a well-deserved nap as I blog. MR. VICK.
It's Sunday in the U.S. of A. and it is now a tradition to watch the NFL on this day. More people do that now than populate our churches Sunday mornings. When I spent time on the alter a few years ago as a lay minister for the Episcopal church of my choice, my friend and Pastor spoke from the pulpit often about her frustration with low attendance, and spoke privately about the dip in plate receipts during the NFL season, even though services were in the morning and we were here on the East Coast where the sun rises first in the nation in this time zone.
Church meetings at the evangelical church I enjoyed and continue to support always decline in attendance during playoffs, of whatever sport is in season. My United Church of Christ pastor often noted that churches were far more populated during the Advent season prior to Christmas in the days of old. Since the super popularity of the NFL following their years[and now decades] of marketing after the very first Superbowl between The Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers[and especially following the fusion of the old NFL and the AFL] and their morphing into the NFC and the AFC under the one conglomerate umbrella of the multinational marketing giant--the new and not-at-all improved National Football League--that emerged from of the NFL/AFL merger.
I was a fan in the AFL days. Rooted for Coach Vince Lombardi's Packers against the upstart Dallas Cowboys in the real championship game both years of the first two Superbowls. I crossed my fingers as Bart Starr led the greatest team of all time against Dallas, and then walked over their first two AFL opponents in the first two Superbowls--two versions of the Kansas City Chiefs. When the biggest upstart of all time, panti-hose and all(it was his secret, rumor had it, to keep him warm in the coldest of games), Joe Namath, with his hair hanging out of his helmut, generalled his New York Jets to the AFL's first victory in inter league play in the next Superbowl, he won me over and opened my mind up to the possibilities of the AFL. He reminded me of another sports hero of mine in those days, Joe Pepitone of the NY Yankees, whose long locks were also visible beyond his batting helmet. Playing in Mickey Mantle's shadow must have been rough on Joe, a great player. :)
And what about Reggie Jackson, hitting 3 home runs in one world series game. Most exciting TV sports event I ever witnessed, except, of course the whole Munich Olympics tragedy involving Israeli athletes and Palestinians that sports broadcaster Jim McKay brought to us reluctantly with such passion and feeling. :( And Cassius Clay/ Muhammad Ali giving me so much to root for besides his boxing!
I don't watch much TV sports anymore. I admit to being riveted to the Master's stop for the PGA this year, because it was Tiger Wood's first time back(way too soon--that "press conference" with his mother in the front row and the hug following it was a nasty media event--in my book you don't invite your Mom to that one when you're justifying your sexploits like his and his marital infidelity). The right couple won that tournament, Phil Mickelson and his wife. Her battle with breast cancer, and his clawing in that tournament and final win by several strokes clearly put a Tiger into the tank, that he deserved to dwell in this year. Mickelson's searching the gallery for his beautiful wife after his final putt on the 18th and the "hug heard 'round the world" spoke more volumes than anything ever written about marriage vows of fidelity ever have! Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Mickelson for one of the TV highlight films of all time!
Now, back to Michael Vick and the current NFL. The rules of the game have changed. Its boring now to begin with. "Fetus ball" at the end of a game when a team is ahead and the quarterback is allowed to curl up with the ball and fall, untouched by the defense, can be ruled in such a way that the backs' safety and the progress of the game and everyone's integrity can be maintained. The TV time outs, and all the time outs have slowed a 60 minute game to a crawl. Boring. Some games take 10 years to finish, it seems to me. But who really cares at that point. Lets force offenses to get plays off a lot more quickly. There is more time between plays in NFL football now than in any sport I've ever watched. Inter-Conference play between NFC and AFC is bad. A lousy concept completely. The notion of some teams having weaker schedules than others is a turn-off for everyone. And get rid of the instant replay rule. Refs are supposed to make bad calls. They're human, that's the whole point. And home fans are supposed to get livid at bad calls against the home team.
Ever been to the Bronx and witness a Bronx cheer when an umpire makes a bad call against the New York Yankees? "Kill the ump!" They say, but it's not a real physical threat. To this day, no ump at any MLB game has yet been assassinated for a bad call. An occasional beer bottle maybe(how 'bout no beer at games?). The real Bronx Bombers are in the stands, the fans who chatter and make every opposition pitcher who dares strut out to the Yankee Stadium mound shudder and think twice with each pitch home. The Yankee fans are the ones who are primarily responsible for their dozens of world series victories. I wound up at Fenway for a couple of years, and the mood in the crowds there is much different. More polite, genteel almost. But they're getting there. Louder, and a bit more aggressive. They're winning more seasons now, and broke that Bambino curse finally! Lol. Having been raised 70 miles from the old stadium that Ruth built, and spent 5 years in Boston, I publicly proclaim my permanent neutrality. I feel very strongly both ways when it comes to the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. :) About the only major controversy in life that I profess neutrality about whatsoever. And in the northeast of the U.S. of A. that debate is far more controversial than War versus Peace. Just mention George Steinbrenner in Connecticut and see what happens. If you do it in the Bronx and have an opposing view, I advise football hardware for protection. :-D
How about a shot clock for the NFL. Ball has to be hiked every 10 seconds on the game clock, and only 3 timeouts a game. And halftime, and a minute at the end of the first three quarters and that's it for stopping the clock. And just eliminate the 2 minute time-out. That was the beginning of the end of good football. In what the rest of the world calls football[and only we call soccer(ethnocentricity on our part--the rest of the world also likes the metric system instead of yards--even increments of 10, instead of 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, 100 yards in a football game, and 5,2 hundred and how many feet in a mile???)], time-outs are few and far between, and substitutions almost non-existent. Once you're on the field you play and that's pretty much it. Unless you're carried off the field on a stretcher. Now there's some action for you. Football, to the rest of the world, is that game. I propose a new name for the game played by the NFL. How about Assaultball. Those guys have to wear so much padding they remind me of 5 year olds bundled up to play in the snow. A bit agressive a game, dontcha think? Only spread as far as North America. Wonder why, and wonder why our national psyche is so fascinated with so violent a "sport."
And I get a kick out of the symbolic sexual suggestivity implied in the "huddles," the quarterback patting the center's behind and wiping his hand on that center's buttocks towel when barking out the play, the celebretory bumps following a 'score', the dancing in the end zone and what-not. At ths point the game is a testosterone-ridden phenomenon reflective of our entire culture; dominating the world with ICBM phallic symbols, to say the least. No homophobia intended or implied, just an observation about a game that prides itself in it's appeal to heterosexual males(just look at their sponsors' advertising--lol).
Have you seen the "cage" type of fighting that's allowed to be marketed now? It's just assault with the gloves off. Ridiculous. Connecticut senatorial candidate Linda McMahon on the Republican side took the WWF and molded it into the WWE, allowed metal chairs, non-wrestlers, bikini-ed models and such to be utilized as part of her assault "comedy" shows and marketed it to kids. Those are her "family values." Thanks for contributing massively to the violence and sexploitation in our culture Linda! More Americans are behind bars in this nation per-capita than anywhere on earth, including Stalin's Soviet "Union" of the cold war days. Thank you CEO McMahon!! BY THE WAY, VOTE FOR CHARM-FREE(IN IT'S ENDORSEMENT OF MR. BLUMENTHAL, THAT'S WHAT THE NY TIMES CALLED HIM) SENATE CANDIDATE ATTORNEY GENERAL RICHARD BLUMENTHAL OVER THE WRESTLING MILLIONAIRE(SHE'S THE
$50 MILLION DOLLAR WOMAN, SPENDING $50 MILLION OF HER OWN EASILY-EARNED CASH ON HER EGO CAMPAIGN FOR THE U.S. SENATE) AND DAN MALLOY FOR CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR, PLEASE.
But the worst thing the NFL and people who have already had their personal scandals, such as Vick, Beck, Limbaugh, and Tiger Woods, are doing is making the mistake of thinking that there isn't a clear point at which your personal bungles are so morally bad that you can never serve in your prior public capacity. Vick's torture of dogs was so recent, and his summertime involvements with his co-conspirators so recent, and his actions so morally corrupt that neither he nor the NFL should even consider him playing ever again. The NFL markets products and services to kids. He is a role model and a bad one! It really is that simple. Boycott, football fans, boycott!
Beck and Limbaugh have had their personal scandals as well, and need to stay off the D.C. Mall and not give right-wing speeches on historic civil rights' anniversaries in the shadow of real Republican Abraham Lincoln's Memorial. And potential Republican Presidential candidates(hi Ms. Palin) need to not be seen with, nor behind, nor involved in any way with recovering alcoholics and addicts who admit they're no longer in recovery(hi Glenn, hi Rush). Tiger Woods needs to hang up his Izods. You're washed up and for good reason. I don't think you'll ever golf the same again. Too bad though. You rushed it. That media event/press conference involving Mom and no questions blew it for you. Then jumping right into the Master's so quickly. A bit too greedy, my friend.
But let's spread the NFL boycott for now. Boycott Michael Vick. Boycott the Philadelphia Eagles. Boycott the NFL. Please. And please tell your friends.