the line to get injured in a game that’s strictly for entertainment purposes. Insurance for a Ferrari is too expensive to tear an ACL playing for the fans.

So instead of watching the single greatest show on the planet, we get what happened last Sunday when the NFL Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game were on: a waste of everyone’s time.

Let me put it this way, football isn’t very much fun when usually ferocious linebackers are afraid to tackle. Instead of decapitation we get noogies. Instead of Ray Lewis we get Ray Romano.

One of the saddest sights in sports is the Pro Bowl extra point, when the ball is hiked and instead of, you know, actually trying to block the kick, the linemen just stand up and scratch their butts and rearrange their jocks.

Perhaps even sadder was when all-galaxy hockey star Alexander Ovechkin, instead of, you know, actually trying to deny the defender and steal the puck, threw his stick like a javelin at a passing Matt Duchene.

Yup, that was the sound of 10 million people changing the channel.

From the athlete’s point of view, I guess I understand. Nobody wants to get hurt in an exhibition. They walk a fine line between putting on a show and playing it safe. I get it. But if anyone watched the festivities this past weekend, it’s probably hard for them to look at these players the same way after they mailed it in like US Postal for the whole game.

There’s no right answer here. The MLB rewards the All-Star Game winner home field advantage for the World Series, which is like giving Lou Piniella Manager of the Year because he yells louder than everyone else.

It’s not fair to have such high stakes riding on such a meaningless game. But there’s also no way to make overpaid prima donna athletes go all out when nothing is at stake. So here we stand on a slippery slope of All-Star nothingness, hoping to find the sweet spot between exhilaration and boredom.

Confusing. Right now I’m longing for a Rubik’s Cube.

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    R.W. WrongFeb 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    “Instead of Ray Lewis we get Ray Romano.” Brilliant line Schmidt.