Monday, October 29, 2007

The Sportswriter

Richard Ford had a noble piece in yesterday's edition of Play magazine in The New York Times, about the ceaseless and almost always meaningless chatter that now accompanies sporting events, often concerning story lines that take place entirely off the field:
And I don't buy the game-killing baloney from the sports media, who are forever telling me that I have a "right" to know all this garbage, and that this story just "won't go away," when in fact "they" won't let it go away. Because I certainly never wanted to know any of it and never would, and would be a better human being for not knowing it, would like the game way more without it...

A little earlier in the essay, he also had me wildly nodding my head, until he crashes the car with his parenthetical aside:
I mean, do kids now think highlights are all the game's about? Do they feel comforted — if they ever get taken to the park at all — that there are Lunesta commercials flashed up on the JumboTron between innings, and that for reasons of (I guess) cash flow and whopper players' salaries, the people in charge of sports in America have decided that live games need to look as much like TV as possible? Did any of us ask for this? ... I don’t want to be sappy about all this and wish for a time that'll never come back and that maybe never existed, anyway. But the truth is I love N.B.A. basketball, but I hate going to an N.B.A. game — because of all the dancing girls and the acrobats and the P.A. guy's tumescent, Michael Buffer-ish voice wounding my ears while some citizen in a pink mascot suit does flying dunks off a trampoline every time the timeout whistle blows. (Don't we all hate mascots?)
Oh, Richard.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, for the most part, with the first excerpt. I am generally not interested in all of the side stories, the up-from-the-ghetto-raised-by-grandmama backstories they always fill time with. But some "off-court" stories have relevance to the game (or have fantasy implications). I have been following and enjoying the Kobe-Lakers off-court drama, and that has real implications for several NBA teams (and fantasy squads). So if these outside stories somehow effect the the teams, then I want to know about them.

I disagree with his second excerpt. I hear these same type of complaints from my Dad and others. They get annoyed with the "entertainment" aspects of the modern pro sports game (mascots (!), dance squads, acrobats at time outs, the explosions and laser light show line-up introductions, etc.) I kinda enjoy all of it. I just see it as extras. What the hell else am I gonna do during a time-out? Why not watch some dude do a quadruple flip off a unicycle into a flaming pool of gasoline?


1:02 PM  

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