A funny thing has happened. Our very own Bryan Holt has become an Internet situation – er, sensation – in lieu of his semi-heroic, fully legendary post on MTV’s “Jersey Shore” (read it here). In order to capitalize on his success, I’ve taken it upon myself to compare some of the great “Jersey Shore” moments with their equally groundbreaking sporting equivalents. Am I riding Bryan’s coattails? Yes. Borrowing his idea? Yes. Is this a shameless ploy to get hits? Sure. Am I going to put myself through grad school by exploiting your (read: my) sad fixation with Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi? Absolutely.
This is the first installment in a two-part series. Come back Tuesday for more debauchery.
The Shore Moment: In the season premier, Snooki has three or four too many Long Island ice teas and proceeds to go all Glenn Quagmire on the male roommates during a hot tub scene. Shamed and nauseous the next morning, Snooki misses work, fights a mallard-shaped telephone and threatens to leave the Shore, feeling like the outcast despite the group’s insistence otherwise.
Memorable Quote: “How do you go in a (bleeping) Jacuzzi with a thong and a bra? Wear a thong bikini. That’s a little bit more classier.” ~ Angelina “Jolie” Pivarnick
The Sports Parallel: Just as Snooki’s memorable reality TV run once looked in jeopardy before it even began, so too was John Elway’s mile high career nearly grounded before takeoff. Captain Comeback’s heavy flirtation with minor league baseball almost got the best of him when the Baltimore Colts selected him No. 1 overall in the 1983 draft. Feeling that he couldn’t succeed in a place swarming with losers, Elway told Colts owner Robert Irsay that he would bolt for the Yankees if he wasn’t traded. Irsay, under the influence of alcohol at the time, ultimately caved and traded his prized possession to Denver. Elway, of course, decided to stick with football, becoming the legendary Arena League owner that we know him as today. As for Snooki, she too went on to fulfill her destiny by both sticking with the Shore and getting clobbered by a Tysonesque right hook, a moment – like Elway’s early Super Bowl failures – that ultimately earned her sympathy and respect in the eyes of those around her.
A Star Is Born
The Shore Moment: Let’s call it “The Rise of the Creepers.” Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino, Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Vincenzo “Pink Eye” Guadagnino join forces to become one the most explosive (grenade-wise) creature-snatching lineups in Boardwalk history.
Memorable Quotes: “I’m like the first strike. They send me out first, like the Navy Seals. They send ‘em out real quick. And like a little reconnaissance, I bring girls back.” ~ Mike
“If I was just gonna get sloppy, I should have just pounded out what’s her name on Friday night.” ~ Ronnie
“You gotta stay fresh-to-death I call it – fresh outfit, fresh haircut, fresh tan, just stay fresh.” ~ Pauly
“I don’t give a (bleep). You’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re 45-years-old. I’ll dance with you.” ~ Vinny
Sports Parallel: Back in the mid-‘90s, the Atlanta Braves starting pitching staff was an indescribable situation. If you were an opposing team, you couldn’t even describe the situation that you were about to get into the situation. Greg Maddux, like Pauly D with his 25-minute hair routine, was all about preparation and precision. Tom Glavine, on the other hand, was the Mike of the group – he was the bulldog that went out first in the big series, and he prided himself on routine and conditioning (Glavine’s motto: “GTL”). If you matched Ronnie with John Smoltz, you’re speaking to my heart. Both big, strong righties with a power game, Ronnie and Johnnie were sensitive guys who probably could’ve gotten more out of their careers if not for Sweethearts and elbow injuries, respectively. And of course, there’s Steve Avery, the baby-faced youngster who burst onto the scene at the age of 21, throwing two 1-0 games in the 1991 NLCS against the Pirates. Like Avery, Vinny also flourished as a smooth-faced, 21-year-old. Though he started off strong – that night of, um, “infectious” dancing – Vinny ultimately peaked too soon, failing to gain the notoriety of the other pitchers.
The Most Uncomfortable 9 Minutes in TV History
Shore Moment: After cheating on him with Pauly D, Jenni “J-Woww” Farley finally meets up with her big-spender boyfriend when he visits the Shore house in episode 3. Convinced of Wowwser’s fidelity, bf Tom proceeds to take her on a boardwalk spending spree only to find out days later that she’s seen Pauly D’s Pauly D.
Memorable Quote: “I left the club early because I didn’t want to cheat on my boyfriend, and I felt like eating ham and drinkin’ water. Ham.”
Sports Parallel: In 1995, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones heaped loads of money on a flashy superstar who had just cheated on his Atlanta fans two years before and was mere months removed from a falling out with teammate Jerry Rice. Enter “Neon” Deion Sanders, the All-Pro corner who parlayed a burning bridge in San Francisco into a 7-year, $35 million, $13 million-guaranteed contract with America’s Team. Like J-Woww, Deion took advantage of a good situation and helped the Cowboys win another title the year he arrived. However both Jenni and Deion were ultimately done in by artificial substances. With J-Woww it was a bad boob job and a love of “juice heads.” For Sanders it was the artificial turf in Dallas Stadium that sidelined him for the better part of two seasons with “Fred Flintstone Toe.” Jenni ultimately stayed with her sugar daddy even after a brief breakup. Primetime, on the other hand, cheated on Jerry Jones with Dan Snyder.
Shore Moment: After days of complaining, Angelina decides in episode 3 that she’s too good for selling t-shirts on the boardwalk and is ultimately kicked off the show by boss/landlord Danny. She packs her bags and leaves the Shore without much sympathy from her roommates.
Memorable Quotes: “I feel like this job is beneath me. I’m a bartender. I do, like, great things.” ~ Angelina
“Angelina was like a half-ass firecracker. It just fizzled out real quick and made a loud noise.” ~ Mike
Sports Parallel: Sports Casualties co-author Bryan Holt memorably compared Angelina to Stephon Marbury in his original “Shore” column. I agree 100 percent – “Jolie” was a moody talent who couldn’t share the spotlight and floundered in New Jersey.
However, as far as the actual situation (I will use this word as many times as possible) is concerned, I’d have to liken Angelina’s sudden departure to that of University of Miami football coach Howard Schnellenberger. Coach Schnell, like Jolie, had it all – namely, a great job next to the ocean working with young men. He then decided that this whole college gig was beneath him and bolted for the USFL, only to find that the job he had been promised did not exist. The Angelina/Schnell comparison comes full circle not when you consider that both liked to dress up and had considerable hair on the upper lip, but when you factor in the level of success each simply walked away from. Coach was coming off a national championship season. And Angelina, as evidenced by her “bartender” quote, was absolutely at the top of her game. It’s a shame she left. She could have done great things.
Doer of Great Things, In Her Own Words
Shore Moment: Three words. “Gym. Tan. Laundry.”
Memorable Quotes: “Gym. Tan. Laundry.” ~ Mike
“This is how we build the guidos.” ~ Vinny
Sports Parallel: Call it silly guido dogma if you’d like, but you gotta admire Mike and Ronnie for sticking to the day-to-day grind. The most important thing here, though, is obviously the saying itself. It has already permeated the pop-culture lexicon, spawned many a LOL Facebook status, and become the spring training regimen for Alex Rodriguez. The last three words that so captivated a nation were spoken by none other than Moses “Fo’ Fo’ Fo’” Malone. The Sixers big man had just locked up the ’82-’83 MVP award, and when asked by reporters how the playoffs would roll, he answered simply, “Fo’ Fo’ Fo’.” True to his word, Malone, with Dr. J and Mo Cheeks, cruised through the postseason, finishing off West rivals the Lakers in, yes, “fo” games. (Note: Malone also famously said, “I will always be No. 1 to myself.” That sounds like a Situation line.)
Michael Cera: not a GTL subscriber