If you were at the Cavs game last night, you can probably skip this post. (Nothing to do with the actual game.)
theMonica and I got there about 20 minutes before tip-off. As we're walking to our seats one of those "scream team" kids (generally they run around the arena throwing stuff at people) stops us and asks if we know who Joe Tait is (radio play-by-play voice of the Cavs). I'm muttering, "No thanks," while theMonica is saying "Yes." (Even though I come to find out she only KIND OF knows who Joe Tait is.) He tells us they're having a "Talk Like Tait" contest. All you have to do is make a game call like Joe Tait. You compete against one other person. Now, I'm no Frank Caliendo, but I suspected my Joe Tait was better than some randomly selected crowd person. After all, I'm been listening to the guy for 15 years.
These perfectly logical thoughts convinced me that, yes, I could "Talk Like Tait" and I should do that in as public a forum as possible! I filled out this form and as we're walking away I thought, "Wait, Brain, why did I do that?" " I don't know Roger, but we need beer – fast." I then started to think about how there were going to be upwards of 20,000 people in the arena. And really, my Joe Tait isn't that great (although I can busta-rhyme). This inspired an impressive consumption of 4 16-oz beers in about 30 minutes. After all, there were going to be a lot of people watching me make an ass of myself. You might say that I make an ass out of myself sometimes daily, via this blog. True, but that's making an ass of myself on my own terms. This was something else entirely.
I had to be at a certain section concourse at the start of the 2nd quarter. I was there, but my opponent wasn't. And some time passed and I was like, "Maybe I'll get out of this. Awesome." But, the scream team is too industrious. One of them went out and grabbed another person. It was on.
The in-game entertainment/announcer, Nicole, comes over to MC the event and tells us we're playing for DiGiorno pizzas for our section and gives us some pointers (basically, spaz as much as possible). They are going to show a "classic" Cavs clip, first with Joe's call and then twice more with me and Frank (the other guy) doing the call. The whole time I was waiting – I was sure it was going to be a LeBron drive and slam or a LeBron alley oop. Simple and fun. So when she said "classic," I was all – uh-oh. They show the clip and it's Damon Jones' Game 6 series winner against the Wizards from 2006. Per se, not a bad call, but there are like 5 passes in a few seconds before the pass to Jones for the shot. Whatever. I go first (they had me in a little picture-in-picture on the scoreboard). I start, not sounding exactly like Joe, but definitely getting the tone and pacing down. And what do I hear? People booing! F#@K YOU! You invent something like inward singing! Ok, so more people were cheering, but you can definitely hear the boos. It's very disheartening. I do my best with all the stupid passes and when Jones hits the shot, the requisite, "GOT IT!" And then I tell "Cavs fans to put a DiGiorno pizza in the oven." Frank goes. (I'm happy to hear he gets booed too). And I swear to you he mumbles some sh1t and at the end screams really loud. That's it. For the first second he was trying to sound like Joe Tait, but he abandoned that for his regular voice.
Now, the judging. I'm thinking I got it locked up. I mean, Joe is not effusive. He's kind of surly with a gravelly voice and he has that edge of bitterness from seeing so many completely terrible Cavalier teams. Joe doesn't scream when the Cavs win. That's the whole point of the contest, yes? Joe would never partake in the kind of histrionics Frank was pulling during his call. Not even if the Cavs won the NBA Finals. It wouldn't happen.
Surely, Joe Tait gets to pick the winner, right? Wrong! The ignorant masses get to decide via "loud-o-meter." I was really hating going first at this point. My fans adore me, true, but the bar is set and Frank's idiotic fans know how loud they have to be. And I had a bit of a cold . . . and . . and my finger hurts and and –
Ok, so I lost. Bitter, bitter, red-faced shame and embarrassment – literally my face was the color of a baboon's ass. I got a bagful of Cavs stuff, along with a DiGiorno pizza (DOG FOOD!). I was famous for like 2 minutes. On the way back to my section this woman in the concourse asked me if I won. I said no. She said she would have cheered for me had she been in the arena, but she was waiting in line for a beer. I called her a stupid drunk and slapped the beer out of her hand. No. I said thanks. People in my section were pretty supportive and I apologized that I couldn't bring home the pizza. One guy in my row was like, "That other guy didn't even try to sound like Joe Tait!" That's what I said! We had a moment there.
At any rate, it was a valuable learning experience. First, I call bullshit on the whole thing. 90% of the people wouldn't know Joe Tait if he delivered their next DiGiorno pizza. On almost every level, I was the superior Joe Tait impersonator. But, alas, you must give the people what they want, which, apparently is a lot of yelling - and judging by the first quarter contest a lot of people sticking their heads into plastic tubs full of mashed potatoes in search of ping-pong balls. They say there are no moral victories in "Talk Like Tait" contests. But I think we all now know that that's not true.
Labels: awkward roger, cavaliers, entertainment, life, theMonica