A wise man once said:
Team sports offer the best insights into the state of a society.
And it is true. The romans
had their circuses.
The Europeans have their football. Fiercely competitive, but fixed rules, extremely athletic. Technology being added as it becomes available to make it more fair. Except for the players pretending to get hit, and cheat. And therein lies the crux.
Now compare this with the truly American sports. There is baseball (the true american sport), there is american bladder handball (or what is called football), and there is basketball. Basketball is still somewhat of a sport, in that it requires athleticism. But let us look at the nature of these sports and their leagues.
- First, there must be half-naked women dancing with nothing left to imagination (fine with me, the more the better, the game is a sideshow, bring on the bird watching binoculars)
- And a clown, and frequent breaks, and also men in immaculate suits (or excessive spitting, take your pick).
- Then there must be food, and too much of it, served in your seat.
- Then there must be billboards and advertisements in anything and everything.
- Then there must be excessive nationalism and flag waving. At the beginning, and in the middle, and at the end. Airplanes will fly over you. There will dozens of representatives in uniform standing front and center. Planes will fly over you.
- Did I mention the spitting? It used to be tobacco. Now its chewing gum and sunflower seeds.
- Then there must be an enmity about the opposing team. Not competition, enmity. As in murder the other teams fans in the car park, enmity.
- Its not about playing well, its about the home team winning. Even if it wins by cheating.
- They will hate a country (say cuba), but will traffic its people, under dangerous circumstances, on rafts and by gangs if they make the best gladiators. And no one will notice the irony with the immigration debate when they go to cheer them.
- Then there must be countless OLD officials, more officials watching video replays, and even more officials watching over them, and a commissioner who rules them all, and there is a rulebook thicker than the laws of the country.
- But cheating will be encouraged.
- There must be ways to "steal". And only a few things can be corrected or reviewed with technology. There will be ways for TV broadcasts to present a much better right/wrong than the officials combined.
- There must be *many* mistakes in each contest. One is not enough, there must be dozens. You can create mistakes by having imaginary regions of "ball" or "strike".
- There will be no notion of a team. Its not 9 or 11 or 25 or 40. Its a "system", its a constant buying and selling of players. You mix and match people for every contest. You buy people from the very team you are going to play right before the contest. You "option" them, you "disable" them when you don't need them. In short, there is no such thing as a team. You can't really tell "who's on first". Its not hu.
- Finally, the circuses will be held often enough to keep the population happy. The gladiators will be injured often enough. A "Oooooooh" goes up in the crowd. The next bull is released from the bullpen, and the remaining gladiators fight on.
- The Old men, one of dozens of "coaches" decides what the gladiators will do in each contest. There will be magical signals and hand waving or speakers in the gladiators helmet telling you exactly what to do.
- The gladiator field will make not sense. It will have mounds and dimples. It will have year markers and odd-length marks. They will use ropes to measure things. It will have bags. It will have grass, but also sand. It will have weird upside down goals. It will have walls of odd length and height.
- Slaves will need to clean the arena during the contest. Frequently.
- Hurting someone is good. If someone defeats you now, plunk then the next time you a chance. And then these millionaire gladiators will come out in force and knock the hell out of each other in a free for fall. They will be fined a few pennies. And the crowd will enjoy this.
- The circus will produce, and sell souvenirs. In the game, before the game, and after the game. There will be more balls or bladders used than in a whole year of any other ball game. If it touches the ground -- its a souvenir.
- And it is all in the aid of the owner/king in the shadows -- a deranged senile Donald Sterling
. Who hates the gladiators. And for whom it is all about selling the hotdogs.
- Did I mention the spitting, and the trash? I did? Well, there is enough of it for a second mention.
And that is the nature of the American society, too.
PS: Great games -- cheating methods difficult to summarize (pine tar on the neck or in your cap or your arm, harmones and drugs, cork in the bats,...), grabbing a guy in the nuts in a pile, taking pot shots in a brawl, all good. Role models - shooting oneself in the foot or shooting a couple of people to death on whim, All good as well. Oh, I didn't mention the press conferences after hitting one's would-be wife?