If you’ve ever aspired to become the night editor for the Tonawanda News — Google’s #3 search result for persons seeking “Tawana Brawley news” — but felt you lacked the necessary journalistic chops or interesting point of view, cheer up! John Hopkins (above) has that very position and yesterday sought to entertain his paper’s two dozen readers with a commentary pledging a year’s abstinence from ESPN.  Is this writer mentally insane?  Is his television set broken? Is he allergic to the charms of John Kruk Michelle Beadle Eric Mangini? Though the jury is still out on a couple of those questions, Hopkins — a devout fan of professional hockey — complains, “if there’s two things of which ESPN has an abundance, it’s basketball and college sports. Ugh.”   Hey, fuck off, Red Smith!

Basketball, simply, doesn’t excite me. The game is played by highly talented people who demonstrate tremendous hand-eye coordination. Still, I can’t identify with the excitement, except at March Madness time, and even then I probably wouldn’t watch as closely if I didn’t participate in the office pool.

As for college sports in general, I’m not interested. I like the pro game, and we’re never going to hear from probably 90 percent of the NCAA Division-1 athletes after they graduate, so I don’t want to invest the time.

Besides, Division 1 athletes — especially in football and basketball — are mostly paid athletes without the colleges and NCAA admitting it. They are the American version of the “amateur” athletes fielded by the Soviet Red Army in the Olympics for several decades. They worked for the army and were paid an army salary but their only “job” was to play sports. Yet they were “amateurs.”