By John Kass
I really shouldn’t be writing a column asking: What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Sports?
Because I already know the answer. What do we talk about?
We talk politics. Only the witless refuse to acknowledge the taint.
Especially today, with the Beijing Winter Olympics hyped on NBC, and the Roman Circus of the Super Bowl coming up, and media doing what it always does, selling sports as virtue 24/7 to sell beer, cars, auto insurance and erectile dysfunction remedies.
Don’t you just love TV’s touching sentimental profiles of Olympic athletes who had to overcome great odds? NBC has given the world the cry show called “This is Us.” And the China Olympics on NBC is Sports This is Us On Steroids. Grab the box of tissue. Cue the tiny piano. Spoon the ice cream right out of the tub. And cry on the couch.
Cry, baby. Cry.
All you have to do is forget about the lab where the Wuhan Virus probably came from and forget what’s happening to the Uighurs. Enjoy the show.
And those recipes for delicious Olympic and Super Bowl snacks, to impress your guests while watching, so we may celebrate these Twin Festivals of Athletic Prowess and Tribal Yearning. These perfect platforms of salts and fats that we’ll raise to our mouths, cheering lustily, from the couch. And then sugary desserts afterward (for some of you). Also, Olympic approved beer and Super Bowl approved beer and let’s not forget sports betting.
The NFL is all about betting now. You see the commercials, Cesar with all that golden bling and Win Terry Bradshaw’s money. Another addiction goes corporate.
Gambling was once outlawed by the NFL and legions of former FBI agents tracked down athletes who gambled. You’ve forgotten what the NFL did to Alex Karras and Paul Hornung? Of course, you’ve forgotten. Corporate money and corporate media just drives it out of your head.
And for you Old School types, isn’t the Outfit a bunch of old men pretending they’re suffering dementia and waiting to die? Gambling and football. What possibly could go wrong?
No, I really shouldn’t write this column. But I’m stubborn, and today I just don’t give two figs.
What happened to sports?
We’re told that the world is eager to watch NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics, and wash itself in Chinese propaganda, to ooh and aah over the spectacle, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. It some us ignore the genocide China is committing against its Muslim Uighur (pronounced wee-ger) minority.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plays the coward, admonishing American athletes not to say anything about the Chinese slave camps. In this she’s like the NBA, with money to be made there, damning anyone (including its own) for standing up for freedom of Hong Kong. She’s like Hollywood forcing “action star” John Cena to weep in Mandarin while groveling to China’s dictator Xi Jinping, after Cena dared say Taiwan was a sovereign which it is.
Hollywood, and American professional sports and the bi-partisan American Combine are eager for China’s cash, willing to kowtow to Xi Jinping and eagerly play the prostitute. All we’re haggling about now is the price. And you know who pays? America pays.
But just forget it. There is a way to distract Americans from China’s Uighur forced labor camps and the forced sterilizations of Uighur women:
The Cinderella Princess Competitions on Ice.
You may call it Women’s Figure Skating.
There may come a day when biological men in transition will rule the Women’s Figure Skating world, with stupendous leaps of power due to their growing up with all that testosterone, providing greater muscle mass and bone density. You can see this happening in women’s collegiate swimming, aided by the silence of American corporate media, woke as it is, ignoring it all. Silence is consent, no?
Female feminists are discouraged from mentioning the advantage had by biologically born males, lest they be canceled out for sin and subject to viral hate like Martina Navratilova, one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. She tried to warn other women. They shut her up good, and others too, who tried.
When biologically born males dominate Women’s Figure Skating, there will be a great gnashing of teeth at the sports networks, and pulling of hair among CEOs hoping to advertise their wares on the Cinderella Princess Competitions. And weeping, lots of weeping, with sad face emojis everywhere.
Or maybe not. It could be they’ll just shriek in private, and in public, they might congratulate themselves for “evolving.”
Does it matter?
Fans of the Cinderella Princess Competitions on Ice might just turn to another sport and watch Barrel Racing instead. Those rodeo girls are crazy and they look good in jeans.
But not this day.
With the Super Bowl approaching, and other hype stories about the mattress guy betting $4 million on the Bengals, a nagging thought:
How much for a ticket, autographed by Colin Kaepernick and Spike Lee, for a perfect unobstructed view of multi-million-dollar athletes kneeling during the National Anthem at the Super Bowl?
Is there such a ticket or is it the thought that counts?
As far as American football is concerned, the United States is a terrible place conceived in irredeemable sin of slavery long ago, and the left will never allow us to forget white guilt. We could elect 10 Barack Obamas. We’re not that nation anymore. We’ve repudiated slavery. Hundreds of thousands of Union Soldiers died in the Civil War. We’ve made great progress, worked to improve, to be fair and include all, and the hopeless of the world risk their lives to get here, to raise families here under American law.
But the guilt trip will never end. It works for the left as an organizing tool. They’ll never let it go. And the lash is held by corporate media, herding the votes. And the sting of the lash provides them revenue, so they’ll never let it go.
Yet somehow, immigrants still clamor to come. And this immigrant’s son (me), whose father plowed fields across the ocean with a mule (named Truman) is deemed by skin tone (olive) to be complicit in all the national horrors that took place long before we arrived on these shores, when we lived on a mountain hunted by the Turks?
OK. If you say so. So how much for a good ticket to see Super Bowl kneelers in action during the Star Spangled Banner?
If it’s only the price of a soul, then many have already paid, and gladly.
I don’t know if players are still kneeling. Perhaps a few outliers still kneel, but it seems clear that the verve has gone out of the kneeling theatricals, now that the nation is in the hands of the woke. Just a few years ago, it was a different story, and many knelt upon the ground. But now Orange Man is gone and the Democrats control the key branches of American governance: the White House, Congress, and the corporate media to keep us in line.
Who knows? Democrats might not want to encourage football kneelers before the 2022 mid-term elections. We’ll see.
When last I watched an NFL game, I didn’t notice any kneelers. There may have been. Perhaps the NFL has trained us not to see them. What was on display was NFL patriotism, with a flag so large that it covered the entire field. And the multitudes who held it up off the ground held the edges tight and shook them, sending of rippling vibrations for the TV cameras.
Now the Washington football club that once carried the racist name “Washington Redskins” has now been rebranded as the “Washington Commanders.”
I can’t wait for the next spectacle from the “Washington Commanders”: Neo-con cheerleaders prancing along the sidelines in their Ivy League suits and sexy white go-go boots. The late Sen. John McCain is gone, but his buddy, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham loves boots on the ground when his feet aren’t in those boots, so he should probably get a pair of those boots and pom poms to cheer “The Commanders.” The War Party isn’t sexy, exactly, but megabucks defense contractor donors make it attractive for the Washington political class.
Commanders, as in battle leaders, in Washington? Wouldn’t it have been more accurate to name the team “The Washington Double Tongues?”
Or “The Spineless?” or “Washington Bi-Partisan Combine Stooges for China?” They could have a dragon as their logo.
I loved American sports once, loved sports more than anything. As the son of immigrants, I cleaved to American sports with all the desperation of a boy wanting to belong to a strange new world and demonstrate my fealty to that world. But now the left has seized sports. And sports media, like all corporate media, has gone relentlessly woke to accommodate the left’s demands.
But if I watch American sports now, it’s from an emotional distance, and can’t help notice the taint that surrounds it.
As I was writing this, a friend sent me photos of a chukar hunt with great pointing dogs on the high Western plains. He looked so happy, bright joy in his eyes, joy for the dogs, joy for the hunt, joy for life. That’s sport too but my left knee still ails me. And until that’s fixed there’s fishing.
In Florida there might be Snook in the creeks and Red Fish on the oyster beds. Tarpon in the bay in spring. Permit. All you need is a simple skiff to get to them.
And soon, Steelhead in a river up north and big browns waiting.
Sometimes a fish will break off. That’s OK. It happens. It’s called fishing, not catching.
And the fishing is so very fine. Clean, pure, untainted by politics and media.
On rare occasions, if luck is with you, you may be fortunate to hook into a great fish, one with a with a big heart. You can feel that heart pumping through the thin fly line to the point of breaking. The thumping of the heart through the line tells you the wordless story of its life, and your story too.
That’s sport enough for me.
(Copyright 2022 John Kass)
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