08 November 2005

The Definition Of Sport

David Carr: a man with an unimpeachably
positive attitude despite a dismal team record
- which makes him my personal hero. Posted by Picasa


I know I should be doing something productive, like being a heckler at an open-mic poetry reading, but last night's MNF match up betwixt the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots is still ablaze in my mind, so blog I must.

Yes, I know you're not a football fan, so just indulge me. Let your eyes glaze over and roll heavenward while I get this off my chest.

Fact #1: Pardon my French, but New England blows. Yeah they have three Superbowl wins in the last four years, but wins and stats ain't everything. To wit: they and their fans alike exhibited such unsportsmanlike behavior and so little grace last night that it only deepened my aversion to them. Example: When the Patriots were down by 14 points at half time, their own fans booed them. Booed them. What the hell? You root for a team, you support a team, and that means even when they suck. I sat in the teat-freezing rain in the midst of some-thousand-odd alcohol-drenched walnut-brained Bills fans until the very bitter end of the Hawks 38-19 loss to them last year. And I applauded my team as they left the field. The Bills fans around me were so stunned they were speechless, which if you know Bills fans is saying a lot.

Fact #2: To build on a point from #1, stats and wins alone do not a sportsman make. F'rinstance, you may laugh, but I think one of the finest quarterbacks in the NFL is the absolutely for-fucking-lorn one-and-seven Houston Texans' quarterback David Carr. Why? Because in spite of the fact that he's been sacked over 30 times this year (which is more than most QBs get sacked in their entire career), he has a brilliantly optimistic attitude. We're talking about a little Calvin Klein underwear-model-of-a-guy who wound up underneath 250 pounds, forty ounces, three stone, half a quart and tuppence of Hawks defensive end Grant Wistrom (shown here in his college days as a Nebraska Cornhusker)and came out smiling. For comparison, let me drop a davenport on you thirty times and see how cheery you remain. And on the odd occasion when his offensive line actually blocks for him and lets him get a play off, he looks pretty damn good. To paraquote: "I know we have a losing record, but game by game we're improving, and I'm improving." David Carr, you are a PRINCE! If I were him, I would give each and every one of my offensive linemen a bare-ass spanking at mid-field during a Monday Night Football broadcast and then summarily fire them all. And then fire the coach. And then the owners. And then crown myself King of all Football.

Fact #3: New England blows (he said, restating for added emphasis, right index finger held aloft). Why? Because last night, when they were down they became whiners and moaners. Coach Bill Belichick threw an illegal challenge flag in the 4th quarter, was apprised that it would cost his team a penalty, so to save his ass, made a bullcrap challenge on a clear-as-day call. Then to save hometown darling QB Tom Brady from taking complete responsibility for a 40-21 trouncing, they reached into the team ossuary and pulled out Doug Flutie's geriatric ass to replace him for the last series of the game. Flutie, voted the World's Most Birdy-Legged AARP Member, succeeded in picking up the sucking where Brady left off, actually tried to draw a foul on the Colts by bumping into a Colts player on purpose and then whining to the ref. And to just to shine up their turd of a loss real nice, Flutie got sacked and made a turnover on the last play of the game.

I don't care if they have 3 Superbowl wins. They act like losers, so to my mind, they are.

To give one last example, the consistently beleaguered Detroit Lions came to Seattle in 2003 and took home a beating. However, QB Joey Harrington, in the 4th quarter with no way of winning the game, was still skipping the huddle and calling audibles at the line as though the game were tied. That, sir, is sportsmanship.

Competitive sport is an unequaled opportunity for humans to practice grace under adversity, which is a salient lesson in our most troubled times. It is also an opportunity for the players to teach the spectators that same lesson by example. If you fail on that score, you are squandering your chance to strengthen the human character. And that failure, dear Gregory, while short of being unforgivable, is pitiable indeed.

Cheers and give my best to Marie. Go Hawks.

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