I hate to be a cranky ol’ lady, but I’m getting kind of tired of all the sports with so little sports. There’s too much talking about nothing, too much wagering on nothing, and too many things to watch, when there’s even professional tag.
I was at the gym, putting on my swimsuit, which is a bit time-consuming, so I had a good solid seven minutes to listen unwillingly to the pontificating talking head on the sports channel. He was talking about the poll of college football teams and commenting on the rankings and how they might change depending on who won which game.
Now, I gotta be honest. I don’t care. I went to Cal, whose football team’s goal is to beat Stanford, and that’s that. I went to Chicago, where they had no football team–I don’t even think we had a mascot, did we? (Actually, we did. It’s the phoenix. Of course, the Nobel Prize University would have a f’ing cerebral mascot! )
Still, suppose I did care. Suppose my team was one of those in those rankings or I followed college football. The guy went on for SEVEN MINUTES about these rankings in the following manner:
Now, this choice of ‘Bama being #7 is an interesting choice. Kind of a surprise there. I would have thought maybe higher. But here’s how, if ‘Bama doesn’t beat Oregon in the Viagra Big 13 Championship tomorrow, you’re going to wonder why they made this choice. On the other hand, maybe ‘Bama will win. It’s hard to say. It’s an interesting one. Now on this next one….
What the hell is he talking about? It is already stupid that there is a “ranking,” where numbers are chosen almost at random by an anonymous group of people, and it’s already stupid that they’re spending so much time talking about it. But if you’re going to analyze something, then analyze it.
Does Alabama have a good quarterback? Are they playing at home? Will their pass rush be better against…whoever? Who’s injured? There are ways to analyze sports. Staring at the rankings and just making up nonsense about the numbers is not discussing sports.
A Blizzard of Baloney
I went to read an article in the New York Post on the problems with TV sports reporting, y’know, research to offset my own pontificating here. This article was written by Phil Mushnick who turns out to be a brilliant writer and a son of a gun after my own heart. I grew up with great sports reporters — Joe Falls in Detroit and the many fine folks in the Bay Area, from Ann Killion to Ray Ratto. What he was writing was flipping hilarious, for example….
This ridiculous-by-design and malodorous by extension have become de rigueur.Phil Mushnick, New York Post
….except… I couldn’t read what he had to say.
As I attempted to scroll through these analytical, droll explanations — all the things that were not practiced by the yapping head on ESPN — I kept getting fish-slapped by all the dancing baloney. There was a crawl across the top, on the side, and a pop-up video that kept hopping forward. Remember, this is a newspaper article!
The funniest part were the buttons on the side to “share” the article. What am I sharing? the crawl? the photo? one of the six videos? Man, I’m rooting for Mushnick, too. I wonder if there’s a way I could just get the closed-caption version … of his article. Too bad it’s so hard to read what he actually had to say. Even when there is some sport-related analysis on sports, you can’t see it for all the other blobarooni.
Gambling on the Next Sentence
I guess people don’t care anymore because: Gambling. Gambling has just taken over sports. It’s bad enough when teams move to Las Vegas (and my former teams, so….sigh). Apparently, ESPN now has a gambling arm, and one guy just sold a basketball team to a family that has a massive stake in a gambling operations. Even Canada is getting into the game!
Gambling addiction is at an all-time high, not surprising given that gambling is more accessible than ever before. It used to require these guys called bookies who had to be asked about, surreptitiously, like drug dealers. It was only allowed in a few places. Now it’s click-click on the phone. People bet all day and night, on everything. Bets are for $1 or pennies, and people bet repeatedly. The National Council on Problem Gaming calls this a potential time bomb and says gambling addiction is up 30% in the last couple of years. And we’re just getting started.
The province of Ontario actually hosts their own iGaming site, perhaps thinking that they can gather information, reduce scams, and somehow protect consumers by getting them to bet with the government. Meanwhile, articles like this one talk about how young folks are waking up, obsessing over placing a bet on who will score the first points. The article talks about some guy, Wayne Mudd, who wakes up with this great feeling, then and spends the opening minutes glancing between his phone and the game. He was wrong. -$25. Supposedly, he bets like that several times during the week.
Who has that kind of money? Who has the time to listen to such nonsense?
They aren’t even rooting for the game, as a game. They’re just betting on random things to happen. And they aren’t particularly watching the game, because they’re looking at their phone so often. What happened to the sports part of the sports?
The Ancient Game of Tag
We are fortunate that we have so many different sports options to watch. I don’t even pay for extra sports, and I can pick the sport to watch. While I was eating my oatmeal early this morning, because it was still too early for local weather, I noticed a whole lot of games under the PKL league.
OK, I’ll bite. Who are these teams, the Tamil Thalavaivas and the Dabang Deligh KC? Clearly, this was some competition from India, which explained why it was on Sunday morning early while being in a packed arena somewhere 12.5 hours away. The graphics were spiffy, the floodlights were swinging, the music was blaring, and they were playing….
…tag? This was crazy!!
SUPER RAID: Vikash goes in the raid and does the clean-up act with three touchpoints of Sombir, Rohit Gulia and Arkam Shaikh. This is a FIVE-POINT RAID AS BULLS INFLICTS FIRST ALL-OUT ON GIANTS! What a way to make a comeback as the Bulls straightaway goes in a four-point lead after trailing by a point in a single raid.A Gamecast transcript for PKL, the Pro-kabbadi League
I’ve seen professionalized dodge ball. I watched professional cornhole championships–remember during COVID, when all the sports were cancelled? The trick with cornhole seemed to be sliding the bag. Of course, I watch the Olympics, so I watch all sports. There was even a prime-time American tag competition that played on ESPN channel Ocho.
This seemed a little ridiculous, this game that involves a player coming in and trying to tag a member of the other team — often with like a martial arts kick. I looked it up…oh.
Kabbadi — as it turns out — is one of the world’s oldest sports. It may have been mentioned in the Mahabahrata, India’s great epic. Buddha just may have played at this before he started sitting under lotus trees.
The general idea is that a single person crosses the center part of a rectangle into “enemy” territory in a raid. He is supposed to chant “kabaddi, kabaddi” to prove that he is going to complete his raid in a single breath. It is one against seven, but he is trying to touch another player, then get back across his line without being grabbed. If they get him before he goes back, they get a point. There are complex rules about point scoring and timing and out of bounds — it’s a sport! There are rules, of course.
This was actually even a demonstration sport in the Berlin Games in 1936. Along with kabbadi, demonstration sports included kung fu and baseball. None of them were picked up at the time, but apparently the kabbadi teams were asked to do a second demonstration. Here, I thought it was silly until Tamil started making up a huge deficit through quick scoring by number 25, whose name I couldn’t pronounce.
But they were playing the game! Yes, there was a crawl, but for at least twenty minutes, they didn’t mention talking heads, they didn’t cut away to the announcers, and they were showing all sorts of graphics of how people were playing. I started kinda getting into it. At least I know that the ESPN heads will not spend hours discussing their rankings.
I suspect you could probably bet on how many points #25 will score, who leads at the end of each quarter, and whether there will be any super raids. Feel free. I’m just going to watch them play.
Can’t wait until next Sunday at 6:30 am!