The Swimsuit Chronicles
I must be getting old.
Like most red-blooded American boys and men, I used to look forward to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
It arrived a few weeks after the Super Bowl. It was included as part of a regular edition, so the photos of girls in bikinis were surrounded by the typical mix of Scorecard, Faces in the Crowd, and stories about the NBA and the start of spring training.
In those days, most of the girls actually wore swimsuits. You know, the kind with both a top and a bottom.
I remember the famous Cheryl Tiegs fishnet photo. It was startling to actually encounter a see-through swimsuit. That one made an impression.
Nowadays, the Swimsuit Issue has become a cultural and corporate phenomenon. There are calendars, videos, TV shows, websites, and behind-the-scenes “documentaries.” There's even an "Official Vodka of SI Swimsuit." I kid you not.
What started out as a dozen pages inside SI has turned into a stand-alone double issue requiring 174 pages. The sports content has totally disappeared.
What started out as a tasteful diversion has become a somewhat tasteless obsession. This year, the tops of most of the “swimsuits” were either non-existent or in the process of being removed.
It’s gotten to the point where the bare skin is so overwhelming that you get numbed to it. For me, it’s not even fun anymore.
Like I said, I must be getting old…
All-Star surprise: The new format for the NBA All-Star game seems to have restored some competitiveness and legitimacy to the event. After last year’s 192-182 fiasco, notable for its complete and utter lack of defense, the league had to do something. Having Steph Curry and LeBron James pick the teams—schoolyard style—injected some good old-fashioned rivalry into the contest. Team LeBron actually won the game with a defensive stand at the end. Bravo.
Anthem atrocity: Speaking of the All-Star Game, the national anthem by Fergie was a shrieking, two-and-a-half-minute abomination. The facial expressions of the players were priceless, particularly Draymond Green’s. It was the worst anthem at a sports event since Roseanne Barr’s performance at a San Diego Padres game in 1990.