Wednesday, January 23, 2008

An Unnatural Act

Last week I implied that the Bush administration was less than truthful to the public in the period preceding the Iraq invasion/occupation. Yesterday it was reported that a group had actually sat down to try and put a number on these untruths. I'm not sure how many calculator batteries they burned up, but the final number of "misstatements" was a mind-blowing 935 during a two year period. By any standard, that's a lot of whoppers. Maybe we should see which GOP candidate is first to renounce this great cascade of mendacity. On second thought, don't hold your breath.

In fact, let's talk about something else. In case you were locked in solitary confinement over the weekend, you know the teams are set for the next Super Bowl a week from Sunday. Parties are being planned, TV commercials fine-tuned, bets made and revenue to one and all anticipated. This is where I timidly raise one hand to say what few are brave enough to admit - football is an unnatural act, and I don't much like the NFL, though I consider myself a sports fan.
The human body is designed to do certain things easily. Walking, talking, running (at a reasonable speed on an unobstructed path), even throwing and catching a ball. Football is more like a series of violent collisions, any one of which might land you on the DL (disabled list) for weeks or forever.
The NFL is a good living financially, but the employees, I mean players, have a playing life that's nasty, brutish and short. The average career runs all of four years, and each year the players seem to get bigger, stronger and faster. Something has to give, and that something is human body parts, especially those in the lower body. On days they bring in retired players to wave at the crowds, you see lots of canes.
I'm willing to give the League some credit. They put on some great games. I don't think, however, that the games are somehow more dramatic when they are played in sub-zero weather conditions. No doubt they are more painful, and frozen ground is even less forgiving than the regular turf. But the rules are set up in such a way as to encourage tight games. The outcomes usually depend on the success of just a few prominent names among the hundred odd players taking part.
There is huge gambling interest which the League both profits from and tries to deny has any impact. I don't believe, however, that any games could be successfully fixed without being discovered. They certainly could get the games completed without sexy cheerleaders on the sidelines, but I don't want to be accused of prudery since I'm pretty hip - for an old guy.
There's one more thing in the nature of the game that I dislike. The physical contact increases the tendency to want to "get back" against someone who may have clobbered you on a play. I think this is a trait that's overplayed in the US and spills over into movies, TV, neighborhoods and schools, and even families. It almost as if the Christians were given another chance later in the season to get "payback" against the favored Lions. Maybe every country needs semi-violence of some kind as a kind of national stress reliever, but that doesn't make it good.
Think I'll put my hand down now. Look for it again this time next year.


Anonymous Jake said...


7:21 AM  

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