24 June 2016

Flaunting my scant grasp of athletic games

Dear diary,

I wish that I could acquire an interest in sports. I mean: I wish I could learn to like watching sports. (My days of playing sports are over.) (Unless they’re just beginning.) I’m jealous of all those souls out there who can get excited about the latest hockey scrimmage or karate tournament.

I recently heard a popular comedian define politics as “sports for nerds.” That made me feel bad, because I don’t want to be thought of as a nerd, but it’s true that I’ve lately grown obsessed with politics; though I’m ashamed to admit this fact, and I do believe that I’ll be able to kick the habit. Plus I can’t find anyone else in my hometown who shares my political viewpoints; whereas, in contrast, there are countless souls surrounding me who love to follow sports. Baseball is the official American pastime.

If you enter a bar, you’ll see TV screens here and there displaying the latest game: the tennis game, the golf game, etc. The scores of these games look like stock market tickertapes to me, because they change too fast for my mind to register. It’s a cutthroat business.

I understand that a pitcher throws the baseball to the catcher, and the hitter tries to hit the ball in midair. A good hit will travel out of the ballpark and result in a home run; thus earning the team a point, if no other players are on base. But, if the bases are loaded, the home run becomes a grand slam — that is the most highly sought-after outcome.

Contrary to baseball, which requires a high score to win, the winner of the game of golf (I almost wrote “of gold”) needs a very LOW score. You swing your wooden or iron club at the ball, which has a different shape than a hockey puck, and you hope to God that it enters a hole in the distance. The best shot is a hole-in-one, which is similar to a grand slam in baseball: it is desirable.

Now, the way that I understand it, there are two different types of football (if not many more): American-style and European-style. In America, we call European football “soccer.” And in Europe…

Admittedly, I do not know what happens in Europe. I have never been to Europe. My ancestors, however, are from all over the place: perhaps they even hail from 51 Peg b; which is an actual planet, according to my previous entry.

But I bet that after winning one game of sports, you would feel a surge of confidence, which would make it easier to win the following game.

Is there an equivalent of sports’ concept of “winning,” in the world of painting, novels, poetry, film? It seems that people tend to consider the “winner” in the realm of the arts to be whoever makes the most money off of their creation.

Is there a golf-type of undertaking in the art world, where the LEAST amount of attention would determine the winner? And, if so, how would we ever know who won that blank?

Boxing is a thought-provoking activity because it consists of two humans banging on each other. And figure skating is interesting because it contains the discipline of ice dancing (at least it did in the Olympic festival that I remember watching), which requires judges to determine the winner of the event. To my mind, this voting aspect blurs the line between art and sports; and I like it. It makes me think of the dramatists of ancient Athens: the way that their plays were rated against each other in an overt contest. …And now I wonder: Is ballet a sport?

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