Sunday, January 16, 2011

A SPORTS AS LIFE PASTICHE

DID YOU WATCH THE FOREMAN – LYLE FIGHT?


At least that is what the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens football game reminded me of Saturday afternoon. It was an intense, sloppy at the same time it was well-played, violent game without any questionable calls or hits. There were sudden changes in momentum and then the game seemingly did not turn convincingly until a big play by the Steelers that finally took the air out of the Ravens a little.

One of the oddities about the rivalry between the two teams is that as closely matched as they are on the field and on paper, it is Pittsburgh who has been dominating as far as winning is concerned. I think that this was the 8th Steeler victory in their last 10 matches. Perhaps what makes this rivalry unmatched in professional sports isn’t the broad appeal of the teams or the commercial reach of the NFL but the intensity and the play of the best players in these games.



There was a bit of controversy between the teams this week because of a tee-shirt that one of the Raven’s players, Terrell Suggs, was photographed in (click link if you want to see the picture). I can’t remember how many times his name was called for making plays, but the cat walked the way he talked! It felt like every time a name was mentioned, it was either a big name (Troy Poluamu, Ray Lewis, Ben Rothlisberger or Joe Flacco) or a key player that ‘is on scholarship, too’ like Cory Redding for the Ravens and Ryan Clark of the Steelers, who showed up big in the game as well.



I think that is why I began to fall out of being a fan of pro basketball. Instead of letting the talent speak for the game, the NBA began to market personalities who were comparative carbon copies of the boring template that Michael Jordan put into play. Unlike the fiery competitive teams of the 80’s and early 90’s, what you have are boring and bland empty suits with no filler. The NBA is more about the spin and less about the substance. As dangerous as football can be, the visceral connection to the participants also allows for the content of a football players character to be displayed. Even as ‘corporate’ as the Tom Brady is, he too, can be a little chirpy and get involved in the trash-talking and let his ‘slip’ show (politically, he is a stuffed shirt and like some conservative folks, I think he is socially hypocritical), which is unlike star basketball players. Even Kobe Bryant tries to affect a front that he is something other than the indulgent and spoiled brat that he is. I can imagine that he will always have sourness to the memories of his career, even with his storied accomplishments.

ME AND THE KID

I woke up today feeling a bit ‘clearer’ than I have since I was hit by the car nearly two weeks ago. Some details are still fuzzy and I am not sure about how I am to go about receiving follow-up treatment, but I did take fairly decent notes when I met with the Progressive insurance adjuster. She gave me instructions on Friday that I am going to follow to the letter and I do have a meet-up with a lawyer to see if there are any other remedies that can be pursued. Each day my anger has not subsided in the least bit, and if the cat that drove his car into me would put on a pair of 10 oz. Reyes and step between a roped-off 20-by-20 square and go with for a scheduled 10 rounds… I would take that.

What I feel is a bit cheated. Anywho, as I ‘warm up’ to being alive, I think back about how I see my condition. Somewhere I have an article from the mid-90’s that spoke to the plasticity of the brain and how sometimes areas that no longer work can have their functions ‘re-routed’ through another area of the brain loss of certain functions can be lessened if not completely diminished. Reading about that and other pieces of information that I picked up here and there in my travels is what allowed me to keep boxing as long as I did. My thing was I was betting that I would still have enough to sustain me after I retired from a long and lucrative career… kind of missed on the ‘lucrative’ part, materially speaking. But I do think I have had a rich and fulfilling life. Each night I lay in bed and smile that I am in Nebraska and think to myself how I need to get some ‘new dreams’ because if I had a bucket list, it would be nothing but scratch outs now, because I have done pretty much everything I have wanted to do. You can question the level of success that I have had, but when it comes to wishing that I could have gone somewhere or done something, I really don’t have any wishes like that in me.

No, it isn’t going to be easy and it hasn’t been easy for me. Is it ‘easy’ for anyone? What I have told myself since I achieve independent consciousness about the drudgery of life, is that the people who find joy in what they do no matter the difficulty have a higher quality of life. Or so the Germans would have you believe…

THE SET OF REAL NUMBERS


Some of the new prime-time game shows resemble ‘The Running Man’ (or ‘The Long Walk’ take your Stephen King story of future dystopia pick) and I often find them unwatchable. But I did find myself watching ‘Minute To Win It’ the night of the Presidential address in response to the Arizona shootings and their were two contestants, Chelsea and Alia, who caught my eye. They were both dressed in outfits that would not be out of place in an aerobic class and were both equally attractive brunettes.

I could not ‘pick’ which one looked better to me and I thought about why that was. While to me they both qualified as ‘petite’, Alia, she of the cool shoulder tattoo, was taller by several inches and prolly was a 9/10 (estimate made because she was built similar to Nixxie). The true petite Chelsea was not holdin’ ‘em up either and she seemed to be at least as curvy as her partner.


Now I do think that Nebraska likes me as ‘more than a friend’. But moving here was not an end as it is a means to an end. While I mentioned that I have a lot of things ‘X’-ed of my bucket list, I still have a few particular goals and several targets that I would like to aim for that will keep me motivated me to get after things. 

I want to go to four more places and in ascendancy of difficulty they are 1) The Wisconsin Dells/game day at Camp Randall in Madison: 3) The Mall of America/ The West Edmonton Mall 3) The Valley of Fire/Mt. Rushmore: 4) Alaska/Yukon trip and one Kung-Fu mega dream, which would be to go somewhere in the South Pacific… either Australia, Fiji or New Zealand. And that would be the targets that I want to pull me through school and eventually back on the grid.


Then there are less stratospheric but maybe more urgent goals. For instance, one of the things that angers me about the accident is that I have been talking with Nixxie and Pecan Sandie about our girls and maybe I could have the two of them at one time this summer… but I have to find out if I can take care of myself much less two teenagers away from home (and I suppose that they would look to be like teenagers away from home while here… free and a little wild!).   When it comes to potential romanctic entanglements, while there is a 'right of first refusal' to be dealt with, I think that I want to explore and widen my options in that area as well.


A little bummed, that is for sure. But it is only a little. If I were to take a quarterly grade, I think I would get a failing so far and that is okay for now, for real, isn’t it Winnie?



Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill

And I go on... (and I don’t stop!!)

4 comments:

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

You are making the grade, not failing. You have done things that many only dream of. And not only that, you have some cool things to look forward to.

Beth said...

You are one of the most optimistic, forward-thinking people I've ever met. You'll handle this...because that's what you do. Keep on keepin' on, my friend. L&R!

Mizrepresent said...

Your last line says it all...Good for you! Live your life!

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

Mark,
Shoot for Australia. I visited there in 1986 and was blown away by it's beauty and the people.