Home > music, sports > It Always Comes Back to Sports

It Always Comes Back to Sports

Monday, May 14, 2012, 16:33 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

It happens all the time. You’re watching TV or listening to a radio interview or having a conversation, and someone chimes in with a sports analogy. XYZ Corporation hit a home run with their latest product release. Friendly journalists lob softball questions at political candidates. That long-term project you’re working on, the one with all the ups and downs, is a marathon, not a sprint.

Two songs with sports references shuffled up on my mp3 player over the weekend. One was already familiar to me. In fact, I initially downloaded it specifically for the sports reference. “Get It Like You Like It,” by rock/blues/soul musician Ben Harper, was released on the 2006 double album Both Sides of the Gun. The song’s third verse goes like this:

In 1918, the great Bambino
kicked a piano into Willis Pond
But Johnny Damon swung a bat
Grand slam, that was that
An 86 year curse is gone

Which is interesting because Harper is a Californian whose fans, by and large, are unlikely to have ever heard of Willis Pond or know what the hell a piano has to do with baseball. Some may have no idea what grand slam the song is talking about or who Johnny Damon is. The especially clueless might not even know about the Bambino. Said grand slam, by the way, wasn’t hit in the World Series that broke the alleged curse. It was hit early in game 7 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, capping the Red Sox’ historic comeback and the Yankees’ epic collapse. It wasn’t even the most memorable play in that series. But it flows nicely and helps Harper capture the gist of what happened.

The second song that caught my ear was one I hadn’t especially noticed before. “Celebrity,” from the 2003 Barenaked Ladies album Everything to Everyone, has been in my collection for a few years, but somehow I managed to miss this notable opening:

Don’t call me a zero
I’m going to be a hero
Like Phil Esposito
Or the Kennedys

Phil Esposito? Wow. I mean, Espo was a great hockey player, he’s in the Hall of Fame, and he deserves any and all accolades anyone wants to give him. But despite having spent the best years of his career with the Bruins, he isn’t my idea of the Celebrity Most Likely to Be Mentioned in a Rock and Roll Song, even if the band are a bunch of hockey-crazed Canadians. By the way, have I ever mentioned the time I met Esposito at Spag’s? That was in the days when sports stars made public appearances and didn’t charge for admission or autographs. After playing and coaching, he went on to buy an NHL team and is now a broadcaster. I bet he got a kick out of the song.

Categories: music, sports
  1. Sean Breslin
    Monday, May 14, 2012, 16:55 EDT at 16:55

    Oh yes…the world revolves around sports, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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