NCAA

Touch ’em all, ESPN: This is the story of the year

When I become sick of working and hopelessly jaded by my job (usually 20 minutes after arriving to work) I invariably make my way to ESPN.com. I go there for the same reason you probably do – even though I have some fundamental issues with the Worldwide Leader in Sports, they churn out content, so there’s always something to read. Take for example this gem:

ESPN NDakota story

There’s so much to think about here that it’s probably overwhelming and confusing you. I’m still in a state of shock from the first sentence, and I find myself asking over and over in my head, “Who the fuck listens to North Dakota basketball on the radio?”

You’ll have to forgive me for being a bit of an idiot. I slept a lot during U.S. History class so I must’ve missed the day we learned that North Dakota is yet to discover television. I’ve listened to enough basketball games on the radio (one) to know it kind of sucks, but for a state that doesn’t know what TV is, it can’t be so bad, right? Sitting there, basking in the North Dakota sun and mid-twenties afternoon high, staring at Mount Rushmore until the eyes bleed, and listening to North Dakota basketball on a battery-powered radio. That’s how I picture the entire state of North Dakota. All fifteen of them.

Once I got past Unnamed ESPN Writer’s riveting lede, I found myself a bit upset. You’re telling me they’re suspending this dude for using the term “choke job?” Now I didn’t watch – or listen to – the game, but doesn’t that seem a bit harsh? Paul Ralston is employed by the University so he’s got to be sensitive to its image, but if they actually did choke the game away, why can’t he state the obvious and call them on it? I have a hard time believing he’d be suspended for calling the opposing team choke artists had the game’s outcome had been different.

Also, according to Google, Paul Ralston is a chiropractor in Milwaukee. That’s probably a different Paul Ralston, but if you’ve got a fucked up back and happen to be in North Dakota this week, maybe Mr. Ralston would be kind enough to walk on it or do whatever chiropractors do. I mean, he won’t be busy calling basketball games.

Anyway, this brings me to my larger point – North Dakota AD Brian Faison suspended Ralston not because of negativity toward the university, but because of the meaning of the phrase “choke job.” In North Dakota, a choke job is TOTALLY some kind of dirty sex act that nobody talks about – a taboo, as a smarter writer might say. You see, North Dakotans have been giving choke jobs for years and it’s been their dirty little secret. They don’t want the rest of the U.S. figuring out about the choke job and giving them to each other because goddamnit it’s theirs. The choke job is as inherently North Dakotan as Mount Rushmore and the lack of TV/good weather/anything fun to do. Mount Rushmore isn’t in North Dakota? Ouch. Maybe we can consolidate the Dakotas into one state.

I feel bad for Paul Ralston because the poor guy made an honest mistake. Thankfully, his suspension is only temporary and he’ll be able to return to his job on February 28 as North Dakota hosts Portland State. I’d tune in and listen, but basketball on the radio is fucking laaaaaaaame, so sorry, Paul.

Oh, and if there’s anyone from North Dakota out there reading this, I need your help: How drunk must I get my girlfriend for her to give me a choke job? And should I stretch before? I don’t wanna pull something.

Follow Sean on Twitter @the_graw