Generally, I Love Thee

Merry Christmas. The holiday spirit replaced my brain with a plutonium yam, hence the less-than-careful tone of this Marxist plank. In the spirit of the oncoming New Year and the academic thingy I really should be working on, I'd like to present to you a slightly amended version of this same argument. And no, I have no plan to slow this pace until I have something better to do.

I have peculiar reasons for liking basketall. While I don't think these necessarily translate well into universal terms, they are a function of each and every sport's uniqueness. I am not wholly averse to fans of multiple leagues—hell, even I watch football until the NBA awakens—but am suspicious of any attempt to conflate all professional athletes as one. We see this will dramatically not being done with regard to fighting in the major sports, and yet it's an absolute staple of brain-empty fandom. Certainly there are many Americans capable of appreciating a multitude of organized competitions, some of whom might not even have their own blogs. I would submit, however, that those who don't do so with any subtlety are engaged in a wholly narcissitic exercise, often driven by nothing more than territorial loyalty.

Most athletes are fans of sports other than their own. But to give one's very soul over to a game requires a higher degree of identification, which is exactly the exchange I sought to map out in the offendng post. Ironically, it is the leisurely American pursuit of every after-school league that reinforces the brainless omni-sport consumer. Just as all sports were/are pastimes he/she undertook in the pursuit of fitness and ego, so their professional manifestations are performative wars for his Sunday well-being. This is not unlike the shallowness that dogs the careers of the few true multi-sport pros, as opposed to the single-minded devotion we see in players who have emphatically chosen one sport over another.

So I apologize if anyone believe I was forbidding them their baseball. That was never my intention, and I applaud all humans gracious enough to find the true value in all things.


At 12/28/2006 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own. - Ghost Dog

At 12/28/2006 6:43 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i hope that's a joke.

ps, for anyone who cares, i have now completely deleted the supremely offensive sentence from the initial post about "you can follow lots of sports, but identifying with them all doesn't work." it had nothing to do with what I was saying.

At 12/28/2006 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could this be a question, like in Pulp Fiction, where Uma Thurman asks if John Travolta is a Beatles man or an Elvis man. What does being a basketball person, instead of say a football person, say about the person themselves? Because football seems a bit more mainstreamed, even a bit more "safe" in a looking at it from a distance, maybe even racist way, does that make Basketball people more independent free thinkers? Or could it be the opposite. Basketball is the sport du jour for the white hip hop crowd that tries so hard to idenltify with a group?

At 12/29/2006 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At the Wizards' first home game on November 4, during the introductions, Arenas came out wearing a blue robe with a hood, looking like a boxer. He was supposed to resemble a "wizard." [4]

During the 2006 NBA season, he began to shout the word hibachi as he took field goal attempts in games, explaining, "You know, a hibachi grill gets real hot. That's what my shot's like, so I've been calling it that: 'Welcome to the hibachi'." He has also stated that while he is scoring on opponents, he is "cooking chicken and shrimp" in reference to his "Hibachi grill," and that if his opponent wanted to double team him, he would "cook filet mignon" as well.[7]

On December 23, 2006, Arenas told the Washington Post he had begun replacing "hibachi" with the phrase "quality shots." The change was a direct rebuttal of Kobe Bryant's view that Arenas was lucky to score 60 points against the Los Angeles Lakers the previous week. "Maybe Kobe would say that was luck," Arenas said. "It's luck when you score 30 or 40, but luck can't get you 50 or 60. Every game before the game, I make 10 3s from 10 spots on the court. That's 100 3s."

At 1/01/2007 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shoals- It took me until 2007 to think of a comment on this... In general I don't disagree that man is attracted to sport because of a certain purity that is a game governed by more or less simple rules, similar to how man is attracted to geometry in art and architecture maybe. (this is all from the point of view of fans, not athletes by the way)Each individual sport obviously has its own attractive characteristics as well.

To me, baseball is sort of like a soap opera for men, due to its day-to-day frequency and encapsulation in the boxscores, like a soap digest. Football, aside from the full contact/ violence aspect, certainly seems to appeal to a militaristic or strategic or something along those sensibilities. Basketball allows for a higher degree of interpretation/expression and improvisation.

But I wonder if these individual sport characteristics (my list is general and incomplete) appeal to the public based on changing desires responding to changes in the political/economic culture. Perhaps the NFL's falling out of favor and the re-emergence of the NBA has to do with fact that the American public has enough military involvement in 2006. It's an incomplete thought, but one I thought I'd share.


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