Ban Football!

The new robust streaming service has allowed me to watch football on TV. True: I have the game on with no sound and continue my reading using iPods and an alternate digital device. True: my reading has slipped a little. But it only took a couple of weeks before I remembered why I gave up watching football and discovered a few new reasons to hate it.

First, the broadcast announcers all shill for the game. I call this the Bud Wilkerson Fallacy. When Bud was announcing, every play was a touchdown, or at least would have been if the ball carrier hadn’t dropped the ball when those five big opposition guys tackled him on his own 12-yard line; otherwise, “He would have gone all the way!”

When I was young and stupid, there were two football games on the television (radio?) each week: College on Saturday, Pro on Sunday. Even the best broadcast only used two cameras: a long shot, presumably from the top row in the stadium, which showed the details of each play … all at once … like bugs on a rug. Games in the snow with white uniforms on a Black & White television were a major challenge. The close-up camera showed the line of scrimmage and sometimes followed the action sufficiently so as to let the viewer follow along.

Then the “Bud Wilkerson” would tell you what you should have seen, even if it didn’t happen.

Today it is worse. Football is turning into Money Ball.

When I was in Grad School, my side-job got me started in computers. I remember when the department successfully linked up 12 teletypewriters in a crude network. The party was wild! My boss at the Institute later wrote a little program that gathered where a football play went (off-tackle. etc.) and returned percentages (odds) that might predict the next play from scrimmage. My boss said the Jets were interested (or was it the Titans?).

Nowadays with the power of computers and the ability to store data, the phalanx of coaches, announcers, and color specialists can regurgitate the statistics revealed by whether the left tackle clenches his right or left butt cheek before the play develops.

But the real problem with football is that it is a game that is too dangerous to play. Look at all the injuries on the field. But more so, look at all the rules and penalties that are designed to let big, strong warriors kill the opposition … but not kill them too much. Having been away from the game for many years, I cannot get over the new rule that lets a quarterback race around in the backfield avoiding tackles until he spots an open man and slings that football … or if no one is open just tosses it to the ground and says King’s-X or Olly, Olly Oxen Free!

Wouldn’t want to hurt the obscenely rich quarterback, right? But if football is so dangerous, why is it allowed to continue?

Oh well. The season is over and I have to crank up my reading lest I get tackled in the backfield. These are the titles that tweeked my interest last month:

01-01-23 – Democracy in America — Alexis de Tocqueville
01-02-23 – Demon Copperhead — Barbara Kingsolver
01-03-23 – Parasite Eve — Hideaki Sena
01-04-23 – The Instant — Amy Liptrot
01-05-23 – Doctor Syntax — Michael Petracca
01-06-23 – City of Quartz — Mike Davis
01-07-23 – Like a Rolling Stone — Jann S. Wenner
01-08-23 – Mothering — Ainslie Hogarth
01-09-23 – Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man — Emily Edwards
01-10-23 – The Singularities — John Banville
01-11-23 – Brotherless Night — V.V. Ganeshananthan
01-12-23 – Nothing Special — Nicole Flattery
01-13-23 – Nights of Plague — Orhan Pamuk
01-14-23 – Sala — Cho Nam-Joo
01-15-23 – Now Is Not the Time to Panic: A Novel — Kevin Wilson
01-16-23 – Avenue of Mysteries — John Irving
01-17-23 – Cinema Speculation — Quentin Tarantino
01-18-23 – Indigenous Continent: The Epic Contest for North America — Pekka Hamalainen
01-19-23 – The Town of Babylon — Alejandro Varela
01-20-23 – Ghost Town — Kevin Chen
01-21-23 – Kibogo — Scholastique Mukasonga
01-22-23 – Brown Girls — Daphne Palasi Andreades
01-23-23 – Purge — Sofi Oksanen
01-24-23 – Secrets Typed in Blood — Stephen Spotswood
01-25-23 – No One Left to Come Looking for You — Sam Lipsyte
01-26-23 – Hyperion Cantos — Dan Simmons
01-27-23 – Memed, My Hawk — Yashar Kemal
01-28-23 – How Fiction Works — James Woods
01-29-23 – Solenoid — Mircea Cartarescu
01-30-23 – Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion — Bushra Rehman
01-31-23 – Eat Your Mind: The Radical Life and More of Kathy Acker — Jason McBride

What are your thoughts on this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s