Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Lakers or We Must Rethink Sport

I find myself dreading the Laker game.  I anticipate the slow start, Bynum in early foul trouble.  The emotional roller coaster seems to depress me more in its lows than it exhilarates me with its highs.  It, frankly, is not good for my health at 65 and fit.
And, what if it keeps you from worship?  You missed praying Asr because the game was on?  How do you think that will stand up on That Day when you will be questioned about your joy and what you did in it?
The game has begun to control me; Kobe can guarantee I'll even watch some of the commercials before I blink back in control of the remote and check snippets of "American Gangster" or "South Central", the movie, on BET, then I count mentally to the appropriate moment and click back the moment he dunks.
I am saying I have always turned the Lakers on and off.  Now, they turn me on and off, and I am not sure they have my self interest at heart.  Even though the Lakers may be soundly beaten by Boston into gutwrenching, bone crunching defeat, they will still go back to limousine living, and multimillionaire concerns.  For Kobe and Lamar and Pau Gasol it's get ready for next season's feature series on major networks around the world, if they lose.
So, how can you get intoxicated to celebrate or grieve, become depressed and overwrought because the Lakers lost?What did you lose? Nothing tangible (unless you were foolish enough to bet the game wasn't fixed or that you know better than the bookies who do it all day everyday).  It's not real! It's only a game.  
The Lakers are just a symbol of America's affluence in the midst of worldwide recession/depression.  To afford the luxury of being massaged with smooth dunks from the free throw line and to celebrate with ubiquitous glasses, bottles, cans, and kegs of beer,  has, subliminally, become the ritual in America's new spirituality. We are flaunting our wealth (even, those of us who are not very wealthy).  Envy us; be like us; drink this.
So, I am boycotting the Laker game which is probably 5 or 6 minutes into the first quarter.  I hear Ameer (my grandson) cheering, probably for Kobe living in  (HD) and leaping all over my living room below.  Ramel (his dad) trying to quell his 9 year old's exuberance.
Ameer has the fever; what can guarantee that he does not catch the disease ... of alcoholism?  Isn't that what is behind the mask of Sport beyond the benefits of exercise and developing better health.  Those who engage in sport, primarily,  for its long term health benefits are much better off over a lifetime than sports fanatics who traditionally become victims.
The broken bones on all long term  basketballers, short and tall, all manner of medical complications that those of us who love to play but never to the death or detriment of ourselves or the people we are playing (exercising) with do not have to deal with in middle and old age, nor the ups and downs of protracted obesity from unbridled appetites and on again off again exercise regimen, beer bellies, etc, are ample proof; very few professional athletes learn how to keep in shape for a lifetime.  They are hardly fitness role models after they retire.  Most become fat and sloppy and alcoholics.
After having too many operations for too many aches and pains, you don't appreciate life enough.  You stop working hard at staying alive, and staying alive after 40 takes work.  Professional athletics, for most, is an early ticket to the grave.
There is a media formula that can program us to seemingly channel our favorite players.  We, in some secret way (oft times obvious way), believe as long as Kobe of Lamar or Pau or whoever's jersey we wear are in world class shape, we, in some way, share that incredible body and its accomplishments, so pass the nachos, please.
Kobe knows you're crazy; but he's a beer salesman.  Ever heard a pro athlete take a stand against alcoholism?  And, even if your doctor told you one more beer will probably kill you or get you that next  D.U.I.,  their script would say, "Come on! Dunk with me (virtually), Dude. Now, we deserve to celebrate with a brew."
The  game may be at the half... time to go down and make a snack without being encumbered with whether Pau is getting his touches or Andrew Bynum plays to his potential.  I, recently, witnessed Andrew go from a very powerful, unpredictable bowler at El Dorado Lanes to a very powerful competent bowler, who still knows he can not beat me when he sees me bowling close to him.  Of course I have been at it 50 more years, so, if he keeps trying, he will probably catch up.
It's like that with all the professional basketball players that come there - I rule.  But, most of all, I work up a great sweat, and with no negative side effects.  I do not injure anything; I do not lose any money (gamble); and, I don't need a beer to celebrate my victories.

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