Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Big Game

I suppose it is the season of team sports...

College football recently done, now the basketball...
The NFL dealing out another slow build to another Super Bowl.

Never been much of a fan for any of that stuff, as you might know.
I mean if you have tickets to any game, sure, I am going with.
To sit down and watch most sports eek across a television screen, I can skip any of that...

Last weekend I was out and about, for a snack and to tip some glasses.  The inevitable sports stuff was on, on every screen minus one, in my destination pub.  Some big deal NFL action had the crowd exercised and when that had gone to yet another commercial, well, everybody fixated on Midwestern college teams doing the basketball.

And then, oddly, on a tiny TV in the corner was playing some giant ski slalom action.  Not this, obvioulsy, but like this...

Nobody was watching.
I mean, I guess I was.
People didn't even glance at that screen when all the other were commercials for random prescription drugs (for soft dicks, or high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression - no comment on this but clearly targeted advertising).

And I was baffled.

Here were these warriors, heaving themselves off an icy cliff, down the side of a damned mountain.
Bashing barriers, skidding against the glacial abyss, quite literally flying to victory...
Nobody even saw it in their periphery...

All eyes were on some similarly dressed men, in a big room, waiting for other differently attired men to review video footage of their last momentary burst of actual action and tell them to have at it again, but just right after a commercial break...

Now, I know we all bring our own baggage to these things.  We like teams for this reason or another, even me.  It involves us, or connects us to something, perhaps provides an aspirational comfort by association.
Shit, I don't know.  People like sports...

What I was wondering was - do we like certain sports because they have become easily packaged, commodified and delivered?  Is our interest shaped by the delivery of the media content?

Certainly, it must be easier to find two dudes who played basketball somewhere and can carry on conversation about the sport, send them to a game with four guys who can work a camera and deliver that to a television time slot than trying to cover a giant slalom?
Is that why we collectively care about Jayhawks basketball, or NASCAR more than Olympic skiing or the Dakar?
Because it is simply the more convenient, cost effective sporting event to cover and push as content?

(Golf would be the obvious exception to this premise, sure-it's an individual sport, hard to cover, with minuscule actual action, but well represented in the mainstream media.  I'm bullshitting here, so just go with this...)

I mean, I don't know...
People get into that team stuff as kids and maybe keep loving it?
It's fucking winter, so who wants to go freeze when there's beer and nachos - and some game on?
My hometown or alma mater is better than yours, that seems like a big deal to some folks?

Why do you care about the sports you care about?
Are they covered in any effective way, by the media?
Why, still, do women's sports get shafted if we watch for the love of a game?

It's all fine, mindless distraction from whatever awful thing is happening someplace, all the time...

Enjoy the game.

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