Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another Weekend Sports Rant

ESPN is all a-buzz this morning about the fact that just as Tiger Wood was about to make a shot yesterday, a photographer took a photo, causing his camera to click in a way that may have distracted the World No. 1, and may ultimately cause his 2010 earnings to be only 75,000 times yours or my own, rather than 75,020. I was struck yet again by the fact that in the posh white sports, the country club sports — golf and tennis — onlookers are expected to maintain reverential silence, whereas in sports played by the rabble — basketball and football, the international kind — it’s expected that at game-deciding moments the crowd will scream themselves hoarse, wave banners, and blow with all their might into their vuvuzelas.

And let’s be honest — not just game-deciding moments, but moments that may determine whether a young athlete lives or dies; in some of the hotter-blooded countries, young footballers who’ve missed crucial penalty kicks have been assassinated. And if they’re not gunned down, they have to expect that for the rest of their lives people will spit on their shoes in disgust when they’re introduced.

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. How much money does anybody need? Why can’t one of these guys just once, instead of putting on a hair shirt to appease their corporate benefactors, say what they really think about having been caught with their dicks in a bunch of sluts? How about, instead of enrolling in classes that will supposedly cure him of his sex addiction, Tiger says, “Like most heterosexual men my age, I really love pussy, and variety too. Luscious young hotties of a sort who wouldn’t even talk to ordinary guys are likely to keep making themselves available to me because I’m fantastically rich, and fantastically good at a sport a lot of other men play, and I’m likely to keep shooting them full of hot frothy semen, so deal with it.” As I’ve said in these pages before, I think Nike and Chicken of the Sea and all the others would probably fire him as their spokesperson, but countless million of American men would think more highly of him than ever for being forthright.

While we’re here, I object to golfers being referred to as athletes. I was about to write that only sportsmen whose opponents are actively trying to confound and even humiliate — a defensive lineman who tries to take off a quarterback’s end, for instance, or a pitcher who tries to blow a 96-mile-per-hour fastball past a batter — qualify as athletes, but that would leave out gymnasts and sprinters and so on, so I’ll keep my mouth shut.

But it will open again as I address the herd mentality that’s so prevalent in sports. I would bet my last cent that if, in 1995, you’d told professional footballers, for instance, that they’d commemorate one another’s terrific plays by jumping up and bumping chests in midair, they’d have taken your head off for impeaching their sexuality.

I have been watching the Little League World Series with interest. I just love when the team from Chinese Taipei (as opposed to what, Peruvian Taipei?) humiliates American teams, because the American boys remind me so vividly of those who picked me begrudgingly for their teams at school when I too was 12. Weep, Jared, weep!

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