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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Too Much Football?


Too Much Football?

It is Sunday night, and I am in bed watching the reconstruction of the actual house in the old “The Brady Bunch” TV show, to look inside exactly like the studio set where the iconic show was filmed.

About half way through I had to ask Mrs. C,

“Why am I watching this show?”

“What stupid reality show do you want to watch, the one about unexpected pregnancies, or the doctor that pops huge disgusting pimples?”

“Ah…FOOTBALL?”

“There is no football, it’s Sunday night!”

“Ah yeah, Sunday Night Football.”

“Really?  OK, you can watch football.”

Thing is, much as I am not interested in rebuilding “The Brady Bunch” home, I am also OK without watching football. 

Back in the day, in the fifties and early sixties, football on TV was a big deal.  There was one college “Game of the Week” on Saturday afternoon, and a Professional game on Sunday.

If your favorite local team was playing at home, that game was blacked out and you had to listen to it on radio.  They may have had another game to replace the blackout game…I don’t remember.

When the Giants played Philly at home, it was a big deal in our house, because Dad could climb on the roof and aim the antennae toward Philly (our Jersey home was about 20 miles from NYC and 50 miles from Philly) and we could get a snowy reception of the game.  It felt like we were cheating somehow. 

Some fans would drive out of blackout range and rent a motel room to watch the game.

Sometime in the sixties the blackout rule was waived and we got all the local games, plus an extra game from out of town.  Then the AFC came along and there were two AFL games.  Holy cow, four games on Sunday, it was amazing.

With cable TV and a zillion cable stations there are now so many college games on TV Saturdays that it is impossible to see even half of them.  They start around 12:00 and the final game starts around 8:00 PM.

Then TV decided to add a Pro game on Monday Night.  That game was, for a while, a really big deal.  There were MNF parties every week, almost like Super Bowl Parties today.  Guess what?  Sunday nights were open…not for long.  Now there is Sunday Night Football.

Colleges wanted in on the TV loot so there are now games on Thursday and Friday nights.  Not to be outdone, The Pros now have a TV game on Thursday night.

So currently there is football on TV all day Saturday (early Saturday often has a High School game), all day Sunday, Monday night, and Thursday and Friday nights.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally football free; except during December Bowl season.

So as difficult as it is for me to believe, I am watching the rebuild of an old iconic, but lame TV show, and I do not even know what teams are playing on Sunday Night Football!  And this stupid “Brady Bunch” show I am watching is “On Demand” which means I could watch it ANY TIME!

Football on TV, any football game, used to be a big deal.

If I am choosing to watch a Brady Bunch Home rebuild instead of football, I think that is a pretty good indictor that we have reached the TV football saturation point.
Or maybe I need to turn in my Man Card.

  

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Golf is a Melting Pot


Golf is a Melting Pot

Golf is a great game on many levels.  

I know many people think of golf as a white, Anglo-Saxon sport that is beyond the means of ordinary peoples.  That may be true of the country club set, though I must say most “country club set” people I know are very nice people; but my experience with golfers is from the public golf course, not the country club.

I often say about other golfers, "The foursome in front of you and the foursome behind you are all assholes, but I've liked every other golfer I’ve ever met!"

The foursome in front of you is always playing too slow, the foursome behind you is always playing too fast.  On the times that you do meet up with one of these groups, it turns out that they are also good people.

I play golf on a public course. Golf on a public course is a melting pot of golfers from different races, religions, and cultures.  I’ve found, on the golf course, there are not people who are different than you, there are only golfers.  Golfers are a religion and culture unto itself.

I know there are some of you who think,

“What a stupid game, chasing a little white ball down the grass, trying to put it in a little hole.”

I know this because I hear people say that all the time.

Yes, and opera is fat people singing in a foreign language and without a real melody, about shit that happened a zillion years ago.

Art is paint splattered at random over canvas.

Ballet is people in tight pants balancing on their toes.

Acting is someone making believe he is someone else, and figure-skating is young girls skating backwards to show off their ass.

Or in other words...

Don’t knock, what you don’t understand.

Belittle golf as a stupid game if you wish, but beyond the sport itself, I have only met fun, interesting people on the golf course.

When you are retired and play golf on weekdays, you never know who you will be playing with.  I have been paired with African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, and other WASPS. 

All these religions races and cultures have a great sense of humor on the golf course.  All, regardless of their skill are humbled by the game.  All are only helpful toward other golfers.  All, while on the golf course, are not of any culture, race or religions…all are just golfers.

I played with an Indian dude who bashed his drive into the woods.  His ball hit a tree and bounced out to the middle of the fairway. 

When he found his ball, he looked to me and said in that Indian accent, “Indian luck!”

I laughed my ass off and said I’m not sure it would be OK for me to say such a thing.

“Oh no, it is true, we have Indian luck.”

I’ve played with an African American who told me, “You’re not bad for a white dude.” I responded, “And thank you for not stealing my clubs!”

We both laughed like hell; we were not black or white, we were golfers.

I played with a Japanese guy who wore thick glasses, yet he kept finding my miss-hit shots in the rough when I had given up looking for them.  I told him,

“You are the best ball hawk I’ve ever played with.”

He responded,

“I don’t really need these glasses; I only wear them to fit the stereotype”.

We both laughed like hell, we were not WASP and Asian, we were golfers.

I played last week with a gentle giant of a man, a Puerto Rican, an ex-Marine, who worked as a guard at the local juvenile detention center.

The stories I heard.  He dealt everyday with tough kids, many who cared for or about nothing…some just lost souls.

“I know these kids,” he said, “I was one of them, I understand them.  I care about them, but you also have to be firm.  I’ve been suspended twice for smacking them down.  It was worth it, it's the only way to gain any respect.  They’ll say, ‘Don’t mess with that guy, he’ll knock you out!’”

I learned a lot from this gentleman who is tough when he has to be.  He was not a tough ex-marine Puerto Rican on the golf course; he was like me…a golfer.

Golf brings people together.  Golf is a melting pot.  I’ve learned more about people, ideas, and cultures playing golf than from any books or TV specials.

Make fun of the game if you want, but golf is more than a sport; golf is a culture in itself. It is a culture that brings people together, it brings them together with a common love-hate relationship that all golfers share, love-hate for the game, and respect for all who play the game.

Except for that slow group in front and the pushy group behind.  

We all hate those assholes!

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

THAT KID


THAT KID





I remember the days of sports before instant replay review on TV.  In many ways sports were better then.  Close play, official makes a call, move on.  Yeah, sometimes a call was so egregious that you wished for an instant replay, but for the most part close calls balanced out.


When we were kids playing on the schoolyard, there was no instant replay, there were also few arguments.
  

Tie goes to the runner.


If someone says they made the tag, then he made the tag.
  

In bounds, out of bounds? The closest person to the line made the call and the call always stood.


Games were fun in those days.  We played to win,  but if teams were not fair, they were rearranged on the fly to even things up.  There were no arguments to speak of…


Except.


Every neighborhood always had one.  One kid that knew all the rules and used the rules to win.  To this kid winning was everything.  He was THAT kid.


If there was a clean hit and the man running to first base turned the wrong way in returning to first base, THAT kid would be waiting with a tag.


“You rounded the wrong way, you crossed the line by a half an inch, you’re out!”


If a fielder missed stepping on second base by a fraction,  The "In the neighborhood" rule which existed in the major leagues did not exist for THAT kid.


“You stepped over the bag, I’m safe.”


THAT kid was the only one on the field who knew what a balk was, and he called it when ever it worked for him.


THAT kid called every fumble a fumble when on defense, when on offense he decided "The ground can't cause a fumble."


THAT kid fought every call, pulled out rules that no one had ever heard of and would do anything to win.


Why you ask, did we even let THAT kid play?


THAT kid was also the kid who brought the ball.  If you did not agree with his rules and calls, he threatened to take his ball and just go home.


Like I said, every neighborhood had THAT kid.


I wonder what ever happened to THOSE kids when they grew up.