Take a second and rewind several months back to the summer sports spectacle that was the recent Olympics. All of America’s attention was on the women’s gymnastics competition. The U.S. gymnasts were good, as expected, but the pre-Olympics favorite Jordyn Wieber struggled in the preliminaries and was beat out by her own teammates, failing to move on to the all-around competition. Wieber appeared to be heartbroken, and her coach, Martha Karolyi, when asked afterward about what happened, said, “You try to find words because it’s almost like someone passed away.”
Now if you are thinking that comparing a gymnastics competition to the death of a loved one might be taking things a little too far, you are not alone: A local radio sports talk show host has turned pointing out these ridiculous utterances into an art form and is currently conducting his fifth-annual “Preposterous Statement Tournament,” which recognizes those who are adept at putting their feet in their mouths.
Radio personality Dan Cole, more widely known as “The Common Man,” is the host of the “The Common Man” program on KFAN, the Twin Cities sports talk station. Throughout his many years on the air, Cole has found his niche in his tongue-in-cheek analysis of the sports world, often making fun of those who live by a “sports, sports, sports, my whole life is just sports” mantra – to use his own words.
Although sports are important in many peoples’ lives including my own and provide fulfilling careers to many lucky people, it is easy for some to get carried away and forget that at the end of the day sports are still just a form of entertainment. “The Common Man” encourages his listeners to take a step back and consider the ridiculousness of a sports-centered society.
Five years ago, in this same sarcastic vein, the “Preposterous Statement Tournament” was born, as Cole began to collect the most absurd and silly comments made by sports personalities – pitting them against each other to see which made the least sense. It has since exploded into a massive undertaking for “The Common Man”and has earned a cult following. Throughout the year, listeners to the program send in hundreds of nominations until February when the show reveals its March Madness-style bracket of 64 of the most preposterous statements of the past year.
Taking a look at those lucky enough to crack the tournament, local sports pundits often dominate the selections. Vikings play-by-play announcer and shameless homer Paul Allen is often a powerful force in the tournament, making a deep run last year when he claimed that “Aaron Rodgers is the ninth-best quarterback in the NFL.” This years’ favorite might be Fox Sports North‘s Kevin Gorg, who claimed that horses in the Kentucky Derby lose “hundreds of pounds” during the course of the race the actual weight loss is around 10 pounds. However, national sports and political personalities are not safe either, as former Vice President Al Gore finds himself a two-seed after claiming it was the altitude in Denver that caused Obama to struggle in the first presidential debate.
The tournament is currently in the opening rounds, and one can follow its progress by visiting “The Common Man’s” page on www.kfan.com or by listening to his show at 1:30 p.m. every weekday. While the “Preposterous Statement Tournament” is undoubtedly one of the funniest bits on the radio year in and year out and has an incredible amount of entertainment value, it also stands to remind us, just as “The Common Man” tries to do himself, that if you try and take anything in life sports included far too seriously, it is easy to end up looking like an idiot. Or a champion of the “Preposterous Statement Tournament.”