Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Most Famous Walk-on of All-Time

I graduated from Ohio State about three months ago, which is another way of saying that society told me three months ago that it’s time for me to grow up. Originally, I was under the impression that becoming a grown-up consisted of making a few less fart jokes and acknowledging that I’m supposed to pay my taxes (yeah, whatever that means). I wasn’t too far off with my assumption, but I did neglect one very important aspect of being an adult – having to constantly tell everyone I meet what I do for work.

Seemingly every non-family member or non-close friend I’ve talked to in the last three months has asked either what I’m doing for work or what I plan on doing for work (part of it, I suppose, is because this blog has blessed me with the opportunity to rub elbows with a few celebrities, which somehow makes people assume that Kimmel is going to bring back The Man Show and ask me to co-host). I give pretty much everyone the same answer by saying, “I’m somewhere in between unemployed and self-employed”, which is my way of trying to be coy and mysterious but almost always ends up making me sound like I’m a drug dealer or a male prostitute (not saying I’m not). After I give my answer, an inevitable look of satisfaction strangely comes across the person’s face. Even though they might not say anything, their look says everything. More specifically, their look says, “This is awesome. You think you’re hot stuff cause you had your fifteen minutes of fame, but I’m the one who has the real job with health benefits and 401k, and you’re the one who is two months away from living in your parents’ basement. I will now pull my waistband down to my hamstrings, expose my butt cheeks, and give you the opportunity to kiss my ass.”

The truth is that I’ve got plenty of money leftover from the hundreds of thousands of dollars an Ohio State booster gave me when I played at OSU (you can take my wins from me, but I refuse to give back my Heisman). But Chipotle isn’t cheap and FIFA 11 is set to come out soon, so I’ve decided to do a few freelance things to have a little more discretionary income (nothing is published/available yet – I’ll let you know when it is). I’ve actually been working on my freelance stuff all week and decided to take the week off from blogging, but as I was doing some research for the freelance pieces, I came across something that needs to be more publicly discussed. In retrospect, I probably should have just tweeted this information, but if I did that I wouldn’t have been able to write three completely irrelevant paragraphs about how I’m unemployed. Also, at least five of you would have complained about how I hadn’t written a blog in forever. So instead, I chose to take something that could have been said in one sentence and I dragged it out into a bunch of paragraphs, just to make sure the Trillion Man March knows that I didn’t forget about you. You’re welcome.

Now that we got the drawn out intro/set-up out of the way, here’s what I discovered with my research – According to Wikipedia (which is my most trusted source for anything and everything), Billy Mays was a walk-on linebacker at West Virginia. I’ll say it again. Billy Mays was a walk-on linebacker at West Virginia. Think about that one for a second and then meet me at the next paragraph so we can break down the implications of this.

The thing that immediately came to mind when I read about this is that Billy Mays is unquestionably the most famous walk-on athlete of all-time, which in turn means that he’s a very big deal to someone like me who writes a benchwarming blog. You could argue that Rudy is more famous because he’s actually known for being a walk-on, whereas Billy Mays is known for selling stuff and having a beard that makes Al Borland look like a pansy. But if you did that, I would be forced to counter-argue by calling you a doucher and punching you in the nuts for being so dumb. Billy Mays had a highly publicized death, was an immensely popular Halloween costume, and had an episode of South Park devoted to him. I’m no expert on celebrities (even though I did write over 5,000 words about them once), but I’m pretty sure that’s the celebrity trifecta. Rudy, meanwhile, only had a movie made about him. Sure it’s one of the best sports movies ever made (Hoosiers being the best), but Joe Montana was quick to point out that it is a movie, after all, and nobody really cared about the real Rudy all that much. In summary, the movie version of Rudy could compete with Billy Mays, but as it stands, the real Rudy couldn’t even sniff Billy Mays’ jockstrap. Especially since he probably routinely soaked his jockstrap in a vat of OxiClean.

Another important thing to consider is that Billy Mays not only walked on, but he was a football walk-on. And played linebacker. This is mind-blowing to me. The guy who was known for looking so welcoming and nice on TV that it was almost uncomfortable spent his college years lighting up wide receivers who had the balls to come across the middle without having their heads on a swivel. I like to think that he came up with his infomercial introduction during these football playing days. I’m guessing that as some scrawny dude tried to run a crossing route through the middle of the field, he yelled “Billy Mays here!” as he took his head off. And then threw in an extra elbow drop to the guy’s groin for free.

Yet another crazy part about all of this is that Billy Mays didn’t just play at any college. He played at West Virginia. This means it’s almost certain that, on at least one occasion, he kissed his sister and was completely hammered off of moonshine. But beyond that, it means that he had to have been relatively good at football. I’m not sure how good West Virginia was during his playing days, but that doesn’t really matter. He was good enough to be a walk-on linebacker for a Division I football team. This means that my aforementioned scenario of him lighting someone up is at least plausible. And that’s enough for me.

You may think that this isn’t that big of a deal and won’t change your life all that much, but I can just about guarantee that the next time someone brings up Billy Mays, you’ll be quick to chime in with this walk-on nugget of information. Personally, finding out that Billy Mays was a walk-on linebacker at West Virginia is life-changing for me, to the point that I would be completely devastated if it turned out to be not true. My perception of the man has drastically changed for the better, which makes it depressing to know that I never respected him as much as I should have while he was alive. I’ve gained so much respect for him, in fact, that as much as I would have wanted to end this blog post by making a ridiculously corny joke about him, I’ve decided that I’ll just take the high road. There’s always a right time and place for jokes and this isn’t it. Any other time, I’d go through with it, but trying to get one more cheap laugh at the end of this blog post by making a corny joke about a guy who recently died would be Mighty Petty. __________________________________________________

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to my by Alex K. There’s your shout-out, Alex. And here’s your video.

Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder