You and I both know that Skip Bayless is a robot living in a human body and that you can’t believe much that comes out of his mouth or in writing. You and I both know that he’d say whatever it takes to make his employer a dime. You and I both know that he’s a weirdo carnival barker that can’t possibly be living an enjoyable life, even with the giant pile of f-you money.
That’s why I’m skeptical of the mini-autobiography he published Tuesday on Facebook. Keep in mind that Skip is 67 and included extremely detailed memories like, “When I was 4, my mother told my father to get me my first bike, I think for my birthday. He bought me a dull-green girl’s bike, explaining to my mother that he didn’t want me slipping off the seat and injuring my testicles on the bar of a boy’s bike.”
Ok, Skip. It’s unclear why Skip got all of this off his chest, but it might give you a little bit of insight into the brain of this maniac. Dig in and see what kind of possible fabrication you can find. Don’t forget, Skip was busted a couple years back lying about his high school basketball career. And don’t forget that Skip was once caught praising himself on a Facebook Live where he forgot to switch to a burner account.
I was “raised” by an evil creep of an alcoholic father and a self-absorbed mother who eventually fell to the bottom of the bottle herself.
Now, when I read about an athlete who grew up without a father, I wish I had. Now, when I read about the single mother who loved her future-star son so much she worked three jobs while playing mother and father, I wish I’d had that mother. Not once did either parent ever ask how I was doing in sports or school or tell me they loved me. I was amused by the recent social-media controversy over how Tom Brady encouraged his son to kiss him on the mouth. I couldn’t have imagined either of my parents ever kissing me period.
My upbringing is why I can’t completely condemn LaVar Ball. At least he loves his sons to a fault.
Yet understand, I’m looking for no sympathy here. In a crazy way, I was blessed.
Neither of my parents wanted kids. My mother admitted this to me much later in my life. My mother Levita was pressured to have three kids by her mother, Gladys, a domineering red-headed force in Levita’s life. My mother was the youngest of three and Gladys’ lone daughter, so the pressure probably tripled on her to produce grandchildren.
I was Levita’s first born. My father John went along with whatever my mother wanted, even three kids, because he knew how lucky he was to have her. My father, from a fatherless home in little Okmulgee, Okla., up near Tulsa, walked into the bank in which my mother worked as a teller, somehow convinced her to go on a date and soon talked her into marrying him. That was a bigger upset than 18-point underdog Notre Dame ending the Oklahoma Sooners’ record 47-game winning streak in Norman in 1957 … the first game I ever attended.
Many times I asked my mother why she chose my father and all I got was he “looked like Paul Newman,” that they had a strong physical attraction, and (in her often blind view) he could be a good man when he wasn’t drinking … which was pretty much never. My mother was a baffling blend of street smart and naïve, a tough businesswoman with a touch of dumb blonde.
Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to live Skip’s life. To always be the troll 24/7 because at this point it’s too late to act like you have a legitimate soul inside your body. I wonder if the money is really worth it. It can’t possibly be enjoyable to constantly be playing the role of a contrarian for the sake of a Nielsen rating.
I also find myself wondering what Skip’s home life is like. Does he have a dog? Does his wife — mentions in the Facebook post that he’s married — sit there and ask Skip if he would mind watching House Hunters?
I live to compete, to test myself under fire. My wife Ernestine cannot understand this but she agreed from the start, 13 years ago, to share me with my obsession (career) and my addiction (exercise). She is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. She often saves me from myself. She doesn’t love sports but she continues to love me in ways that astound me.
I love you, Ernestine. You taught me to love something other than myself. You taught me to trust, even a little.