Monday, February 05, 2007

A Dirty Little Secret

We have never seen a Super Bowl game. In fact, we didn’t even know the annual occasion had rolled ‘round again until we saw a mention of it on the Fox website.

Baron: This was Super Bowl Sunday. Did you know the Colts aren’t in Baltimore anymore?
Dymphna: Where are they?
Baron: I’m not sure. But they played the Super Bowl this year.


Which reminds me of the time I brought the fB to a friend’s house. At the time he was about eight years old and, as you know, hadn’t been exposed to television much. He saw an ad for the Super Bowl and asked me how big this “super” bowl was, because it sure did seem to have a lot of taco chips in it.

Needless to say, our friend was horrified. She warned me against the folly of having the fB grow up ignorant of important cultural events. I’m sure I said something polite at the time. However, now free to hang it out on our blog, I will admit similar sentiments to those of Maverick Philosopher, who calls it “Stupor Bowl Sunday.” Wish I’d thought of that.

Here’s his outlook:

Football I won’t be watching the game. I don’t even know which teams are playing. Undoubtedly there is more to football than I comprehend. But the games are nasty, brutish, but not short, and I know all I need to know about the implements of shaving.

As for the buxom wenches who strut their stuff during the half-time show, the less I stoke the fire below the better.

I am no fan of spectator sports in general. We have too many sports spectators and too many overpaid professional louts. I preach the People’s Sports, despite the leftish ring of that.

Remove your sorry tail from the couch of sloth and start a softball league with your friends and neighbors.

He has a bit more to say about our sloth and indolence, but I’ll leave it to you to go see his final suggestion.

Meanwhile, it’s nice to know we have kindred spirits out there.

Thanks, Bill.

By the way, does anyone remember Andy Griffith’s routine, “What It Was, Was Football”? That about sums up the subject.


[nothing further]

22 comments:

Wally Ballou said...

Every time I feel like I am way out of the cultural mainstream and have no idea what is going on, it makes me feel better to talk to the Baron and St D, or my dear wife Hulla, for that matter (at least on non-blog matters). They make me feel au courant.

Dear hearts, the Baltimore "Bolts" left town 24 years ago.

Personally, I used to like to go to shopping malls or just drive around the beltway dusing the Stupor Bowl, and enjoy the solitude. Now that I live in Dogpatch like you folks, I'm not sure what to do, so I just stayed home and watched movies.

dirty dingus said...

In the gentleman's game played by thugs that the non US part of the world calls football I was pleased to say that the Liverpool-Everton match was a draw. In the thug's game played by gentleman that somewhat resembles what the US calls football the sassenach gave their scotch opponents a righteous kicking.

Both of those matches took place in stadia that did not require some government body to levy a tax upon all and sundry nearby to be built. In fact it amazes me that only in the land of free enterpise do sports teams apparently expect people to build them stadia....

Anonymous said...

I tried to watch it, I really did. I had a job interview today and didn't want to be caught out as a nerd. But I couldn't get through it. Football makes no sense to me. Like the people who look through my telescope at the most sublime celestial objects in creation and just see a dot, I just don't get the attraction. The vaunted commercials were just stupid, unnecessarily violent, and trying to out-outrage one another. The whole thumping, grinding, screaming, flashing event is the embodiment of U.S. popular culture, which I find eminently cringeworthy.

X said...

Ahh, if you want a real spectator sport, try watching a Hurling match. It's irish. It lives up to its name.

Rugby is a close one too. Despite the outward appearance it really is a gentleman's game, with none of the foul language you routinely see in Football these days and none of the over-aggressive nonsense your American rules verion of it seems to insist on.

Aside from that I'm generally indifferent to spactator sports. Although, once you're in a stadium, it's very easy to get involved as part of the crowd. There's something about being there that seems to make to different. Football (or soccer if you prefer) has no real draw for me, except for one occasion when I ws convinced to see a match live. I can see why people can become so heavilly involved in these sports. It just doesn't have the same impact on TV though...

Dymphna said...

Archonix--

You have a good point: seeing a game in person can be enthralling. Watching the ballet of '70's Boston Celtics basketball, or the frolics of the same era Boston Bruins (ice hockey) was fun.

OTOH, one game a season was plenty.

I loved playing basketball as a kid. I was on a city league and had the culture shock of my sheltered grade school life when another girl made, shall we say, a rude gesture at me as we ran down the court. It stopped me in my tracks -- which was her intention.

Yes, sports are indeed educational.

talnik said...

"hurling...lives up to its name" Great line!!
When we were dating my wife (girlfriend at the time) would introduce me to her friends and say "and he doesn't like football!" to which they would all reply "ooh" and "ahh" and "any more like him at home?" and "where can I get one?"!

Baron Bodissey said...

Wally --

I guess I've been out of touch. Is Johnny Unitas still their quarterback?

Dymphna said...

talnik:

That was definitely a selling point with me re the Baron. That, and the fact that he didn't own a TV.

Sterling qualities in a human being.

West Coast.604 said...

Like the American college football game from which it sprung, NFL football is a descendant of rugby football, which was imported to the United States from Canada in 1874, and then transformed into American college football after McGill University in Montreal invited Harvard University to Quebec to play a new Canadian version of "rugby football".

Vicktorya said...

oh gosh. As the Baron and Dymphna, know, I DO like Teee Veee. I think it is a powerful medium, and even if we don't LIKE it, it is potent and reaches a lot of folks. I have it on most all the time, and usually I watch FOX, or BBC, or CNN (International), or Discovery Channel, or National Geographic, or History Channel. I like it. (I also have been known to watch Desperate Housewives, and Friends.) Ok, I live alone (with cats), and such is the life of a very undesperate semi-hermit who is quite plugged in.

I've lived outside the States for 10 years now. And I have been exposed to a lot of rugby, whether I like it or not (and I don't too much, although of course the All Blacks are the coolest. I mean, who can top the haka?) But here in the upsidedownunderland of the kiwi's Godzone (which is NOT Australia), I have noticed that, this year at least, I had a hankering for 'grid iron'. I went so far as to call my cable company and ask them how I could 'easily get to watch the Superbowl'. I was told, simply, that I already had ESPN on my account, and that would cover it. My goodness, I didn't even surf to THAT channel. But on Superbowl Sunday (which was my Monday) I did. I watched it, well, most of it, and I was very happy to see a ball passed FORWARD (which is something you don't see in rugby, or in football -- er, I mean soccer -- which is much more prevalent than grid iron. Of course.) But this game wasn't exciting to me. I tried to be enthused, and I still do long for the long bomb and a perfect catch. That is stunning athletics.

But bottom line, now that I know that ESPN is on my regular channels, I watch figure skating.

Ok, call me a girl. It's beautiful, and athletic. And, whether I watch it again or not, I'm glad the Super Bowl and grid iron exists and I hope it will last. Johnny Unitas, yes, of course -- he's still playing, Baron. He and Joe Namath.

Now, if I can find the Formula One and Rock Climbing Channel, I'll really be in gear.

thanks for the mundane posts -- good relief from all the 'normal' terrorist trauma we deal with each hour,
Vicktorya

Subvet said...

My former brother-in-law was a die hard football fanatic. Claimed it was "American" and "manly". His hype got old one Thanksgiving and I told him it was the great American game of homosexual tag. I then proved it by noting it's the only sport that dresses it's players in tight padding that exaggerates their bulk. Plus it's a game with "tight ends", "wide receivers" and everyone is always patting each other on the butt.

Since I'd played as an offensive tackle in school while he went out for track he really didn't know how to answer that one.

And IMHO soccer is a much more demanding sport. Played it for one summer, WOW, what a workout!

Captain USpace said...

At least the Bears won't be beaten for losing...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
outlaw all sports

at least beat the losers
make them kick concrete ball
.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

You all of course realise that European football is just an excuse for hooliganism. The British refer to it as "The Beautiful Game", but anyone who has ever had the misfortune of running into a pack of Millwall fans can definitively say otherwise.

There should have been rumbles outside the stadium with colts and bears fan clubs kicking ten pints of crap out of each other, following by running street battles with the police across town. That we Europeans could at least understand.

Archonix mentions "rugby" and "gentlemen". I understand that of the two rugby codes (rugby league and rugby union) one is a sport for gentlemen played by thugs, while the other is a sport for thugs played by gentlemen. No idea which is which, but one must certainly appreciate a sport where stomping repeatedly with spiked boots on the other fellow trapped beneath a scrum is considered somewhat unsporting.

And what the f*** is hurling? Is that like lacrosse, and do they rent black strippers for the after game parties?

X said...

No idea which is which, but one must certainly appreciate a sport where stomping repeatedly with spiked boots on the other fellow trapped beneath a scrum is considered somewhat unsporting.

It's no accident that Ruby Football was born in the Public School environment of, oddly enough, Rugby. Read Tom Brown's Schooldays for more info. And then read the Flashman series for a look at it from the other side.

Now, as for your other comment, the truth is that Rugby is the game for thugs played by gentlemen and football is the game for gentlemen played by thugs. And, of course, cricket is the game for everyone, played by nobody and wacthed by their friends, but that's by the by. At least in Rugby the players aren't treated like gods.

Now, Hurling is to Lacrosse as chess is to pounding rocks together. It's an ancient game, has no professional leagues at all - or indeed professional players, most of the time - and is the one place where the catholic/protestant divide sort of breaks down in Ireland.

Of course superficially it looks quite violent, seeing as the players use a large wooden paddle called a Hurley to whack, carry or throw a fairly hard ball around a field. It isn't used for hitting other players, though poking is allowed, but no swinging it like an axe as that might actually kill someone. It's more entertaining than football, that's for sure.

The rules are very strict, though, and while it's possible to get injured it's a lot less likely. Players tend to be more honourable than footballers.

Wally Ballou said...

Baron - Yeah, and you should see him toddling over to the huddle with his walker.

Baron Bodissey said...

Wally --

Actually, it was bad form for me to pick ol' Johnny as an example. See this.

Wally Ballou said...

I should have Googled - I actually suspected that. I guess that means he can't be quarterback any more - unless he tranfers to the Redksins.

TheManTheMyth said...

OK, folks--love your blog but must say I sense a bit of elitism/overcompensation going on here. For my part, I can truthfully state that no one appreciates the site of Saturn's rings through a good telescope more than I (got my first refractor at nine years old--and can still see the rings and Jupiter's four big moons in my mind's eye like it was yesterday). I am also a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who plays Chopin and had read Gibbon and Durant twice over as well as Voltaire's entire opus by the time I was 16 years old. I've never seen a single episode of "Friends." And I love American football (admittedly I more partial to the college version these days). No other sport that I know of comes close to combining the complicated strategy and tactics, athletic ability, grace, fury, and pure "manly" power of American football. No other sport is so entirely dependent on working effectively as a team (one or two great baseball players or basketball players can ensure success for a franchise--not so in football). And I also see absolutely nothing remotely wrong with scantily-clad young females! If you're going to eschew the game on the basis that it is dominated by thugs, of course (an entirely defensible position), you're also going to have to eschew all American sports and 90% of American popular culture. I can certainly understand and appreciate someone not being into the game (the European fascination with soccer is simply beyond my ability to comprehend) but avoiding the Super Bowl is not, methinks, necessarily a sign of intellectual superiority as some here seem to think. And besides, I think Islam must be destroyed.

Evan said...

But bottom line, now that I know that ESPN is on my regular channels, I watch figure skating.
Ok, call me a girl. It's beautiful, and athletic.


So is football, if you know what to look for. A perfect 40-yard pass that splits two defenders, the middle linebacker and quarterback playing ten seconds of chess as they call signals and rearrange players before the snap, a truly well-designed game plan that neutralizes the weaknesses of a heavy favorite, a terrific spin move, the Boise St. Statue of Liberty, these things are all beautiful in the sense of being the highest forms of human achievement. It is admittedly brutal, but so are business competition, statecraft, and many other human activities that, when done well, elicit our admiration.

Those of us who watch sports (without, to be sure, watching it to excess) do it for the same reasons we listen to great music or view a great painting - because at its highest levels it pushes the limit of what humans can do. Sports, like these things, are beautiful.

Wally Ballou said...

themanthemyth - Count me out as thinking that avoiding the "Stupor" Bowl is a sign of intellectual superiority (not an invariable sign anyway, although I suspect some slight statistical correlation). Some of us just aren't interested. The Olympics puts me to sleep, too, but I can certainly understand why many intelligent and cultured people would appreciate sport. Just not all of us.

The Baron and Dymphna are a special case, since they eschewed TV altogether for many years. I'm sure that made them, and certainly the FB, better off on balance.

TheManTheMyth said...

Well--I certainly would never suggest that being interested in the game is a sign of intellectual SUPERIORITY, if that's what you mean! :-)

Dymphna said...

I didn't think intellectual superiority or education had anything to do with this. Maverick Philosopher has his many post-doctoral awards, and is certainly my intellectual superior, but our indifference to TV football is something we share.

Elitist? Harvard Law is elitist #1...or maybe #2, after Yale...me, I went to a little ol'school down the road from Harvard Square: Framingham State. The student body was comprised mostly of the children of blue collar workers and these kids were often the first in their families to go to college.

Nope, no elitists here. Unless reading Pogo is elitist.