Jason’s very hopeful [completely unacceptable] sports weekend

[EDITOR’S NOTE: I was worried this day would one day come. This column has always been about one thing: misery. Jason Ruiz’s misery; a weekly recitation of how each weekend presents him with further heartache and degradation, what I call a real “win-win.” But, recently, the main drivers of his miserableness—the Dallas Cowboys and UCLA Bruins—have gone completely off-script, providing Jason with victories and therefore something approaching happiness. Needless to say, I am alarmed at this frightening trend and want to assure you, the reader, who have found such joy in Jason’s sadness, that we are aware of the situation and will do everything we can to rectify the Jason situation by wrecktifying the Jason situation.]

At times sports can seem larger than life.

They can draw you in for hours at a time and make you forget about your day-to-day grind as the emotional roller coaster ride of a given season unfolds.

The hope of a new season, or a season reborn midseason, is something all fans can relate to. There’s a buzz in the air, you walk with a different spring in your step and you can once again stomach reading the daily sports reports. [EN: Buzzing? Gastro and motor skill issues? Jason, this may have nothing to do with sports. Seek treatment.]

It’s a beautiful thing and the feeling is rejuvenating.

Right now, the UCLA Bruins have instilled hope in its fan base. If the Gutty Little Bruins can cobble together four more victories over the next month it will play in the Pac-12 championship game. If it wins three out of four, it will qualify for a bowl game. [EN: And if every member of the team grew two wheels, they’d be bicycles. Wait, is this what you think Fantasy Football is?]

The team was mired in the middle of a historically bad start to its season after just being dismantled by the Oklahoma Sooners at home. It had yet to show its first spark of life in an epic 67-63 comeback win against Washington State, which I slept through.

With back-to-back wins, the team has lit the pilot light of hope. [EN: Is that anything like the crescent wrench of anxiousness? The toggle switch of anticipation? Cooties?] The question still remains whether it’s the beginning of a fire or a flameout, but this feeling of hope is what fans are live for.

However, as Morgan Freeman said in “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” [EN: You know what else will drive a man insane? Another reference to “The Shawshank Redemption.” What is it with that movie? The ending doesn’t even make sense. How does the guy reattach the Rita Hayworth poster, FROM INSIDE THE TUNNEL, so that it is perfectly level and taut? Impossible! And yet, we’re taking life advice from people too lazy to fix this obvious plot hole? Choices, Jason.]

Stick a Fork in Em’ 

I will write a check for everything in my savings account to anyone who predicted the Bruins would be leading the nationally-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils 35-7 at the start of the third quarter.

I can throw down that gauntlet because a lot like this football team I have little to lose, and no one without access to Marty McFly’s sports almanac could have predicted that. The Bruins delivered gut punch after gut punch to the Sun Devils and the game was all but over by halftime.

This year, that hasn’t been an uncommon result. However, on Saturday night it was the Bruins doing the bludgeoning. [EN: Gut punches? Bludgeoning? Sticking forks in people? Sounds like someone plugged into the power strip of lingering rage.]

At one point my editor sent me a text to voice his displeasure.

“Your team is ruining the column,” he said. [EN: True]

“You misspelled ‘improving,’” I responded. [EN: Twerp.]

Improvement is incremental and sometimes painful. There’s been a lot of pain this year in Bruinland and perhaps this is the start of something promising. I’ll try to stay grounded as this season winds down. Hope, after all, is a dangerous thing.

Bye Weeks are for the Babies 

The Dallas Cowboys had the week off which meant that I had the week on in terms of having the capacity to be a good friend.

Because there were no Jason Garrett coaching decisions to yell at on our living room television we packed up and headed south to Irvine. Yes, I know part of Irvine now resides at 2nd and PCH, but our friends live closer to the actual Fashion Island.

Kevin and I are close. We were the best man in each other’s weddings and have basically grown up together. But he’s a hockey guy and I’m a football guy.

Between work and life and our diverging interests in sports, it’s tough to carve out space during football season. I’m pretty sure that’s why bye weeks were created.

Spending an evening in a hot tub with good friends and good beers was the best win of the weekend. I celebrated by doing victory laps around the hot tub with their toddler. [EN: See, a column pitched as a weekly roundup of living one’s worst life should never contain the term “toddler.” And a hot tub? What time portal do you take when driving to Irvine?]

Now if you’ve read this column over the past few weeks you know that I read too much into things. That trend won’t stop here.

Sunday night marked the first time I picked up their baby and she didn’t cry. Could this be the start of something beautiful? Maybe we’re friends now or maybe the Cowboys make a Superbowl run.

Let’s hope so. [EN: Let’s not.]

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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