NOTABLE & QUOTABLE


P.J. O'Rourke P.J. O’Rourke, writing about the World Cup for the dailybeast.com, July 13

“Soccer is not likely to become a sport that American life revolves around like the Super Bowl, or March Madness when all business activity ceases while employees devote full time to filling in brackets only to lose the pool to the executive assistant who picks colleges according to which school colors she likes best. Or the World Series where you can take a snack break during the windup for every pitch.

For us Laz-Y-Boy League All-Stars in our 50’s and 60’s (a key sports fan demographic), soccer will always be a thing that was introduced at schools, YMCA’s, and rec centers when America was having its JFK physical fitness fit.

Soccer was intended to be safe, free from the worrisome “over-competitiveness” of Little League and Pop Warner, and playable by any kid no matter what a fat little jerk he was. That is, soccer was intended to be no fun, like a 50 mile hike.

Plus children didn’t know how to play it. And they still don’t. Every parent winces at the mention of soccer, recalling endless afternoons spent viewing Kid-Cluster-Kick, usually in shade-free places with nowhere to sit and mosquitoes. Twenty years after the phrase entered the American lexicon, “Soccer Mom” retains its power as hurtful speech.

The time between World Cups is too long. America is a “gratification nation” and we like ours immediate or, at least, annually. Soccer is similar to one of those Olympic sports that get us excited–400 meter hurdles, platform diving, pole vault, 200meter butterfly–then four years pass and we can’t remember which one we’re excited by.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Having spent some small time as a soccer, baseball, swimming and football grandma, I agree wholeheartedly with O’Rourke. Standing in the outfield with a T-ball player telling him to stop watching the birds inthe sky and watch the ball, or vigorously praising a small soccer player as he runs victoriously off the pitch, I know no more about the game than I did before they all played it, but I’m glad they did.

OLYMPIC DICHOTOMY


 The Olympics are a peaceful celebration of our warlike natures, ie our contradictory natures.  F. Scott Fitzgerald believed that the mark of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to sustain opposing opinions.

The athletes smile in a celebration of warmth and fellowship at the opening ceremonies, which then turns into a celebration of competitive virtues.  The opening ceremony is win-win , the rest of the games is win-lose.  The opening mimics peace, the competitions mimic warfare in a civilized manner.

The Olympics appeal to our desire for fellowship, and our desire for status.

Putting these considerations aside, the Olympics places the hopes, dreams and lifelong struggles to succeed of athletes from around the world, front and center for a short three weeks.  We meet all these fine people and marvel at their beauty and then gasp in wonder at their prowess in their chosen sport, while the media tries its best to keep us abreast of daily action across the globe.  When the competitions are over, we are filled with desire to improve our own ability to run, jump, swim, etc., or to simply stay in shape.  We are tired from all the television coverage, but we wouldn’t have missed a minute of it.

In the spirit of comradeship, we wish them all well.