Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Sports Hysteria, Redux

""Football is a game for trained apes. That, in fact, is what most of the players are — retarded gorillas wearing helmets and uniforms. The only thing more debased is the surrounding mob of drunken monkeys howling the gorillas on.""
[Edward Abbey]

It’s Fall, and that means Football, sports fans. The Mafia-ball Baseball season has not yet completed its cycle, however--and basketball and hockey are just around the corner. In the spectator democracy of the USA, fans are provided with some form of “Ball” each and every season of the year. Of course, newpapers and media are promoting this season’s gridiron “prospects” as usual. Beer corporations move their product at gallons per second. Coaches, official 'Merican role models, bark their pep rally oratory. Cheerleaders, bimbo trophy wives-to-be (unless they get too skanky and fit only for....Vegass-land), work up fight songs for their gridiron heroes! And the local public high schools have new gangs of thugs ready to WIN. The private “Christian” high schools are contenders as well. Rah rah shish boom bah for Jee-sus, the greatest pro of ‘em all.

Coaches may sentimentally claim that “the important thing is that you do your best,” but what really counts to them is winning. That’s what sports at all levels, pro. or varsity, teaches: Victory at any cost--useful training for creating obedient, robotic soldiers as well as go-getter alpha capitalists. Celebrity athletes make the big bucks by being the baddest, most violent players on the field. It's rather questionable that's an attribute we should be instilling in our youth.

More respect should be given to the student who wins the science fair, or to the chess club champion, or the math or French honors student. Solving trigonometry problems--or mastering Fischer's variation of the Ruy Lopez--requires more skills and is more useful to both society--even dare we say the Military--and to the individual than being a great free throw shooter or running back. Reasonable humans should have much greater respect for an Anatoly Karpov or Bertrand Russell than for Mark MacGuire or Deion Sanders, or their coach-buffoons. Dick Buttkis, vaya a perdido.

8 comments:

Joel said...

What wrong with knowing how to win? It will come in handy when the space aliens invade. So who's your pick for the super bowl?

J said...

We will win only via superior technology, materiel, and tactics--not because of thug-power. Winning in football depends mainly on brute force. Even baseball requires a bit more skill and finesse.

Winning in chess, on the other hand, requires greater intellectual power, knowledge of strategy, competence. Mere brute force does not count for much, and usually results in a loss. A military with superior materiel and tech. will nearly always outdo a massive but low-tech infantry, however brutal that sounds. One supercarrier is probably worth a hundred infantry divisions.

Football's boring as F. as well. It's one of the idols of the tribe--and really, athletic depts control academia, from big unis to yokel high schools.

Joel said...

I think you hinted at it with the "tribe" comment. Football and most other sports is about feeling a connection with your tribe. It's especially effective for right-wingers who think anything smacking of community is evil. They get to have their tribalism kick without realizing they're no better than commies.

J said...

Football's right-wing, believe it--strictly commercial.

It was started by spartan-like jocks. Vince Lombardi supported Nixon, and hated the new left.

Community can be right-wing as well--like say a community of Mormons--=even ones who vote Demo (and sell cool Subluxated pens). Or gangsters. Or a Rotary club meeting. Right wingers are not all caucasian, for that matter. Like Mr Steele, ChairHomie of the GOP. I bet he's an NFL fan.

Even some rednecks might be closer to leftist or anti-corporate values than suburban liberals (as some Counterpunchers--and Ed Abbey-- realize)

CharleyCarp said...

I'm not really a football fan -- baseball is my spectator sport these days -- but I think you sell short the critical mental aspects of the game. Brute force is important, sure. But at the NFL level, they're all strong, and all athletically able. What separates winning teams from losing teams are superior tactical planning -- reading the opposing team's weaknesses on each play -- and maintaining focus.

I never used to believe about football that it was as much of a mental game as baseball or golf. But a few examples turned me around: the way the Oakland Raiders lost heart, and the playoff "Snow Bowl" against the Pats, after what they thought was a bad call; the way Parcells had the Cowboys playing way beyond their capability his first year in Dallas.

(The other thing that changed my mind about football is a book my cousin wrote about playing a season of semi-pro ball in Boston. Humanized the players very well. Just Kick It it's called.)

J said...

I don't deny that football (and any pro sport) requires superb athletic abilities, and tactical thinking of some sort. Baseball seems to involve a higher level of skills and technique, however. Golf and tennis as well. Even boxing.

I'm opposed to the professionalism, and to the corporate aspects, the hyper-inflated salaries that jocks bring in, and the influence pro-sports has on society. It's a type of craze, really--not quite as appalling as celebrity worship, but close. For that matter, American pro-sports has for years been tied to the mob and gambling. (I have a few rants relating to sports and the mafia on here).

And really the NFL (National Felon League) bothers me--gets my irish up. So does the NBA (National Bruthas Asso.)

CharleyCarp said...

Not sure I agree about boxing, Dr. J.

J said...

Effective punching combinations take some work, Sir Carp. It's not a real elegant sport, but sort of real. Building up the stamina for a 10 round bout requires a great deal of road work.

When done correctly via Marquess of Queensbury rules, boxing also seems sort of honorable: the fighters' weights have to be close (unlike say some 350 lb lineman vs a 200 receiver), as are ages.

Boxing may now be as corrupt as any pro-sport, but pugilists earn their shekels, usually (at least when not biting off someone's ear). Or they did back in the days of Dempsey.

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