One Saturday in 2007, I found myself at the little league park killing time and stuffing my face with hot dogs between games. I caught myself in a conversation with a mother of one of my teammates. She asked me what my plans were for the summer. I can’t remember what my plans were (I was 10 years old, and it was 10 years ago).
She proceeded to fake an extreme interest in my plans, and naturally, I asked if her family had any vacation plans. I patiently listened to her drone on about the struggles of planning a family getaway amidst their complex familial dynamics. Eventually, she conveyed that her family was headed to Knoebels for a weekend in July.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Knoebels is “America’s Largest Free Admission Amusement Park” located in Elysburg, Pa. For you Patriot League Basketball fans, it sits about 40 minutes east of Bucknell University. (To learn more about Knoebels, click here to be launched to their website.)
So, if you clicked on the link, you’ll notice that their website looks a bit gimmicky. It’s straight out of 2006. If I were in the marketing department for the amusement park, I’d recommend serious brand renovation considering their site makes it look like their park is nothing more than a pop-up carnival in a church parking lot.
Anyways, Knoebels was a fairly popular weekend spot for many families in the northwest Philadelphia suburbs. It has camping and golfing and rides and games and I’m assuming a few swimming pools or something like that. I’ve never been there, I was always a Hershey Park kid, but many people lived and died with Knoebels, which is all well and good.
Ok, so back to my conversation with this mother.
After she expressed her excitement and I nodded and said something like, “wow, that’s cool” even though I really couldn’t care less what her family is doing on the third weekend of July, she threw the hottest take that literally anyone has ever tossed in my direction.
“You know, Jack, you guys should go to Knoebels some time. Honestly, it’s better than Disney World. And I’m being serious. I’d rather spend a week at Knoebels than Disney World, cost being equal.”
I had been to Disney World twice before, and I do truly believe that for children, it is heaven on earth. My jaw dropped. I looked straight into her eyes and said, “No, that can’t be.”
But she persisted. She rendered my argument invalid solely on the basis that “I had never been to Knoebels, so how could I know?”
In my head, I thought, “Well, ma’am, Knoebels is in the backwoods of Pennsylvania and Disney World is in Orlando. So, just for starters, there’s that,” but then I caught myself and realized that I didn’t need to mentally list all the reasons that Disney World was superior to Knoebels, because that’s an utter waste of time.
I politely nodded and said something like, “Alright well maybe I’ll just have to go to Knoebels and find out for myself,” or some other harmless BS.
Now, 10 years later, I have yet to return to Disney World, and I never got the chance to explore the epic wonders of Knoebels.
You see, some hot takes are thought-provoking. Hot takes that project on future performances or occurrences are intriguing because they’ve yet to come to fruition and the jury is still out on its validity. That type of thing can get the mind churning. Hot takes that involve a bit of research and nuance are captivating, too. It’s why we love hot takes – generally, they get our minds moving.
But, there is a “bad” hot take – the one where someone says X is better than Y when it’s just an obvious and objective fact that that isn’t the case. That little league mom’s hot take falls into this category. She was simply being a contrarian in order to piss me, and the rest of the world, off. That type of hot take is thoughtless, silly, annoying, and childish. Please, Knoebels is not better than Disney World. No, that’s not a matter of opinion, it’s just a socially accepted fact.
Saying Knoebels is better than Disney World is like saying that right now, there’s a player better than LeBron James in the NBA. Who would ever do something like that?
*Skip Bayless last night, tweets: “Hey, LeBron: It’s over. Kawhi Leonard is now the best player in the NBA. Sorry.“*
Well, shit, Skip.
I wrote a few weeks ago about how Skip’s aimless antics are merely a facade for clicks, shares, and retweets, and there’s no way a sane human being can ever believe the things he says, and I stand by that.
I wrote a week or two after that about how Skip will never be wrong because after something happens that directly contradicts a Bayless hot take, he’ll spin it in such a manner that makes him not wrong.
So, here, we’re left with a Bayless hot take that Kawhi, last night, surpassed LeBron as the best player in the NBA. In a week or two, Kawhi will lose to Houston and LeBron will be waltzing through the Eastern Conference, but something along the way will provide a caveat for Bayless and he’ll be able to wheel and deal enough to get himself out of that above tweet. And THAT is the magic of Skip.
But, for the hell of it, let’s really dive into this take. Last night, Kawhi tallied 8 assists. That’s the first time he has ever notched more than 7 in a single NBA game. For perspective’s sake, Kawhi played college ball against Jimmer Fredette in the Mountain West Conference, so this isn’t his first NBA go-around. LeBron, meanwhile, averaged more than 8 dimes this year, and last night, when he only tallied 4, there were murmurs in my fraternity house that LeBron only dished out 4 assists.
Kawhi was outstanding last night. He neutralized Harden on the defensive end and flat-out got buckets on the other. He led his Spurs to a victory in a must-win Game 2, and for that, I applaud him. I recognize Kawhi as a top-5 player in the league. That’s a consensus opinion.
But, remember, LeBron last night finished with 39 points, 6 boards, 4 dimes, on 10/14 from the field. His team is 6-0 in the playoffs (Spurs are 5-3) and he treats a backcourt tandem of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry like his little cousins.
Here’s my true beef with Skip’s take.
Over the years, I’ve noticed Skip is perpetually biased to the recent. He takes a tiny, recent sample size and blindly extrapolates it to a world truth. This tweet would fall more in line with Bayless’ past if LeBron had dropped Game 2 to Toronto in an ugly fashion, and THEN Kawhi put on the performance that he did against Houston. There, Skip would be using one night to re-write basketball history, which is something he unfortunately does a lot.
But, LeBron had arguably his best game of the postseason! He totaled 39 points on 14 shots, something that had only previously been done once in the playoffs. It was so clear and evident that at 32, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. THAT was the narrative after the Cavs/Raptors game. Skip’s ability to blatantly disregard that narrative and tweet such blasphemy regarding Kawhi’s superiority only 2 hours later is mind-numbingly preposterous.
Again, does Skip actually think this? I don’t think so. He’s a human being with eyes who watches sports – people in that camp generally agree that LeBron is and has always been a man amongst boys.
But, Skip’s ability to have absolutely no shame in tweeting these absolute fire tweets is impressive. Almost as impressive as a grown woman looking me in my 10-year-old eyes and telling me Knoebels is better than Disney World.