Venkataraman: What we should have seen on April Fools’ Day

The magic of April Fools’ Day is that, for a brief span of 24 hours, the line that we draw between fiction and reality becomes quite indistinct. Just yesterday morning, I was told by Google that they were looking for an individual to fill the position of Pokémon Master; needless to say, I spent the day on Google Maps filling out my Pokédex.

Other highlights of the day included a special LinkedIn exclusively for cats, a Cheetos fragrance line, a Virgin America-Nest collaboration that will allow passengers on Virgin America flights to experience luscious climates like “Cancún Afternoon” and “Chicago Polar Vortex,” a new Rosetta Stone software for the esteemed Klingon language and a science article claiming the discovery of the eighth color of the rainbow.

Although news outlets and blogging services have historically had zero qualms about polluting the airwaves and the Internet with a combination of real news and believably unbelievable pranks, alas, the same could not be said about sports. All of the sports RSS feeds I subscribe to sadly produced zero pranks. Even the athletes didn’t bring their A-games: LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins both tried (and failed) to fool folks into thinking they were releasing rap mixtapes, while the Oklahoma football team uninspiringly tweeted that newly converted tight end Blake Bell was switching back to quarterback.

This simply will not do. As such, I feel it is my personal responsibility to make up for this sloppy showing. Without further ado, below are some believably unbelievable April Fools’ Day headlines that ESPN et al should have published yesterday:

1. Tiger Woods Pulls Out of Masters

This is the perfect storm of speculation married to actual facts, since Tiger has already been complaining about the state of his back, and…oh, this happened for real?  Sincerest apologies. In any case, the watchability index of the Masters just went down by a lot.

2. Kobe Reveals He Will Be Back Next Week

At this point, would you put it past Kobe to come back this season? He’s already been to Germany to receive dubious stem-cell therapies, and we all know how desperately he wants to win more “titles” (I think this is a euphemism for trying to catch Kareem on the all-time NBA scoring leaders list). The Lakers are 18.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot, with nine games left in their season. If Kobe goes into gunner mode, that could be on the order of 350 points to add to his career totals! To me, if this headline were real, I wouldn’t at all be shocked. Kobe on the floor is far more entertaining than Kobe in a suit and tie.

3. Rafael Nadal Fires Uncle Toni As Coach

I can see the press release now. Citing irreconcilable differences including, but not limited to choice of attire, a reliance on black-magic superstition (a.k.a. OCD) and a consistent inability to beat Djokovic in tournament finals, Rafael Nadal and his uncle Toni Nadal have decided to part ways. Rafael Nadal, the No. 1 player in the world, stated that last week’s pasting to Djokovic in the Miami Open final was the final straw. Nadal was mum about potential replacements, but speculation has settled on Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Djokovic’s girlfriend.

4. New England Patriots Trade Entire Stockpile of Draft Picks, CB Devin McCourty and Tom Brady’s Jockstrap for DL J.J. Watt

Despite signing Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner at the onset of free agency, the Patriots’ defense remains weak, especially along the defensive line; in fact, the defense has been the team’s biggest weakness for that extended stretch from their last Super Bowl victory to today. In that time, coach Bill Belichick and the front office have been maligned for consistently stockpiling draft picks for the future as opposed to spending them, while Tom Brady’s window of opportunity to win that elusive fourth championship continues to slide slowly closed. At this point, couldn’t you see them making this trade and going all in? Yeah, on second thought, this would never happen in a million years. One can dream on April Fools’ Day, though.

5. FIFA and UEFA Announce That Penalty for Simulation (a.k.a. Diving to Draw Penalties) Has Been Increased to Straight Red Card, Followed By Instant Death

This past weekend’s Champions League matches were unwatchable due to the “Oh, you brushed my leg, I’VE BEEN SHOT” theatrics. Maybe this will finally deter the Ashley Youngs and Arjen Robbens and Neymars of the world.

6. Stanford Daily Columnist Vignesh Venkataraman Renounces His Position As The Lord of Hyperbole

Dream on, world. Dream on.

Vignesh Venkataraman has been scouring the Web for more light-hearted RSS feeds to follow. Send him some suggestions at viggy ‘at’ stanford.edu.