It’s THAT Time of Year…Again

February 4, 2007 | By | 8 Replies More

I haven’t been posting much lately–deadlines on other things, etc.–but I’m working on a couple of fairly thorny ones.  In the meantime, since it IS Super Bowl Sunday, I thought I might suggest a review of an older post of mine on the subject.  Link is here:

I haven’t changed my opinions about this much, but I am happy to see that some universities are beginning to turn around their priorities, and ratcheting back on their “box office” programs.

Me?  I’m doing a little reading, a little writing, a little…self improvement today.  No footsball (sic).  No beer.  No latent adolescent…well, you get the idea.

Have a good day.


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Category: American Culture, Culture, Current Events, Entertainment, Meaning of Life, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (8)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    Superbowl Sunday has an odd effect on our local Contradance Group: We always end up with too many men. I've never been able to determine whether it's because proportionally women stay home and watch the game, while the men come out to dance, or if it might be due to the weather. Inclement weather always increases the men/women ratio at our dances.

    There are few couch-potatoes or sports addicts in any roomful of contradancers, anywhere in the country. If not for Jason's post, I might not have known that it was Superbowl Sunday, until I got to the dance and had to scrimmage for a female partner.

  2. Scholar says:

    Well I guess I am the enemy here. I love sports. I love fitness. I am kind of getting fat around my gut because I like watching sports more than fitness. If you have ever played for sports teams, you know the joy which comes in playing. It is pure entertainment value to watch these professionals/college play the games we love. Maybe I am living vicariously through these stars…Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Steve Nash, Roger Federer… these people are (some of) my heroes. Go ahead and sue me.

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    I have no enmity for sports fans. I just don't personally know many. The dance last night was actually quite gender-balanced, in spite of both the ball game and the wind chill of zero. No one I talked to even knew who was playing.

    Perhaps I'm the one living in a different world. At least I can watch the commercials on YouTube!

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Have you improved your basketball shooting technique any since your original post?

    I didn't follow football at all this year, including the Superbowl. It really puts you at a disadvantage in social situations. When you are not well armed with sports facts, it makes you realize how sharing sports stories constitutes a potent bonding possibility. I'm not totally against spectator sports. They are compelling spectacles. But they are passive activities–amusements that require very little of the spectators (especially those at home). No pain, no gain.

  5. Scholar says:

    Jason, I'm curious how you feel about these growing areas of sports.

    I'm talking about, (for example) the competetive yet sedentary "sports" of…

    Chess (now an official sport in Britain and many others)


    Video Games like Madden (in a recent reality TV show they gave 50k to the winner of a Madden tourney) and Halo (huge in Europe too)

    Spelling Bees

    Math "meets"

    Debate Team



    Shuffleboard/Curling (usa won a bronze medal)

    Robot Wars (where kids and adult-nerds make battlebots out of vacuum cleaners and table saws)


    Maybe part of your aversion is to the concept of competitions in general?

  6. Jason Rayl says:

    Of the lot, only darts, shuffleboard/curling, and ping pong qualify–to me–as "sports". The rest…well, I'm sorry, if you read my post carefully, I make a distinction between "athletics" and "sports"–sports is a religion of sorts, athletics is about perfectibility. Chess as sport…I love chess, but I would no more sit in front of a television and watch a game than I would a game of football.

    I do, in fact, have an aversion to competition when that becomes the sole important aspect of an endeavor, and Americans enshrine it like some kind of holy writ. In many things, the whole notion of who is "better", much less who is "best", is absurd, but I believe people join in these sorts of false assessments because they themselves want the vicarious kick of at least having a strong opinion linked to something they perceive as a Winner.

    I'm all about balance. Too much of anything is distorting. And I really hate what our culture does to perceived losers.

    But as far as competition per se, you have to match yourself against something if you're trying to achieve a standard. Achieving the standard is the idea, though, not "winning", which has become a perversion of perfectibility. It's a zero sum game and I dislike it.

    But to risk seeming "elitist", I gotta say, I've never seen a bunch of spectators at a chess tournament pour into the streets and wreck cars, beat strangers, or torch businesses, which is something we've come to see a bit more attached to "sports". Different parts of the brain, I suppose.

  7. Scholar says:

    Here is a chess story with notation…it helps to play along while you read the story.  Click here.

    I also recommend this:

    Kramnik played an amazing match amidst speculation of cheating (in the bathroom) to unify the world titles of chess. The match went to to a sudden-death blitz because the score was still tied after a back and forth battle of 8 games.

  8. grumpypilgrim says:

    The human response to spectator sports is bizarre: tens of thousands (or even millions) of non-athletes screaming, "We won! We won!", when, in fact, they merely *watched*, while the _players_ won. It's logically equivalent to watching someone else eat a meal and yelling, "That tasted great!"

    Darwinian evolution might explain this bizarre behavior as the result of many generations of primitive humans feeling extreme emotional relief when their warriors defeated an enemy — an event with potentially life-and-death consequences for the non-combatants. The practice of prayer likely has similar roots.

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