Rollin' Like Sisyphus

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose – The Utility And Futility Of Sports

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on October 8, 2014
Noted football experts breaking down game film.

Breaking down game film in the 21st century.

One of the curious developments of the 20th century is the rise of “sports culture” as we know it today – a top-down hegemony of competitive games that used to be a pass-time but is now one of the most economically prodigious industries humanity has ever witnessed — Rome had one Coliseum; we have thousands. With this relatively new take on an old idea, the grouches grouse that sports are a waste of time; that grown men (or cis-men, depending on the audience) shouldn’t be paid obscene fortunes to play the games of children; that if sports weren’t such a massive heat sink for the time, attention and passion of John Q. Public we’d have collectively cured all disease, overcome all political discord in favor of the grouse’s personal biases, abolished violence and/or successfully utilized righteous violence to obliterate the grouse’s enemies.
Poppycock, obviously.
History pretty clearly shows that if it weren’t a dominant sports culture subsuming John Q. Public, it’d be something else – probably crime – and I posit that the 20th century would have looked more like the other 19 rather than distinguished as the pinnacle of human civilizational advancement.
That’s not to say sports and the prevailing sports “culture” doesn’t present problems – it surely does, and is doing so far more widely and frequently as we tumble into the 21st century.
I love sports because at its best, it is the epitome of human co-operation and competition. That the participants on each side will both work together to achieve a common goal (victory) and that each side will agree to abide by a set of formal rules and conditions while doing so, under the auspices of a formal and impartial arbiter, and the most notable feature – that when time is up, its up, and the winner wins while the loser loses but everyone gets to go home.
That sports are so rarely played at their best anymore isn’t a fault of sports, but with the tediously and tendentiously fragile snowflakes chaffing against life’s challenges in just about every possible way. It seems that the prevailing social order is determined to diminish the few redeeming qualities that sports presents while polluting the industry with the same sick cancers that eat away at every other aspect of society.
I apologize for the jumble of this – I guess I’m just trying to work out some things in my head regarding sports and the popular culture. Without any better way to say it, something broke for me this past weekend with the sports I love.
I just don’t think I can do it anymore.
In the past, as a player and as a fan, victories were ecstatically sweet and losses were aggravatingly painful. Now, the losses are even more aggravatingly painful and the victories are merely a relief with little joy to be found at all. By itself, that would be fine, but every other aspect has only grown more antagonizing and adversarial – this insane 24-hour sports news cycle comprised almost entirely of gossip and pseudo-moral preening is beyond the pale.
Anyway, I don’t wish to bore y’all with that.
We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled panic over infectious diseases soon.


9 Responses

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  1. Doom said, on October 8, 2014 at 16:07

    As much as I despise sports today, I actually find some pain in your loss. It’s not my faith, of a secular order, but it is yours. I lost it, with academics among other things, decades ago. All of my secular heroes had already, unbeknownst to me at the time… or since, failed morally, socially, in their fields, and out of them. Einstein, Freud, Schwarzenegger, for some common ones, not one hero has proven out over time, wrong, corrupt, banal, immoral, frauds, liars, and cheats, to a man. Living on fictions of who they are. Even Clemens sold out his manhood, in his old age, for a little nooky. So I hate to see a man face reality. In a way. But, welcome to the club, brother.

    As to sports, one of the things you like about it is one of the first reasons I saw it as failing. Everybody gets to go home. That was the first step in denuding, emasculating, and devaluing the fields for me. Without risk, there simply is no reason… no loss risked, no gain afforded. As soon as NASCAR made it so not only deaths, but accidents, don’t happen, they just became a child’s toy. As soon as football made it so that everyone is so heavily and technically padded that no one does more than pull a muscle or hurt a finger, and even then rarely, it lost all it’s flavor. Sports are now safe enough that even women and children can enjoy. Which means men can’t enjoy them, or shouldn’t be able to if they are honest men. Boxing, before it became so fixed that the outcomes were sure, and maybe rugby if they would televise it, and keep it pure. Most are tasteless relics of a time when men battled. And even when they won, they might lose something… maybe everything.

    Still, that is me, and you are you. Raised to believe that we could disagree and all come home anyway. That’s not how the world really works, and the further we get from that the more dangerous the world becomes. It creates a psychological condition that is a pathology. You may not know it, but it turns men into liberals. Why can’t we all get along? Because. Now, shut up and obey, or take the reins, or… try. I won’t just let you have them. There aren’t any other real choices, personally, socially, culturally, only ideally. And idealism is for queers and pansies who dream of what they can’t have. Sports too, these days. Bah!

    • Huckleberry said, on October 9, 2014 at 11:09

      I’m not a doe-eyed chump drowning in naiveté.
      no loss risked, no gain afforded
      You read it wrong.
      Why can’t we all get along?
      Again, you read it wrong.

      • Doom said, on October 10, 2014 at 03:37

        You assumed I pulled that from reading your material. An incorrect assumption. It is my own addition, beliefs. If you aren’t there, ready to believe, just give it some time.

      • Huckleberry said, on October 10, 2014 at 16:19

        Fair enough.
        My apologies for the erroneous assumption.

  2. El Borak said, on October 8, 2014 at 16:52

    1. Turn the TV off
    2. Watch Division II

    Works for me.

    • Huckleberry said, on October 9, 2014 at 11:11

      I had to check to make sure, but there is exactly one (1) Division II football program in all of Southern California.
      It makes me wonder who they play.
      I hardly watch even sports on TV. Much prefer the radio while I’m working on other things.

      • El Borak said, on October 9, 2014 at 16:24

        I’ll be in the stands watching the 2011 D2 Champs on Saturday. Gorillas, FTW!

  3. Giraffe said, on October 9, 2014 at 07:33

    It’s too bad you live in California. There are things to do outdoors that don’t involve football fields. Fishing, hunting, hiking etc. I know that California would be one of the best places to enjoy those activities, if it were not for your nanny state and high population of sub-par intelligences.

    • Huckleberry said, on October 9, 2014 at 11:17

      I’ve got plenty to do.
      Just noting the loss of something I used to enjoy and increasingly no longer do.

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