Sunday, October 18, 2015

What if they played a football game and nobody showed?

This afternoon, as I write in fact, there is a big football game in Ann Arbor between in-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State. At one point in my life I would have been drooling over the match up. Today, I have no intention of watching a single down. I won't say I don't care, but I don't care nearly so much as I once would have.

I've watched very little of my beloved Detroit Tigers this past season, and I saw very little of the Red Wings last year or so far this year. I've watched hardly any of the Major League Baseball playoffs which are currently going on, and baseball is the greatest game there is by far. I only pay enough attention to the NFL to see how my fantasy league picks are doing, and I'm not sure I should be bothering with that. I've missed the last two Super Bowls, and probably will not watch the next one unless I like one of the teams playing. I'm not sure I'll watch even at that. Even curling, a game I've played for thirty years now and whose season for me begins October 26th, doesn't have the appeal to me that it has in years gone by. I love the curlers, of course, and everyone I've met through the game; they're my greatest friends as a single group. Hell, they're my greatest friends, period. Only family is closer. But the point is that I find increasingly that sports are, well, a waste of time and energy.

Some of it has to do with the games as they now stand. They need improvement, and could make themselves better with a little effort. I've complained about that before, primarily about football, yes, but they all could use a heaping dose of integrity quite frankly. Why can't baseball give Armando Gallaraga his perfect game? It would be so easy to do, no one would argue, yet MLB doesn't do it. How can we expect sports to teach sportsmanship if the powers that be won't serve simple justice? Justice very easily served, I might add.

I've gotten tired of game officials blowing calls where the response is, essentially, oh well. That isn't fair play. And shouldn't sports be about fair play? Unless winning is indeed everything, at which point, damn the whole lot of it.

I've blogged before about my Grandpa Joe's attitude: drop the ball for all it matters. He's right to the point that sports shouldn't be so dominant in our culture although wrong, to be sure, so far as you should play your best if you do choose to play. But I've reached the point where the only games I care about were the ball games with my kids as the grew up, and pitching, catching, and batting with my granddaughter now. Tossing the ball around with Pops back in the day. The rest? It's just kinda become noise.

A lot of the fault is with me. I know that. Sports meant too much to me for too many years and it may well be that I'm overcompensating in this reaction. Still, that doesn't mean that I and the world as a whole haven't reached the point where sports and games have become bread and circuses, especially at the highest levels. That idea works fine in a completely secular world.

And that, perhaps, is what bothers me the most. I fear sometimes that we've become too much of an eat, drink, and be merry world, and that that's becoming institutionalized through sports. I can't help but wonder if we'd be better off if they become mere diversions rather than passions. Because as it is, and as I've said it before and recently, I feel that anymore the games play us more than we play the games. That speaks ill of both us and the games we watch.

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