The clock is ticking down. A championship is on the line. The players take their positions, and … Whoa! Did that dude just pick his nose?
The answer to this and many other pressing athletic questions can be found at Mocksession.com, a collection of the weirdest, funniest, and most esoteric screengrabs and video clips captured from televised sports. The creation of 33-year-old Ohio native Tim Burke, Mocksession now offers more than 12,500 images, 500 animated GIFs, and hundreds of videos. It’s a must-follow for those who want to see professional athletes doing hilarious things: Bong-smoking Olympic champion Michael Phelps looking high at a baseball game, a Cardinal seeming to spit in an umpire’s face, and, yes, a University of Oregon wide receiver picking his nose during the last seconds of the National Championship game.
Burke founded the site in 2006 while working on his PhD in communication studies at the University of South Florida. He was trying to focus on his dissertation but kept getting distracted by his obsession with the Tampa Bay Rays. In an effort to follow the ball game and be productive at the same time, he hooked up a TV tuner to his computer so he could watch while he worked.
But this just produced another obsession: capturing absurdities that the highlight reels missed. The more he watched, the more he saw fleeting oddities moving by at the speed of broadcast: baseball viewed through a smashed-out camera lens, announcers in matching gaudy blazers, teammates flashing secret hand signals, hockey players knocked into next month. The thing to do, of course, was to share these finds with the world.
Burke’s preoccupation has led him to a new gig—video coordinator at SportsGrid.com. Meanwhile, Mocksession pulls in more than 100,000 uniques per month. That’s not to say it’s all victory laps from here on out. For starters, Burke has to deal with the constant banning of his YouTube accounts. So far, he’s burned through five or six. “ESPN leaves me alone,” he says. “CBS, though, has been responsible for two or three accounts getting banned.” But Burke is unstoppable, as long as there are humans, televised sports, and boogers.