Sport Trivialized

With the onslaught of the mostly trivial college football bowl-games and the rearing of the Super-Bowl’s ugly, TV-driven head in the offing, one wonders at how much the whole notion of sport in this country has lost nearly all semblance of class. The idea that a team that has won all of six games during the season (with a couple of pushovers thrown into the mix) is worthy of post-season aggrandizement blows the mind…but does make a lot of jobs available to TV/radio commentators who flood the airwaves with inanities so laughable as to make Leno and Letterman look like pikers.

Within the game itself – especially football – the cult of bush-league is noted for the extent of its boorishness. The taunting, trash-talking, celebratory antics roughly similar to those seen in most zoos or heard in most bathrooms incite nausea ad infinitim. Though politically incorrect to mention, this sad state of sophomoric sounds and histrionic aberrations has been introduced by black athletes in the past 35 or so years and, to their eternal shame, has been adopted by white players and coaches as absolutely normal, though they once considered modesty and gentlemanliness in either winning or losing as a requirement for exhibiting class.

The duck-walking, crotch-hopping, chest-banging, hip-mashing, high-fiving, dancing-prancing, skipping-skating, goalpost-hanging and other similar gyrations of “me-better-than-you” turns the gridiron into a type of jungle featuring Tarzan’s famous “Me Tarzan, you Jane” mentality and missing only the Tarzan scream, roughly similar to that of candidate Howard Dean in Iowa in 2004 when he lost the caucus and, indeed, the whole ballgame. One expects any day to hear a scream of agony from a player who celebrates his superiority too strongly and throws out his crotch.

Where once a player just calmly flipped the ball to the referee when he crossed the goal line, now he may spike the ball, do a chest-banger and hip-smasher with the nearest colleague, jump into the arms of two players, do a fast shuffle, leer at the ref, call an opposing player a deleted name, imitate a hula-dancer, lift his hand high and point down at his helmet, and spit at the feet of an opposing player while skipping his way to the bench, there to receive a genuflection from his coach or an assistant. He will then mug to the nearest camera and give the “Number 1” sign, since the TV guys consider him part of the master-race and will have him cued-in. Ironically, guys his age, who understand self-discipline and have learned to say “sir” and “ma’am,” face bullets and bombs every day in Afghanistan and Iraq, but don’t do the crotch-hop and sneer at the crowd.

There’s always been an entertainment factor connected to sports, but the advent of TV enhanced it exponentially. Coaches and athletic directors have conspired – even if unconsciously – with the TV folks to make the game-angle secondary to the entertainment-angle. Money talks, and the TV folks have it. This is why coaches and athletic directors make millions off the backs of young athletes, some so thoroughly tattooed (once the mark of drunk sailors) that they resemble the windows of “adult book-stores,” while genius-professors eat cake. Sensationalism is what sells – a terribly sad commentary on the public – and the trashiness to which sport has devolved is the result. Old codgers remember the day when respect was the name of the game. That day has long since passed, and now anything goes.

This also explains the use of steroids (bulk-up and beat-up) among athletes from middle-school onward. Even in a “non-contact” sport like basketball, the ability to “hurt” the opponent, thereby intimidating him and entertaining the crowd as a boxer does, is considered a prime requisite, and skinny teenagers operating under the basket are loaded with extra weight they aren’t built to carry just so they can throw that weight around to great advantage. It’s no wonder they suffer all kinds of stress fractures and muscle-mangling induced by their coaches, who are more interested in the bottom-line than in the line-score.

The pro-football crowd installed scantily-clad cheerleaders decades ago for entertainment purposes. They offer nothing to the game, but plenty of navel and other things to the gaping crowds. The Super-Bowl is generally considered more of an orgy than a sporting event, and bars all over the country make it an absolute must to go along with getting drunk.

Mick Jagger and crew, the Rolling Stones, did the Super-Bowl halftime show in 2006…advertised as a “family affair” and celebrated in multitudes of churches. Jagger, a 62-year-old juvenile, had the appearance of having been hit by an 18-wheeler on his way to the activity. He and his two guitarists were dressed in black (though Jagger sported a white shirt) and they cavorted around and writhed atop some sort of stage or runway that surrounded a bunch of what seemed to be lunatic-groupies of all ages, with some apparently divesting themselves of their panties to throw at the contortionists. All three looked like warmed-over death, with their body-language and facial expressions roughly the male equivalent, one supposes, of the three witches in the opening scene of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Two years before, Janet Jackson…well…

Yeah. Sports needs a good cleaning, but one must not cease breathing until that happens. Crudity sells, and the pros and universities have bought into it big-time.