Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at gregtito.com.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Robin Williams

So apparently Rain Delay has become a blog crazyfool. He posts 2-3 times per day and suddenly my once or twice a week posting seems horribly inadequate, not unlike my penis. I shall attempt to post more but as I am on vacation next in hurricane-ridden Florida, I doubt I will have the wherewithal or the electricity needed to post on the Interweb. We shall see. This could all just be a passing thing.


Taking a slight inspiration from RD, I wanted to expound on the subject on sports. I like them. It seems in our culture that liking sports places one in the jock category, the meathead, 350 pound hick who loves to watch men tackle/bump/slide into other men. The artistic community (and by this i mean the fru fru wine and cheese snobs who love Kubrick but hate Bruckheimer) look down upon sport as mean, crude or just plain uninspiring. Whether this comes from a lack of athletic ability in themselves (imagining their frail buliemic bodies playing a pickup game of basketball makes me smile) or a supreme distaste for all things outside the intellectual realm, I think these poor bastards have got it all wrong.

To paraphrase Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society, "Sport is a chance for other human beings to push us to excel." In every sport, you are locked in a struggle to be the best. The only thing that prevents you from that goal is that other humans are trying to do the same thing. Some say that it's not whether you win or lose, that the struggle is just as important. In that case, style and expression in a game mean just as much as the final result. Hmm, sounds a lot like art.

Take baseball for example. Baseball is a deceptively simple sport that has been likened to strategic games like chess or poker. There are moves that a manager can make which can be called brilliantly effective or devastatingly stupid, depending on the swing of a bat. One of the most common is the having left-handed pitchers throw to left-handed batters. But one must also consider that some left-handed batter do better against left-handed pitching, but only during night games. It gets complicated, there are some players and managers who pore over stat sheets and study trends and patterns in the opposing players. But then there are others who don't even know the basics of pitching and do incredibly well by just swinging the bat intuitively. In both extremes, the player is putting their personality on how they play the game.

Baseball has become a passion of mine in recent years as I've watched the Sox overcome 86 years of failure. This is a franchise which has so much history and character associated with its years in Boston. From their eternal struggle with the Yankees, to their self-destructive nature on the field, to their notorious fans, through it all, the Boston Red Sox have a certain style. These past few years, their character has been described as idiotic. They are baseball's crazy bunch of overacheivers. The long hair and the handshakes only point to how much they love the game, how much they love pitting themselves in the struggle of sports every night. The roster reads like a playbill, with characters like the Sad Clown (Manny Ramirez), Big Papi, Johnny D., the Texas Yokel (Millar), the quiet, skillful Mueller, Rock Star Arroyo, Big Mouth (Shillling), and Explosive Renteria.

How can you not be inspired by a team like that?

11 comments:

Rain Delay said...

Just last night, I was thinking about how a couple of years ago, I would have had no idea that Schilling did not throw his first splitter until the third inning and how the fact that the batter teed off on it, is a sign that his ankle is not truly healed.

I agree that people fail to realize the intricacies of sports, and thus through this ignorance, categorize them as simple and stupid. Well done sir. Well done.

spaceguy said...

Mr Jingle, you live in Brooklyn and you're a Red Sox fan? And you admit it? Shame, shame!

I know, I know, you were a Red Sox fan before moving there, but still...

I myself am not a huge sports fan, but do certainly enjoy a good sporting event, whether it's hockey, baseball, football, auto racing, whatever. How could you not? Great athletes are like artists in many ways and each game is like a different work of art...some better than others.

Rain Delay said...

I was about to find spaceguy and give him the business... but then I realized who it was... that was a close one.

MostlyModest said...

You make a good argument. Sports does not have to be the sole domain of meatheads or people who enjoy Robin Williams films. Speaking of which, why does everyone love that guy? His schtick is so played out, just like every Mike Myers bit ever. Schwing. Groovy, baby.

spaceguy said...

I just heard this Digital Flotsam podcast edisode and thought it fit here. It's entitled "The Legacy of Geeks Edition". You can stream or download it.

Ian Savage said...

You know, I would consider you and I, both lover's of the arts. True, we enjoy wine and cheese, but hardly in any fru fru manner. I love Kubrick and Bruckheimer is fine by me. But neither of us really fit into these stereotypes. You know my distaste for the sports...and I used to play them, football in HS, Rugby in College. I enjoy the occassional UCONN game, and would never pass up a ticket to a live event. What I get totally bored with is the televised events, stats, and history that I just don't have the patience to keep in my brain and be interested in. Does this make me a bad person? I don't fail to realize the value and cultural aspects of sports in our society, I just don't care to partake....especially when we watch two baseball games at the same time, with the sound of a golf game added for good measure.

Rain Delay said...

I don't necessarily think that it makes Savage a bad person for not wanting to partake in the deeper understanding of sports. But what does make someone a bad person is when they complain about other people's choice to watch two baseball games at the same time, with the sound of a golf game added for good measure.

Bob Jingle said...

There's a difference between liking Kubrick, wine and cheese, and being a complete ass snob about them, disliking everything that is uncouth or visceral. I also like wine, cheese and (some) Kubrick, not necessarily in that order, but I don't like them exclusively. Sometimes I prefer a bang em up action movie to a plodding characters-based one.

The same thing applies to sports. I like baseball and college basketball but I can pretty much watch anything if I am in the mood, because of the reasons I outlined in the original post. What I don't understand is when someone says, "I hate sports" or for no other reason than how they are perceived. (For the record, I don't think this applies to you, Mr. Savage)

One further comment for Mr. Savage, I can understand not keeping every stat in your head, but it is the history and the story of the game that I find the most interesting. I think you would too, if you cared to look at it. And I can't believe that you, having been in close proximity to sports for most of your life through myself or Rain Delay, fail to pay at least a little attention to how a game is played.

Rain Delay said...

With sports, context like most things in life is everything. Without knowing the context behind the game being watched, sports becomes one dimensional, overly simplistic, and decidingly boring. By knowing the history, stats, strategy, etc., sport becomes more than simply something to fill a Sunday afternoon elevating itself to an its own unique art form.

Bob Jingle said...

Well said.

Rain Delay said...

I like sports.. but I like when you write new stuff better. COME ON MAN.