Friday, February 19, 2010

Bring Back the Football

I've admitted here before that I just plain don't get all the hoopla about football. I don't see the real athleticism in the game. And baseball? The action can be so slow sometimes that watching grass grow represents more excitement. I'm about to do teshuvah however; I've found some athletic endeavors that make football and baseball look positively uplifting and "sane" by comparison.

The winter Olympics are being televised now. Among the sports that athletes from around the world are competing in are a few that have left me wondering about human intelligence. First, let's take curling--okay, you take it because I sure don't want it. How did this become a competitive sport?!

And then there is the luge. The first day of competition was marred by the death of a luger. Basically this young man was laying down flat on his back on a sled that weighs 50 pounds and speeding down a pure ice track with serpentine curves at over 95 miles an hour. For protection he was wearing a helmet. When his sled spun out he was thrown through the air and crashed head first into a large steel pole supporting the track structure, an unpadded steel pole. Was the answer to say that maybe this "sport" was a tad too dangerous for any rational human beings to participate in? Nope. The answer was to shorten the course a bit and pad the poles. Oh joy. So now the lugers were "only" going at 90 mph on the track. We get into cars that are safety engineered to protect us in case of accident--seat belts, air bags, padded insides--and then we don't travel 90 or 95 miles an hour as a matter of general use. But we let people slide down mountains at this speed with nothing but prayers to protect them? And we call it a sport and give medals for it.

Super Bowl Sunday is looking a lot more acceptable just about now


Anonymous said...

As dangerous as luge is, I prefer the concept of luge to the concept of boxing. Luge is still about personal best and the thrill of competition, and the death statistics are not overwhelmingly high. Boxing, on the other hand, showcases the "sport" of beating the cr*p out of a fellow human being. I'd rather watch luge any day.

efrex said...

Hey! Leave curling alone! Any sport in which a beer is standard equipment is okay with me! (Besides, it's possibly the only chance you get to see a man voluntarily pick up a broom!) :)

The vast majority of the winter olympic "sports" pretty much pass me by. When you've gotten to the point that the texture of your speedskating suit determines whether you win or lose, you've pretty much eliminated all human achievement from the competition. I can appreciate the athleticism and creativity of the individual sports, but it's quite a bit outside my general interest (I used to rock climb: falling down a slope goes completely against my nature...)

Robin Williams has a great (albeit quite "blue") take on the winter olympic sports in his Broadway special (referring to the biathalon as "Norweigian drive-by" still has me cracking up).

a follower said...

I love the Winter Olympics, especially the figure skating. I also follow downhill and mogul ski events. I agree with you though on the matter of the luge, but if you think that's bad, have you seen any skeleton events? That seems much more dangerous and frightening.

Sima said...

I pretty much stick to watching the skating. Some of the other sports get my heart racing too much in fear that someone is going to get seriously injured or killed. Even the skiing can do it to me. There were multiple accidents during the skiing races. One skiier got off course and went flying through the air for over 150 feet before crash landing. All the announcers keep saying how the skiiers are flying down the courses.

What's that old one that says if God had wanted man to fly he would have given him wings.

G6 said...

My son-in-law has a friend who asserts that any sport in which a pregnant woman can compete, cannot be considered a sport....