Here's an interesting factoid about me that you probably don't care about: I love music. Besides sports, it's the most important thing in my life. Family and friends? Yadda yadda yadda. Since the beginning of time or, at least, the beginning of sports and music, the two have intertwined. So, in an act of absolute theft of intellectual property, I'm spinning off and creating my own list of the ever-cliche Favorite Sports Songs.
5 - "Higher and Higher," Theodore Shapiro & Craig Wedren
Nothing says athletics better than summer camp, disinterested youth baseball teams, canned products that talk, and Paul Rudd. This song, created exclusively for Wet Hot American Summer, is a parody of just about every inspirational power guitar & synth song of the 80s. Whereas South Park's songs pour the farce over your head (see below), this one has the brains to sound authentic. As a matter of fact, I had no idea it wasn't an actual song until I did this research (for the record, "research" is used very, very loosely). I went to camp so long ago that fucking Jesus Christ was my counselor!
4 - "Montage," Trey Parker & Matt Stone
What makes this song so great is that it isn't a statement about sport. It's a statement about the relationship music and sports have on TV and in film. As a benefit, it's actually a good public service announcement to kids too young to understand the humor. When the song states, In any sport, if you want to go from just a beginner to a pro, you'll need a montage. A simple little montage, its an assertion that the leap to being, "like Mike," for instance, isn't too big for your average kid. After all, 30 seconds is really all you need. This song gets bonus points for being funny enough for South Park as well as Team America: World Police.
3 - "Rock & Roll, Pt. 2," Gary Glitter
Further evidence of how far behind hockey is the rest of the sports -- they're one of the last to ban this song from its arenas. I hear it after every time the Devils score a goal, so it's got positive connotations with me. Plus, jerking off to child pornography is as much of a sport as football.
What? Too soon?
2 - "Real American," Rick Derringer
I might as well not even say anything right now, because I know you're just vaguely following the words with your eyes while your attention is otherwise dedicated to belting out the lyrics to this classic. If you play the beginning guitar progression for any male ages 20-35, you'll see sides of them you really wish you hadn't.
1 - "The Sporting Life," The Decemberists
It's rare that a song takes the point-of-view of the kid who's constantly picked last. And with Colin Meloy, you just know that the song will really capture the ineptitude of awkward little dorks. Meloy focuses on the brief seconds of humiliation going through the kid's mind as he is tripped and falls on the field. For example: But while I am lying here, trying to fight the tears, I'll prove to the crowd that I'll come out stronger. Though I think I might lie here a little longer. There's also the pain of having to face coach: There's my coach he's looking down, the disappointment in his knitted brow. "I should've known," he thinks again, "I never should have put him in." He turns and loads the lemonade away and breathes in deep. What pushes the song over the top is the fact that the backing music is the happiest, bounciest arrangement you might ever hear. The kid has alienated his peers, his father, his coach, and his girlfriend. And he sounds like the happiest kid in the world. Go figure.