Poop Goes The Sports Figure

Catalonia has a rich culture, distinct from the rest of Spain. It has bestowed upon visitors the restful beaches of Barcelona, delectable mar i muntanya ('sea and mountain') cuisine and, of course, tiny statues of little pooping people placed in nativity scenes at Christmas.

Confused? Then read about the caganer, a traditional statue that shows a peasant, ahem, returning food to the earth in the most time-honored way possible. They've been around for hundreds of years, and only recently has pop culture made an incursion into caganer construction.

From the Wikipedia entry: "The Catalans have modified this tradition somewhat since the 1940s. In addition to the traditional caganer design, you can easily find other characters assuming the caganer position, such as nuns, devils, Santa Claus, celebrities, athletes, historical figures, politicians, Spanish royalty, and other famous people past and present, including Pope John Paul II, Salvador Dalí, prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Princess Letizia and even Osama bin Laden."

Sadly, I couldn't find you a picture of the caganer Osama bin Poopin (although you can buy the President and the Pope).

Yet I thought I heard someone say "athletes" ... so I sought out what was available, and found one blogger's jaw-dropping if meager collection of caganers here. What leaps out at you about me about these pictures -- other than the obvious "Where is Najeh Davenport?" -- is the color of the discharge in question.

Remember in Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Welcome to the Monkey House," where all the males urinated blue because of genital-numbing pills they were forced to pop? It seems these statues are taking related medication, or the caganer's diet is rich in beta carotene. That scat is colored like Bobby Kielty's hair.

Furthermore, the caganer canon sadly appears to not include many athletes we'd recognize in the U.S. Spanish forward Pau Gasol, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, and Ronaldinho are basically it.

Miraculously, the available statues don't include any athletes from the Twin Cities. In honor of the upcoming holiday season, I set out to rectify this oversight. Pictures after the jump.

JOE MAUER Leading off: Joe Mauer. Forget about bobbleheads and replica jerseys. Hand these out at the ol' ballyard, and you'll have yourselves a promotion. While living overseas, one of my favorite things to do was try to explain to non-native English speakers that calling something "shit" was bad, but calling something "the shit" was good. Twins marketing people, your copy writes itself for this one. Stencil it on the front of the caganer: "Joe Mauer is the shit."

KEVIN MCHALE Garbage In, Garbage Out. You eat the Joe Smith contract, you excrete a bare draft cupboard. Eat crow and trade Kevin Garnett, excrete a team that has two wins so far this season. At least he's contributed to what might be the Celtics' next championship team. No, wait, that's not good -- that's another reason we're affixing his image to the pooper. Look at that face, too: McHale is perhaps our most enthused caganer.

Poop Goes The Sports Figure

RASHAD MCCANTS Ever heard the expression "built like a brick shithouse"? McCants' penchant for shooting first and asking questions later may soon have him in the doghouse, though comparatively few of his shots are bricks. One of the few players on the Wolves capable of igniting an offense, the North Carolina product's teammates have historically been heard grumbling about play perceived as selfish. It's entirely possible, though, that McCants doesn't give a shit.

Poop Goes The Sports Figure

PAT WILLIAMS Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams is a large, large man. More coarse writers would imply that this means he could clog a commode the way he clogs the interior line against the run. But we're more genteel, more classy than that, so we'll take a different route. Put this statue in your nativity scene, and we guarantee no demonic invaders will try to sully the Baby Jesus. Big Pat will put a sack on Satan, then ... well, poop on him, I guess. (Genteel and classy lasts one sentence or so in a post about dookie.)

NORMAN GREEN Norm Green isn't a local figure anymore. But next fall will mark the 15th anniversary of the last big metaphorical dump he took on Twin Cities sports fans by moving the North Stars. Eh, who needs them? We've got the Wild, and Norm now has his own personal shit statue.

DEREK BOOGAARD On the topic of the Wild: the world needs a Derek Boogaard caganer. I should not have to explain this.

Poop Goes The Sports Figure

Am I worried that the mountainous hockey enforcer will take exception to this portrayal? That the six-foot, seven-inch, 250 pound Boogeyman will object to my having placed his likeness atop a defecating statue? Sure, but I live by this Catalan pre-meal proverb: "menja bé, caga fort i no tinguis por a la mort!" (Eat well, shit strong and don't be afraid of death!).

Carve that on my tombstone. Or at least on my own personal caganer.

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