Monday, November 24, 2014

God, Coach Todd, and the Stadium Snipers

As you know, I believe every major college and professional sports arena should hire snipers as part of its security force. I used to believe that said snipers should put a bullet between the eyes of any athlete who, after doing something notable or heroic — scoring a touchdown, say, or hitting a home run — points heavenward or drops to one knee with head bowed in acknowledgment of The Divine’s role in the accomplishment. I have now come to recognize my earlier view as extreme, and to believe that the mere threat of assassination might suffice to discourage such appalling displays of self-aggrandizement masquerading as humility. If only one in 20 pointers-at-the-sky is cut down in the prime of life, I suspect it might be enough to put the fear of God (did you see what I did there?) into the other 19.

Only last week Arizona State University football coach Todd Graham, clearly one of the Great Assholes of our age, attributed his team’s last-minute victory over Notre Dame to something very much like “God’s having been with us down there [on the playing field],” presumably as a result of the boys all having gotten down on one knee and mumbled a prayer for victory before the game.

How, I wonder, do such persons not recognize this as obscene?
The God I believe in doesn’t care in the slightest if Arizona State beats Notre Dame. But let’s posit that I’m the one with an inaccurate conception of God. When so many innocents die in agony every day around the world, it it not disgusting that Coach Graham and his players would be distracting Him or Her from their suffering? What sort of person would rather see Arizona fucking State win than see juvenile leukemia eradicated?

I'm well aware of there being another explanation: that God is content to put Her feet up and read the sports section while innocents die in agony because She wants to see how much horror we'll endure before losing our faith. But why didn't She simply create us exactly as She wanted us to be in the first place? A psychotherapist would, between sips of herbal tea, call this dysfunctional. 

Look at it this way. If you had a friend who, in preparation for an interview for a job he really wanted, didn’t shave, didn’t shower, didn’t Dress Appropriately, and showed up reeking of cigarettes, alcohol, and a junkie hooker’s cheap perfume, would you feel lots of sympathy for him? As one who is himself emotionally dysfunctional, I might empathize with him, but i'd more likely just think him a jerk. 

God is believed by the faithful to be omnipotent and omniscient. His or Her having created mankind, by which He or She has been sorely disappointed at every turn, looks to me like the divine version of showing up for a job interview stinking. If you don’t respect your friend the self-sabotaging jobseeker, how can you respect God, who, being omniscient, ought to know better?


My experience with Major Collage Football consists solely of being taunted by the UCLA team for my long hair ("Which one's the girl?" they would wonder loudly as I walked past with my girlfriend), and there are probably around a trillion places I’d sooner have seen Her holy, healing hands than on Coach Graham's goddamned football team.

As one who tutors half a dozen persons who grew up speaking languages other than English, incidentally, I applaud did you see what I did there? having recently replaced the very ambiguous get it? as a request for affirmation that the listener or reader realizes that a joke has just been made. Make a joke or let fly a pun and ask, “Get it?” of one who has grown up speaking Spanish or a West African dialect, and he or she is almost guaranteed to look at you blankly. And there is no more disheartening a sight for a tutor in English than that.

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