Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Game Six"

A new thought recently occurred to me while I was watching “Game Six” of the American League Championship baseball series.  It is encouraging to have a new thought.  It means your brain is not entirely filled up.  Nor, more frighteningly, defunct. 

My new thought is not a particularly deep thought, as I do not have a particularly deep brain.  The “Good News” is, there is detectable “Brain Function.”  Which is reassuring to me, but should also be reassuring for my followers.  Who wants to read the ruminations of a person whose brain passed away in two thousand and fourteen?

So there’s that.


I have written about why I enjoy watching sports before, clearly delineating my personal rationale.  Some readers may not have been persuaded, espousing the contrary position, that watching sports is an abominable waste of time.  You may in fact be correct in that position.   Though let us not rule out an inflexibility in your beliefs as a alternate possibility.  I’m just sayin’…)

My new thought concerns…

Wait!  Let’s go back a little.

To further exemplify my position of why I enjoy watching sports, we need go back no further than the recently completed “Game Six.”

Wait!  First…  (Yikes!  A “Wait!” after a “Wait!”  I am sorry about that.  My brain keeps tumbling around.)

A Contextual Overview:  The Toronto Blue Jays, for whom I was excitedly rooting lost “Game Six” 4-3 to the Kansas City Royals, and, as a result, dropped the League Championship Series four games to two, eliminating them from further competition.  More on my response to that shortly.  Thumbnail Reaction:  “Waaah!

So there’s that. 

Okay.  Now…

The three (previously mentioned) reasons why I enjoy watching sports:

Reason Number One:  Displays of prodigious physical ability, most especially in the clutch.  (When it really matters.) 

The Jays left fielder Revere’s magnificent leaping catch at the wall.  Second baseman Goins smothering a ball rocketing towards right field.  Bautista, keeping hope alive with two answering home runs.   

To name three memorable accomplishments, delivered in “do-or-die” situations. 

And that’s only the team I cared about.  The other guys were good too.

Great players, making great plays, with the game on the line.  Who can honestly disparage “Reason Number One”?  I mean, you try it!

Reason Number Two:  Sporting events are the original – and still the best – reality shows.  Real-time excitement unfolding before the audience’s eyes.  No secret scripting, no simulated suspense.  (Notable Exception:  Boxing.)  It’s simply happening the way it’s happening.   Spontaneous moments of mouth-dropping magnificence.  (See:  The examples from “Reason Number One.”  Or, prototypically, Google Willie May’s over-the-head basket-catch in the World Series in 1954.  Vic Wertz is still going,  “How did he do that?” sixty-one years after the fact.  And if he is no longer alive, he is doing it posthumously.  That’s how unbelievable it was.)

Reason Number Three:  Though our warrior-brothers were overcome in the battle, the wound of their defeat is sharp but is not deep.  (Please excuse the uncharacteristic mode of expression, but I recently watched Hiawatha on TV.  Easily influenced, I echo the most recent patios I am exposed to.)

This is not Hector and Achilles, Hector’s lifeless body dragged from the field of battle for burial.  (A possibly fictionalized occurrence, but imagine, for the purposes of this narrative, it’s not.)  In a sporting event, no matter how final – and agonizing – the result, there is always the hopeful and regenerating,

“Wait till next year.”

Meaning, “Big Picture”…

It matters. 

But also, it doesn’t. 

And now, the addition to the three reasons I enjoy watching sports, 

Reason Number Four:  At the end of the game,

The superior entity

Inevitably prevails.

A welcome relief from everyday life, wherein on a preponderance of occasions…

It doesn’t. 


(With such a plethora to choose from, you will require no additional assistance from me.)

It is true that, sometimes, unexpectedly, the underdog pulls out a “miraculous” upset.  But upon further consideration – barring a blown call (now generally ameliorated by “Replay”) or an unlucky bounce – it may be discovered that an element concerning the proverbial “Intangibles” – inordinate confidence, team cohesion, inherent grit – was excluded from the predictorial evaluation.  With those omitted considerations added to the mix, those “underdogs” can now be proven to have actually been “The better team.”  I mean, hey, they won, didn’t they?

In summary, explaining why sports is so enjoyable to watch:

I love it when it’s good.  (And even more so when it’s great.)

I love that it’s unpredictable. 

I love that the final result simultaneously matters and it doesn’t.

And, perhaps most satisfyingly of all,

I love the comforting rightness of the outcome.

The reassurance that at least in one area in human endeavor,

The correct answer carries the day. 

(Read:  Things turn out as they’re supposed to.  Implication:  The “Good
Guys” actually win.)

Imagine if that occurred in our cultural institutions. 

There might be no need to watch sporting activities at all.

Although there will always be that spectacular comeback or that magnificent catch at the wall. 

So I’d probably still watch.

I just would not need to quite as much.


Wendy M. Grossman said...

If the best player always prevailed we wouldn't speak of "upsets". Take the recent US Open, where Roberta Vinci (primarily known for doubles) beat Serena Williams (one of the handful of best players of all time) in the semi-finals. Was Vinci the better player on that one day? Sure. Is Vinci the better player?

I love the way she plays (and don't particularly enjoy Williams's style of play), but...

...on the overall career results...

...of course not.


JED said...

Earl Pomerantz (author of this blog) said, "My new thought is not a particularly deep thought, as I do not have a particularly deep brain."

I don't think anyone could read this post and agree with that! Your blog (and I assume, by inference, your brain) is deeper than most. Perhaps not as well organized as it could be. But deep.

Just as you were inspired to write this by watching an important (maybe) and exciting (definitely) sporting event, I am often inspired to explore my life and life in general more deeply because of reading your blog.

Thank you, Earl. I will continue to enjoy your blog as we both wait for next year for our respective teams.