Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sport: From the Sublime to the stupid.

We like a bit of sport in the Tavern, this old Tavern Keeper having been sort of sporty in his youth.
Mind you, that was a while ago and since then I became a passable archer and parachutist, both of which can be competetive but really demand that a chap be better than he was the last time.  Apart from Rugger I was rarely a team man.
A younger Tavern Keeper. !
I used to use a bow and arrow to hunt wild pigs too. (Mind you, that was in Malaya and I did have a chap behind me with a rifle too). I much prefer the sort of sport where a man is constantly seeking to 'go further, go deeper' in himself. Develop his skill and courage; his agility and strength.
Like this:

I once started and ran a 'club' for military assault course running. It was a splendid way to spend an afternoon in the forest. But such things rarely get onto our screens or get set up on our local sports grounds. They would be great fun to watch and take part.  I would have those Chilean chaps on my Tavern grounds to watch from the patio.

Mind you, we have had quite a bit of daring-do here as you might have seen.

But in general, modern team 'sport' is really boring and sports fans are encouraged to be brainless. Spectators are treated to dancing girls in America before armoured men 'play' football. It is a very frantic game, full of pre-game hysteria, but I can watch barely ten minutes of it; and they themselves seem only able to play in three-minute bursts of quite mind-numbing unsporting activity in which players who are nowhere near the ball simply knock each other over.  Why? And did I mention the armour, including helmets? Odd lot, Americans. It is combative and tough. It is a game for very tough chaps. But....

At least in Rugger the chaps are monsters, unarmed and unarmoured. True 'contact' sport, with blood!  It is just as rough as American football but the chap with the ball is the target that everyone goes for.  I doubt many Americans, raised on highly armoured football would ever last ten minutes on a rugger pitch.

Look for yourself. Compare. 

As for English football, it is all one can do to stop falling asleep in the rain and wind. 


Basketball and baseball, cricket and such dominate the 'ratings, and the players recieve a small fortune in salary,  for what?  Playing for an hour or so?  And don't get me going on Australian Rules.  James, a regular here, loves it, but to me it is a gargle-mixture of a game where thuggish players routinely cheat and foul and even the scoring is aided by multiple points for goals and goal posts either side of the goal posts to make even blind Freddy able to get through.

I could go on but fortunately Mike Cunningham was in the bar saying what many think.
and the Answer is?
Listening with only one ear this morning, to the usual tripe and propaganda bilge from the BBC, care of their Toady Programme. The original discussion, as far as remembered, was about how teenaged girls would jump into hysterics over some spotty-faced Boy band, and how this differed from people watching a rugby or football match. 
The presenters and some bloke were talking about sport, and how it was ‘understandable’ for a grown man to cry if his team had lost, or won for that matter; but this ‘emotional response’ was totally different to a bunch of adolescent females showing off their hormonal urges as a group.
Now, as for myself; I just cannot understand the whole idea of ‘my team’ or being ‘the winner’, or the ‘best’: or whatever is shovelled out by the sports-lovers lobby, which of course is vast and all-pervasive.
You and me both, Mike. 
Sport itself, in all its forms, is just another Industry, and all its individual tendril offshoots are dedicated to doing one thing, and one thing only, to take your cash, and endeavour to get ever more of your cash, and business’ cash, and tv and broadband cash, to enrich the Empire whilst delivering: exactly what? 
Emotional release? Team loyalty? Admiration of individual endeavour? 
Let’s face it, sports fans are just as deluded as any other mass entertainment audience. 
When the  Chelsea fans roar their approval, what are they actually stating? That their team is better than their opponents? That they are ‘winners’? What actually have they, the spectators, silly, deluded people that they are, really won, or achieved? 
When an Olympic crowd of eighty-odd thousand cheers a victory in a distance race, are they applauding the winner, or are they stating that their country, and its political philosophy, is somehow on a higher plane than the runners who came second, or last? What I am asking, in admittedly a roundabout way is this: 
What’s the Point?
So your team wins, or the runner comes first, or the penalty-taker misses, or whatever god-forsaken physical activity which you hew to makes the headlines on the back pages of some gutter-press production. Why the glorification? Why the deluded doom when the ‘Team’ is headed, inexorably, for the demotion area of the League? There seems to be a total lack of awareness that, for every winner, there must be a ‘loser’. 
I remember reading some ‘pop-ed’ piece where the female writer came home on a Saturday afternoon to find her fiancè lying on the floor, beating his fists into the carpet, whilst moaning ‘Liverpool lost!’ 
Big deal! 
The governmental, with the emphasis on the ‘mental’ part of that word, push when the Olympics were being touted around as the saviour of all things British is but typical of the hype surrounding sport and its promotion. The Olympics would give new emphasis to inclusivity, and general health, along with all the usual mealy-mouthed phrases from the lowest of the low: an ex-Government Minister.
The words which shape the phrase ‘role-models’ are used, especially in football, to determine who is being hero-worshipped by the plebs this month; but just let us examine those who are being touted as the ‘role-model’ for impressionable youngsters in today’s shabby little universe. 
The likes of Ryan Giggs, of whom I wrote  “a footballer whose ‘clean-living’ image was parlayed into a huge array of sponsorships was found, after the removal of not one but several ‘super-injunctions’ was found to be leading such an amoral lifestyle as not only carrying on a liaison with some prostitute, but also to have had sex with his brother’s wife over an eight year period: is portrayed as a role-model; no wonder men of my generation shake their heads in silent sorrow.” 
'Image' is it. Not the substance. And young people are suckered in to part with their cash and emulate the crude and thuggish.
In my younger days, our heroes were heroes, worthy of the name, but that sort of individual wouldn’t stand much chance of reward in these days of instant glory, and of fame for fame’s sake. I wrote of a young man who was being touted as the ‘next great thing’ in football, but I also wrote of that same youngster as being an amoral thug who threatened a contemporary with violence because his friends had been charged on evidence given by this young man. The footballer was named Ravel Morrison; and I musingly asked if an elderly man would post a picture of Ravel Morrison on a blogsite some twenty-three years after his death? Somehow, I doubt it!
The huge business of Sport, whether it is football and the fatally-corrupted & -flawed FIFA, or Athletics and the dope-ridden IAAF; cricket, and the fantastic numbers of Indian enthusiasts; or any one of a dozen differing sporting endeavours, are all inextricably linked with cash, with sponsorship, with the huge deals for global television. 
But again I ask the only question which counts: What’s the Point? Does it really matter if one man or woman runs faster, jumps longer, or moves a ball more skilfully than his opponent? 
Apart from individual earnings, that is? 
Why this adoration of certain people because of either a natural or learned ability to perform certain manoeuvres? Why the fevered following for a team of a certain city, or even a locality; despite there being hardly any native sons in that team? When I was much younger, my Dad and my brother went to all Newcastle home matches, and there they could watch and cheer men who came from the same villages and vicinity as the fans. But could a similar family identify with a team today? I doubt it very, very much indeed!
Mike nails much of what is wrong. The appalling 'stars' who gain fame and fortune, paid for by people earning barely above poverty line wages. 

And that's just the men's sports. Women also want into the fame and fortune but can't seem to attract the same level of ludicrous hero-worship and sponsorship. 

But they whine about a 'pay-gap' and the lady reporters feed their envy. Until a hard working and talented woman slaps them down.

And all the time they miss the point.  It's not about gender. Nothing to do with 'men' and 'women'. Its about money. Industry. Taking vast amounts of money from drongos who are more like rock concert fans willing to pay $150 to watch some children or geriatrics gyrate crudely and make raucous noise in a stadium. Oh, by the way, the 'ladies' seem to make a lot of money there.  Miley Cyrus, for instance is just a grown-up three year old at home showing her knickers to visitors. For that and her screetching she gets a fortune that a family man wage earner cannot even dream of ever earning in his lifetime.

Your Daughters'  Role Model ????

Have you never wondered just what 'music' audiences see or hear to scream about? 

It is an hysteria. Not 'appreciation'.

Sport as it is presented today is no different.

I have watched women's football and woman's cricket.  Clearly the ladies enjoy playing it and they can often acquit themselves well. But it is just as boring as the men's game. I have watched women's basketball (they call it netball here) and that is boring. Ten minutes and I am back to the bar, wiping down splashes.

Too few woman are daft enough to want to spend $100 to stand for an hour and a half to watch them in a stadium. 

That's why they don't get paid much.

The men are not 'worth' more.

There are many 'sports' of skill and strategic brilliance that rarely make it into popular sight. I go back to archery again, as an example. It is a fantastic sport, taking in styles beyond target shooting. There is field shooting and Clout and even archery golf! Golfing is incredibly boring until you put golfers up against archers. THEN it is a great competition. 

You will never see it televised.

Crikey even Lawn Bowls is more exciting  and skillful than football.

Drink up and list the sports that YOU would like to see.

I'll get a fresh pint in for you.


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Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

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