Since last I took to this bully pulpit (gee, how long has it been?), I enjoyed a stimulating lunch dialogue with “a very well-known sports celebrity”. Our several hours’ conversation wandered over many subjects of major and minor significance. No startling conclusions were reached, but we laughed a lot over absurdum that seems to never end…. it gets worser and worser.
Only “politics” can rival “sports” for daily evidence that Charlie Darwin’s theory had it bass-ackwards. The original Planet Of The Apes premise had it right regarding societal evolution. In the End the Monkeys Win.
It would be nice to never have to discuss The Great Unpleasantness again….. which is as silly as citizens of Tel Aviv tiring of incoming rockets and suicide bombers. Neither of us is going to get our wish.
My fed-upnicity with TGU is not minimizing its horrific ramifications to the athletic and academic reputations of Ye Olde Flagship. Yea verily, ‘tis horrific to be sure. I’m just tired of it. I tired of discussing both Duke Lacrosse and John & Rielle and neither of those lingered for 4+ years.
That afore-mentioned lunch dialogue with that “very well-known sports celebrity” covered the mountain of off-field/court crap that dominates both college and pro sports these days…. and for the foreseeable future. “Sports” has evolved into a 24/7 playground for the goggle-eyed spittle-spewing no-lifers addicted to the daily controversies de jour as dictated by The Wizards In Bristol (aka ESPN).
Our conversation was before a couple of random sentences by Tony Dungy from over a month ago set the national sports scene en fuego. I understood what Dungy meant and I’d like to think most of you did too; but noooooo…. the sports’ news nabobs fall all over themselves to shout out their acute socio-cultural idiocy. “That” will only get much worse in the years to come. In the end, the monkeys WILL win.
Over the past six months I have completely tuned out ALL the sports’ talking heads shows even Mike & Mike & Balbiz. Skip and Stephen A and Colin…. Who??? I noted to a commenting reader a few weeks ago that I haven’t listened to local sports talk radio in over two years and get along just fine. Like trees falling in the deep woods; if you don’t hear’em, they make no noise… nor make any difference whatsoever. I check a couple of national sports websites first thing in the AM and then around 9-10 PM and get all the news I need or want.
I do watch “the games” in the NBA Playoffs and MLB and, yes, a few World Cup games but I get along just fine without ANY of the endless analysts and blow-dried jabberwocks yadda-yaddaing 24/7.
My lunch partner and I agreed that “the games” are still great entertainment what with the techno-miracles of TV production. “Watching games” is terrific. Obsessing over contrived controversies and the off-field antics of ego-driven athletes, coaches and administrators is not terrific at all. At least not to me…. or to him.
“Pride” is not a bad thing at all. Being “proud” of one’s hometown, one’s school, one’s state, one’s favorite barbecue restaurant, one’s pick-up truck, and certainly one’s family is one of Life’s joys. I have always felt sorry for those who see their lives thru a cynical prism. Alas, “pride”, like garlic, when applied excessively can ruin more than an otherwise good spaghetti sauce.
I receive promotional magazines from three major universities. All three are large state universities in Power Five conferences.
The primary purpose of such publications is to promote the respective institutions and their on-going programs, specifically their high-profile athletic programs. All three that I regularly receive are well-done impressive printed pieces produced by talented professionals. Their production budgets have to be sizable.
They show lots of happy, smiling air-brushed faces of “young people” enjoying their air-brushed on-campus experience. The campus pics are all pretty (and air-brushed)…. the buildings impressive…. the awesome faculty dedicated and devoted to preparing young minds for the challenges of adult life…. blah, blah, blah. They all paint an idyllic vision of what a wonderful place their college is…. and their community…. and their alumni all of whom are quite incredible of course. There is a formula for all such publications.
Ever notice that EVERY Alumni Mag has a pic of a student wearing a lab coat either looking pensively at a test tube or thru a microscope. I think they all use the same stock photo.
The obvious comparisons of these publications and their institutions being promoted are easy. All three are proud of themselves.
Until the last few years, one of those three university alumni publications used waaaaay too much garlic in describing itself. Waaaay too many “superlatives” in every description of every aspect of its being. Its campus was not simply “beautiful”; it was “THE most beautiful in the country”. Likewise it’s football stadium and even “the lofty pines” surrounding “ THE most beautiful stadium” next to “THE most beautiful Bell Tower” across campus from “it’s most beautiful of all campus landmarks” – a water fountain.
The other publications stress how much their campus landmarks and traditions mean to its alumni but never presume theirs are soooo much better than everyone else’s. They are their landmarks and their traditions and they take pride in them. They are rightly proud but not at the expense of having to boast theirs are soooo much better than everyone elses.
Over the past four or so years I have noticed a decided scaling back of so many grandiose lily-gilding superlatives about itself by that one institution…. not to mention by the majority of its once notoriously boastful alumni.
It has taken a widely-publicized kick-in-the-teeth of epic proportions to instill a refreshing modicum of humility. For the price being paid, lets hope it sticks.