Tag Archives: sports

128 Thoughts On the Big Football Game

First of all, here’s a link to my latest release, a completely free-to-download 128 song EP:

http://johnnyunicorn.bandcamp.com/album/big-game-2014-128-song-ep

You may be asking yourself why someone like me, a person dedicated to a life of non-competition, would write a set of 128 songs based on the names of a bunch of people who play a competitive sport I don’t particularly care for. I’ve been asking myself that very question throughout the 5 days I’ve been working on this project. As far as I can tell, the story began just this month, in Seattle, where I live:

1. I found out that one of my favorite Seattle songwriters, Julia Massey, released an album of short, hastily recorded pieces (http://juliamassey.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-the-nook). I liked the concept very much (and I liked when They Might Be Giants did it on multiple albums), and I wanted to do one of my own.

2. My friend linked me to an article about a guy who makes his living writing dozens of songs a day that are all terrible but there are so many of them that he’s able to survive off the small amount of dollars per song he gets from people craving a moment of novelty. I didn’t like where he was going with what music of his I heard, but it got me thinking about ways I could have a creative outlet without getting bogged down in details. I keep a very large amount of stray ideas in my mind because I have nowhere to put them. If I could just make them public in a perhaps unfinished state, maybe someone would find some use in them, but I could rest assured knowing that there would be no risk of losing the idea, and one day I could come back to it and use it for something else. And I mean “rest assured” literally: unproduced creative work actually keeps me up at night.

3. There’s a lot of talk in Seattle about football this month, for some reason. Everyone’s looking forward to this Big Game and I didn’t understand why. My whole life, I’ve been averse to the idea of engaging in crowd participation. With sports especially it’s like some cult-switch gets turned on in a surprising number of people. It seems to me that even the most avid Phish fan would have a hard time keeping up with the average football fan in terms of dedication. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the pure agression sets off some sort of primal instinct in a lot of people. For me, the main feeling I get when I am surrounded by any group of people who are all looking in the same direction and chanting is ANXIETY. I suppose that’s MY primal instinct welling up inside of me. In the back of my mind, I’m always thinking “what if I decide I want to support the OTHER team instead? Will all these people kill me?” Obviously, I don’t literally think football fans will murder me, but maybe my body does. As a result, I have always avoided football, and every other sport. (Also, I only reluctantly go to concerts, and I avoid protests at all costs, even if I think I’m on their side). But this year, I’ve been looking at my life and trying to get rid of bad habits — in particular the habit disliking things just because I don’t understand them — and when I made a snarky comment about not liking football, my sister pointed out my hypocrisy. And when she calls me out on something I take it very seriously. It was then that I decided I should watch the game.

That doesn’t mean I have to root for the home team. Usually in a skill-based situation, I’m rooting for whoever is in the process of trying to achieve an immediate goal. When everyone does well, it makes for a better experience in my opinion.
And it doesn’t mean I have to drink beer and hoot and holler with everyone. I could engage in the experience of a football game in a way that was more comfortable for me. I can expand my horizons without going so far out of my comfort zone that I become anxious. My hope is that I’ll become interested in the sport, because it can’t hurt to add something to the list of things I like and cross something off the list of things I don’t.

So I decided to live-Tweet the event. And if you’re reading this before The Event, it happens on February 2nd, 2014 1:00pm PST (I plan to Tweet the pregame all the way to the very end of The Event).

When I mentioned outloud that I would be live-Tweeting the game, Naomi’s mother suggested jokingly that I record songs about all the players. We all had a good laugh.

The next day, I started recording 128 songs. Less than a week later, I completed them, just in time for the game.

Here’s that link again:
http://johnnyunicorn.bandcamp.com/album/big-game-2014-128-song-ep

So when you’re at the Big Game party, do yourself a favor and open up a tab with my EP and another tab with your Twitter feed. Whenever some player does something worth calling attention to, play their jingle. It is guaranteed to liven up your game celebrations. And if you aren’t a sports person, listen to the songs anyway. I’m proud of a few of those pieces of music, and you might like them too.

So join me as I join my friends and family to see what it is they do on this mysterious holiday, and let’s root for the ultimate home-team: Team Everybody!