Archive for the ‘sports’ Category
Well, a good night last night. Within the course of an hour or so I was a) recruited to pitch for a London baseball team and b) took enthusiastic part in a (re)new(ed) occupation at my university.
The personal and the political, as it were. I know where my glove is, but I hope I can find my cleats…. And hope the rotator cuff doesn’t blow five minutes in….
Interesting, special disaffinity for watching sports with other people, listening to people talk about sports, having people in my living room while I am trying to watch sports, and so on. Not sure what it is. Best guess is that in my line of work you don’t often meet people who, like me, devoted (were made to devote?) approximately 90 percent of their mental and psychological life to a game for that extended period of time that is often called childhood.
Especially don’t like people who, while watching sports in my living room, make snarky comments about the size of my television and the grandeur of my satellite television package. Ah academia. When I first got to Ivy League PhD Institution, the first set of friends that we had covered their television with a table cloth when people were over. Not in Cardinal, Ontario or Memphis, Tennessee anymore, we kiddies realized! Said tablecloth didn’t apparently stop them from coming over to my place to watch Wimbledon (wtf?) on my cable when tennis was in the summer air.
The total count of people with whom I don’t mind watching sports totals three: my wife (she’s been well trained in the art, we used to hold partial bleacher season tickets at Yankee Stadium mind you, and by the end had moved up into the insanity of the front rows…), my father, and as it turned out during the volcano, SEK.
Story. When my wife and I were first together, back in, yep, high school, she came to a game that I pitched against one of the Oranges. Can’t remember which one it was, though pretty sure it wasn’t West Orange. Sat in the stands with my father. (Looking back, wow, way to take one for the team, dearest…) I took a no-hitter through six (high school games were only seven innings long), fucking them up with sliders, until some kid plinked a single off of me with one out in the seventh. Shit. I would have made the Daily Record, or even the vaunted Ledger, the next day if I’d pulled it off.
Anyway, I was afterward supra-surly and, really, cussish when I got off the field. She didn’t understand at the moment, but I think in the long run (how long-term couples work, I suppose) this moment earned me a lifetime of overloud and vaguely Nova Scotian Goddammits while watching things on TV. That’s mostly the sort of talking that I do, and prefer to do, while I watch this stuff rather than discussing the reasons and costs behind my blinged out, sorta white trash media center in the center of the most used room in the house. Which I have because, unlike the rest of the freeloaders, yes, I admit that I like to watch vast quantities of sports on the weekends, feel deprived if I cannot watch them because of subscription issues, and as of lately, yep, like to watch them in HD.
The English guy doing hockey for the BBC coverage of the Olympics can’t stop himself from commenting on every dropped stick or abandoned glove. He’s absolutely spellbound by equipment loosed from its owner. This fascinated me too… when I was six years old and my father would take me regularly to New Jersey Devils games. My father refused to respond and so I quickly learned, rightly, to stop talking about it. It’s not important.
I should have called the BBC last week and offered my services. I’ve been told I have a lovely radio voice, and I suppose the loveliness would hold for television. I promise, unlike the guys they have doing it, I’d even learn the names of the players for both teams. Some German skates over, tries to take the puck from Crosby, oooo look there! Someone’s dropped their stick! That’s going to interfere with play! Someone’s going to trip if they’re not careful! And there’s another German, skating around with the puck and trying to shoot it into the net….
But I’ll admit that I’m happy to be watching it at all, and on my computer no less, when in an unreceptive country. But some of my earliest memories involve trying to get to sleep at night with the calm cadences of the hockey broadcasts my father was watching in the living room dully droning through my bedroom door… And so I’m sensitive to wrongness on this front.
… and it looks like the Canadians will be playing Russia tomorrow, which purists know is more important and more interesting than when they play the USA.
Dammit! Not only am I suffering from the taped-tv contingency-failure issue described in my previous post, but even worse: there are so many ways that I am notified about just about everything that happens in the world, that it is almost impossible to keep myself in the dark about the Yankees score until I have time to watch my recorded telecast.
A few days ago, it was my iGoogle homepage with its NYT feed. This morning, things went to hell even faster. Rolled over to check my iPhone’s inboxes, and there was the NYT alert. I’m not sure it’s even worth trying to do what I am trying to do.
With distance increases also the banalizing reach of the twittering infrosources, systematically worming through the world and its information to turn any remaining shreds of romance to into a mere final score.
Achille Mbembe, a professor writing in Cape Town’s Sunday Independent newspaper, gave a withering assessment of the problems to be overcome. ‘The biggest threat to 2010 is the anaemic state of the national football team,’ he wrote. ‘Hiring and firing coaches almost on a yearly basis won’t do. The weakness is structural and historical. Contrary to the major African football powerhouses (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast), South Africa does not have a single player of international calibre plying his trade for one of the major European clubs.’
I love finding things like that! You know, Achille Mbembe, the author of things like that paper on necropolitics that everyone was reading a few years ago… Makes me feel a wee bit better about my long-standing and probably unbreakable habit of reading the sports section first!
Photographic Reinforcement of Why This Year Will be the First in Two Decades that I Do Not Attend a Single Yankee Game
I’m not quite ready to cheer for the Sox, but the Yanks are wearing out their welcome me-wise.
To be quite honest, I had partial season tickets in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium the last two seasons. But I couldn’t take it anymore. Paramount among other things: the homophobic cheers that the stadium guards ignore – while they eject fans for racist slurs. If they had a uniform policy for the two (spew whatever filth you want / spew no filth at all), I wouldn’t be blaming the team for it… But…
In short, no Yanks for me this year.
Dead horse, the commercialization of the Olympics. It gets to like “Who cares…” after awhile. But this, for sure, is a new low – at least if it is what I think it is.
Costas was just interviewing Michael Phelps after he won yet another event, 100 meter butterfly I think it was. Six golds, Mark Spitz, all the rest. Seems like a nice enough guy, in a mildly dumb jock sort of way. And then this, complete non-sequitur:
Costas: Five seconds. What did you have for breakfast this morning. We’ve seen those big stacks of pancakes and Egg McMuffins.
Phelps: Ah, no… Nothing big this morning.
Costas: Light this morning?
Phelps: Light this morning. This morning it was just some oatmeal and some fruit. But tomorrow morning it will be McDonalds for sure.
Seems to me like the not quite invisible hand of product placement has had a touch in this, no? Just out of nowhere, turning the topic to breakfast like that, toward McMuffins and lobbing it up for Phelps to hit it, as it were, over the Golden Arches. And weirder, the thought that NBC and Costas and Phelps and McDs were all in on it together…
I guess it might be inspired by the whole Superbowl / “I’m goin’ to Disneyworld” awfulness. But what’s next? Maurice Greene giving us the old “Tomorrow night, I’ll be watching Scrubs on Fox. Oh yah!”
(BTW – have to give the wife props for this one. She spotted it dozing off in bed in the next room…)