ESPN scores (corn)hole in one

Back in the day, when ESPN first took to the airwaves, they were merely a fledgling cable network trying to find their way.

They didn’t have the coin to compete with the big boys so there was no such thing as showing NBA, NFL or Major League Baseball games.  (Notice how I intentionally excluded the NHL for not only does ESPN have no interest in broadcasting hockey games, they still barely talk about the sport at all.)

Journalists like Chris Berman, Tom Mees and Bob Ley cut their teeth in 1979 as the network only had rights to show considerably less popular sports like college soccer, wrestling, slow pitch softball and anything else they could get their hands on to fill their 24-hour programming.  Back then, starting an all sports news channel was a gamble; today, they are one of the most-watched networks in the world.

These days, ESPN is reverting back to their old tricks, trying to find any way during a slow, sports summer to show events they deem competitive or at least entertaining.  We can argue until we’re blue in the face about what constitutes a sport.  My fellow 50-year old blogger recently ridiculed the discussion to put video-game playing in the Olympics.  I suppose the IOC will support any story that distracts us from how corrupt they are.

ESPN still airs spelling bees, rodeo riding and professional poker, all of whose sporty nature you can debate.  These are undoubtedly competitions.  Whether they are actual sports is up to the beholder.  The Worldwide Leader also airs bowling on NFL Sundays, knowing full well that .0001% of the population is only tuning in to see if Pete Weber is still rockin’ that timeless 80s coif.

Last weekend, with no major sports going on other than the World Cup (oh… and that thing they call baseball), ESPN decided to air… Cornhole.  I watched aghast as if it were an accident I couldn’t turn away from.  Is the World Wide Leader really broadcasting cornhole… and are they following it up with the Beer Pong Invitational?  How about competitive lawn darts?  When the guy in the board room pitched airing competitive cornhole, was there an awkward silence with everyone else fearing he’d be fired on the spot for suggesting something so ludicrous?  Or did they all agree cornhole was a pleasant break from the incessant coverage of LeBron’s free agency?

However it went down, cornhole is now alive and well on the four-letter.  And the channels, they are a-changin’.

In the men’s cornhole competition, there were what appeared to be teenagers, one tall and lanky with his cap turned sideways because cornhole is so very hip-hop, the other more, heavy set with a mustache he was trying to grow in but still years away from, both of them tossing bean bags into a hole cut into a wooden platform some thirty-feet away.

Don’t get me wrong.  These kids were good but cornhole is a game generally played at frat parties and tailgates, consisting of participants with a bean bag in one hand and their third, frothy beer in the other.  We’ve argued this at length but shouldn’t a professional, televised sport be something you don’t need to be piss drunk in which to participate?  If shot-gunning a beer aids your performance, shouldn’t we reconsider our programming options?  And if we’re going that route, why not have all the participants be piss drunk, including the teenagers.  Wouldn’t that be far more entertaining?  “Here lines up Billy, wiping the puke from his chin.  It’s in the hole!!!”  To add to the degree of difficulty, have them all drive to the match.  Whoever arrives alive wins by default.  That way we wouldn’t have to watch this clusterfuckery of a contest on TV in the first place.

I’m not sure what’s more inappropriate.  The fact that ESPN airs professional cornhole or the fact that the American Cornhole Association has a publication they distribute simply called… “Hole Magazine.”  For a free subscription, click here.

After the teen match, ESPN aired the women’s division.  Thank you, Title IX!  Cornhole is so very ahead of its time when it comes to gender equality.  I don’t want to be mean here (why stop now, right?) but let’s just say there weren’t too many Jennie Finch’s in the mix.  The only thing more disturbing than seeing an overweight teen who’s never eaten broccoli in his life tossing beanbags back and forth is seeing his aunt in dire need of a makeover doing the same thing.

The “match” took place in some gym, or barn, with far more empty seats than full ones (not much unlike Major League Baseball) and probably just the participants’ family members in attendance.  I couldn’t tune out quickly enough.  If you really want me to watch, let’s mix in some celebrity Family Feud cornhole.  West family versus the Kardashians anyone?  They can bedazzle their bean bags with Botox and inventive hip-hop.

I suppose ESPN is banking on cornhole’s promising future for if we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that a sport cannot be considered legit until there’s tampering, drug violations, bloated contracts, hold outs, Uber fondling and dead bodies found in a star cornhole players mansion.  If the American Cornhole Association wants to be taken seriously, might I suggest drumming up some sort of major league controversy.  That’d put them on the map and far more in tune with the sports the network usually covers.

16 thoughts on “ESPN scores (corn)hole in one

  1. At least it was sponsored by the Johnsonville sausage people. Thanks to them, my blood is 72% pork fat, and when I have my recommended colonoscopy at age 50, there are going to find a Johnsonville Sausage banner.

  2. Dubs…

    Tell the nurses they might want to coat the hospital room in plastic for that colonoscopy… before you coat it with something else.

  3. From the title, I thought for sure this post was going to be about Greg Louganis.

    Whatever. The topic is still about tossing beanbags.

    Sport my ass…It’s a fucking game.

    Still…. Horseshoe enthusiasts must be so jealous that the redneck pastime they jacked and made safe for the kiddies is now being aired on B.S.PN

  4. Crazy couple of days in Lakerland. Obviously getting LeBron is yuge. I was even okay with getting Lance Stevenson and JaVale McGee…. But choosing Rajon Rondo over Julius Randle left me scratching my head a bit. With all these eccentric personalities Luke better keep a stash of Prozac to slip into their Gatorade.

    But when DeMarcus Cousins dropped the biggest bomb and signed with GSW my excitement quickly turned into defeat. It was almost like I got vetoed all over again. So much for the leagues efforts to quell superteams. Bandwagon Boogie just blew that idea to complete shit.

    The only hope is that we somehow pull Kawhi from Pops clutches, but I ain’t holding my breath on that front. The Spurs still hate us and have 0.4 million reasons to not gift us Leonard to be Lebron’s Pippen regardless of how many young players and draft picks we might be willing to offer up…And even if we did, would it be enough to dethrone the champs now that they have yet another legit All Star riding Curry’s sack to an easy ring? Doubtful.

    Houston lost Ariza and hasn’t gotten Capela to sign yet so they took a step back. OKC is OKC. Boston might surprise with Irving and Hayward healthy but essentially it’s the Globetrotters vs Generals for Golden State.

    Anything is possible, but barring injury I think it’s safe to say the Warriors 3-peat.

    Lakers sure won’t be boring with all the talented Looney Tunes on the court. Should be pretty good defensively too but beating the Monstars might require more than a bottle of Mike’s secret stuff.

  5. Bleed stole a little of my thunder , but I will endeavor to persevere. Corn hole is horseshoes for pussies. There I said it and I’m glad. If you’re afraid of taking a piece of iron to the shins then get a real job damn it. To all my old friends from the pits, rock on my brothers!

  6. This article speaks about the same way that Nickelodeon started out, in that same year. When Canada couldn’t find anyone else to air its NHL hockey games, it helped ESPN become more popular. And when nobody in Canada wanted to air “You Can’t Do that on Television,” it helped Nickelodeon become more popular. One of the themes of this article seems to be, that cable TV cannot survive without contribution from Canada.

  7. Can’t say I disagree with any of that, Bleed.

    With all the crazy headed West, I was almost certain Boogie was going to sign with L.A. That band of straight jackets would have gotten along great. In fact, I could easily have seen them all turning LeBron crazy. Even more so than JR Smith.

    But alas, as you mention, the big fella heads to Oakland instead, which I’m not quite sure I understand. This might actually work to their detriment. Won’t he demand minutes? Won’t they have to change their style of play for him? Isn’t there a distinct possibility that this ends badly?

    The worst part about this all is that the league is now making a brother root for the Celtics.

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  8. Deac…

    That’s actually pretty damn funny. Never thought I’d see the day when horseshoes was considered hardcore.

    But I guess we’re there now. Thanks, corn hole.

  9. Greg…

    Not quite sure how to respond to that other than plugging in some “Spirit of Radio” and playing it fucking loud.

    And the words of the prophets were written on the subway walls…… CONCERT HALL!

  10. Hey, Bleed…

    Marc Stein is reporting that the Lakers had the opportunity to sign Cousins but felt it was too big of a risk. What’s funny is that they ended up signing other crazy in Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson.

  11. I think the risk was more the Achilles injury, but his crazy risk level was likely a factor too. We didn’t have the luxury of waiting on him to be maybe be ready to play by December or January like the Warriors.

    Now that Melo is on his way out in OKC, rumors have him on the Lakers radar. Personally I’d rather they spend the MLE on Brook Lopez.

    Hopefully we’ll luck out and be able to trade Deng for Melo. Even better are the Lillard trade rumors. Deng and So for Dame Dolla? Sounds good but highly unlikely…But the way things have been going, who knows?

  12. Bleed…

    I’d love to see Bron Bron play alongside someone like Lilliard who has plenty left in the tank and who is serious about winning.

    I’m with ya’ on ‘Melo but if that’s what these two have wanted, to play alongside each other before they retire, then I suppose it’s only a matter of time before they make that happen, if they can make the numbers work.

    No one has been able to get ‘Melo to change his style of play. I’ll be interested in seeing how many times Bron gives him that JR Smith post-game one look for taking ill-advised shots.

    Sometimes teammates are better left un-teamed.

  13. We went from corn hole to Bron Bron. Yawn yawn, he’s getting old, and VERY needy gentlemen (LBJ, but if you thought I was talking about Chris, that works too). No more championships to be had, with or without Cousins or Leonard. 3rd place (West) is a strong possibility, 4th being more likely than 2nd.

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