Monday, October 12, 2009

And So Ends Another Season

I was at my bar last night with Natasha and a Russian friend of mine and in the other room was a crowd of 20 and 30 somethings with their eyes glued to the TV screen. The reason their eyes were glued to the TV screen is because a group of men had decided to go out onto a field, one of which was throwing a spherical object repeatedly over a plate like object.

However, the reason for the intrigue, was that not only was it a group of men in a field throwing a sphere, but there was this OTHER group of men, one of which had a stick and was standing over the plate like object. And not only was he standing over the plate like object, HE WAS TRYING TO SWING THE STICK AT THE SPHERICAL OBJECT after which he would run around in a circle should the stick come in contact with the sphere.

It seemed the two groups of men would then occasionally switch positions, where the other group would swing stick and the other team throw the sphere.

However, the most interesting observation was that of the 20 and 30 something men in the other room at the bar. For apparently on TV the group of men in the white clothes didn't swing the stick or throw the sphere as good as the men in the gray clothes. And thus they were "defeated" and walked off the field sadly while the men in the gray clothes jumped up and down and engaged in very big hug. And this "defeat" elicited the oddest response from all the people in the room;


I found it odd, that group of guys swinging sticks and throwing spheres in a place far far away would have this affect on other people who, quite literally, HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MEN ON THE FIELD. How a group of men playing a game could actually affect the mood, happiness and lifetime fulfillment of other people who were 100% inconsequential to the stick-swinging and sphere throwing. But there it was, empirical proof right in front of me, people were actually affected by OTHER PEOPLE'S stick swinging and sphere throwing.

It left me to believe that the people who not only glued their eyes to the screen, but their happiness to the ability of complete strangers to swing a stick and throw a sphere were psychotic. Complete morons who pinned their hopes and happiness on something completely outside their control. How else would you describe this phenomenon?

Were their lives so pointless and meaningless and void of purpose that THIS is the best they could come up with? To sit and watch OTHER men throw spheres and swing sticks? And to get excited or depressed based on which colored-shirt men swung the stick really good and threw the sphere really fast? Could they not spend time with family and friends? Could they not play X-Box or some other video game? Could they (and here was a REALLY radical thought I had) GET THEIR OWN FREAKING STICKS AND SPHERES and engage in their VERY OWN game of sticks and spheres?

Natasha even said she heard that some of these people actually spend 5 HOURS OF THEIR FINITE LIVES driving to fields, whlie they pay $200 EACH PERSON to watch the stick swinging and sphere throwing. Then they spend another hour and a half in traffic as if it were rush hour on the way back. Some even go so far as to pay $20 for parking near the field AND $10 for a hotdog which are served at the fields. My Russian friend said he heard that stick swinging and sphere throwing was SO important to some societies that the government would pay for the fields where these activities occurred.

Worse still was just how many of these simple-minded automotons would still be obsessed over stick swinging and sphere throwing...WHEN THERE WAS NO FREAKING STICK SWINGING OR SPHERE THROWING OCCURRING.

Apparently before the sticks are swung and the spheres are thrown there are "pre-stick-swinging-sphere-throwing" shows where other idiots speculate on whether or not certain men will swing sticks and whether or not spheres will be thrown. This results in shows that are horribly boring to anybody with the slightest bit of sense;

"Well Jim, what do you think Joe is going to do?"

"Well, I'm not sure Steve, but I think Joe is going to try and swing the stick."

"You think he's going to try to swing it really hard?"

"Yes, Steve, I think Joe will try to swing the stick really hard."

And by god, guess what? Joe DOES swing the stick really hard!

My goodness, who saw that coming?! Thank god we have Steve and Jim to predict such things.

Of course, you'd think with the "Pre-Stick-Swinging-Sphere-Throwing" show, the masses would be satiated.

Oh no.

You see, then comes the "Post-Sticking-Swinging-Sphere-Throwing" show where a whole new set of idiots tell you what just happened even though you were there to see it.

"Well, it looks like Joe swung the stick really hard."

"You're right Phil, Joe swung the stick really hard. I also noticed how Mark threw the sphere really fast."

"Wow, great analysis Tim! Mark DID throw the sphere really fast!"

This then entertains the 20 something and 30 somethings for another hour.

Regardless, it was a very sad revelation I had. That so many people had so little going on in their lives that this was one of the more important aspects of their lives. Let alone they seemed relatively indifferent about things that actually did impact their lives.

Federal deficit is at an all-time high?

Naw. Not relevant.

Your children are now enslaved with all the debt we saddled them with?

Meh, couldn't care less.

Unemployment is at 10%.

Pfa, who cares.

Oh, but "Joe Schmoe" swung the stick really good and hit the sphere really far?


Ah, what could possibly go wrong with a society with priorities such as this?


Hot Sam said...

One of my co-workers pays $30 to watch two nearly naked men in a roped-off pen punch and kick each other, grapple their sweating bodies, and then hump each other on the ground while thousands of people cheer. Another guy wearing clothes circles around them, watching closely. Every once in a while he stops them momentarily and then tells them to start again. I keep thinking that the two naked guys should team up and punch, kick, and hump the guy with clothes.

I still don't understand why they do it. They don't seem mad at each other and they don't seem to be in love. A bell rings, they hug, and then they walk away.

And I don't know why he enjoys watching it. He's not even gay.

Marvin said...

Yes, modern sports are no different than the bread and circuses that the Roman emperors used to distract the populace from the problems they faced. I have no use for sports. Except curling. The universe beyond this little planet revolves around curling. Oh yes.

Anonymous said...

Why do you hang out with filthy communist Ruskies?

CBMTTek said...

OK, Cap't. I think you are being a bit harsh here.

Sure, I agree that professional sports on television is pretty much meaningless. Will it repair the economy? Cure global warming? Make Nancy Pelosi attractive? No, no, and not a chance in hell.

But, it is a diversion. It does provide people that do not have the talent, or the opportunity a chance to feel a bit of victory. The chance to feel part of something larger then themselves.

(God! That sounds pathetic!, and I guess that was your point.)

Anyway, personally I like to watch a good game of football. Unlike the folks you describe though, I am not fixated on a single team winning, and if the team I am rooting for loses, it means nothing to my overall happiness. It is the competition that I find enjoyable.

Should it be a substitute for more meaningful interaction with others? No, I do not think so. But, it is a starting place, a common ground. From whence a more significant relationship can start.

Anonymous said...

His stick is so hard. Btw Anonymous... Natasha sounds like a Russian name...

reg said...

the moment for me was 10 yrs ago at opening day in toronto.I looked at the pitcher and said to my wife"that big fat slob is going to make more money tonight than i'll make in the next 3 years".there's a kind of insanity to spectator sports.
these days i pay $500 a year for the privilege of dressing up in white pajamas and having people beat me up.
cheaper than the bars too.

prairie dog said...

Excellent point indeed.

I guess one could hope that somehow the failing masses could grasp the point via your humorous story...but...

Captain Capitalism said...


Agreed, but you have what would be considered a healthy appreciation for sports.

Have it be known that I, Captain Capitalism, do pay $8 per year to attend in the cheapo seats a St. Paul Saints game. I do enjoy a good baseball game.

But when the game is over, and the St. Paul Saints lose, which they do, I do not walk away sad. I am happy because I got to watch a St. Paul Saints game.

What is wrong is people who are affected, positively or negatively, by the outcome of a game. They cannot watch it for the sake of enjoyment. They literally have no accomplishments to point to and thus the game becomes their "life."

Anonymous said...

"What is wrong is people who are affected, positively or negatively, by the outcome of a game. They cannot watch it for the sake of enjoyment. "

Depends how much money you have riding on it. :-)

Milton Hayek said...

This sort of thing seems more prevalent in places where there isn't much else to do or be proud of.

Marty Andrade said...

Meh, I know I'm addicted.

But, I do like the betting aspects.

And, I've made a lot more money writing about sports than I have writing about politics.

Anonymous said...


I had this feeling the first few times I saw Georgia Tech take on Florida State (football). Each of the games, the team i rooted for lost. Each of the games was very exciting in terms of how well-paced and how tense the action was. I was astonished at how thoroughly I enjoyed watching those games, even though the team I was rooting for lost.

C_Miner said...

One's enjoyment in sports usually comes from having played the sport oneself (is that a word?) and knowing how difficult it is, and appreciating a job well done. I'd assume that this is where the home renovations shows get their audience, too. The sports I like to watch are, therefore, the ones that I've played. The fact that I no longer play means that I can't play at the level that I would like. If my local city is the best in the world at booger-ball then at least I can revel in the fact that those who beat me are the best in the world.