Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watch it or do not, choice

For me it happened on my seventh birthday - when you see something for the first time that is much bigger than you thought it was.

The World Cup is in full swing, there have been little tragedies and heroic acts of physical ability in the soccer stadiums of Brazil.

While this is going on, people of Brazil are being trafficked, exploited and displaced by their government in a corrupt embrace with FIFA, I'm well aware of this. I'm well aware of the tax folly that is Nationwide Arena and the hypocrisy of college athletics. I'm disgusted by the bloodsport that the National Football League is turning into, which is causing many lives to end prematurely. I'm aware of the bread and circuses that happen around me daily.

Trying to be authentic, to not support those who exploit others in any way is next to impossible in this consumer society. This computer I'm using to type this was probably made by wage slaves, on a good day. There's blood on this keyboard and I'm not sure if I still have to hate Ani DeFranco now that Gary Oldman is the latest celebrity target of I do not like him anymore.

When I went up that ramp on that June day in 1971 and saw a blue sky, that huge scoreboard I'd only seen on 19 inches of black and white television screen, the greenest and largest field of grass in the world, I thought.

Loved the game, the sport but when you're small, weak and have glasses that fly off your face at any impact, it was impossible to find a niche. I was horrible at bat, average at best in the field, could run a little. My last softball game was about twenty years ago, when a ball struck me square in the face, I think it cracked my sinus cavity.

So I watch. A lot of football, a good deal of hockey, and some baseball. It took me almost twenty years to attend a major league game in person after the strike of 1994. For a year after I did not read a single box score or watch a game. It's taken me a long time to get over that.

I watch a lot of soccer now. been to a few Columbus Crew matches, even went to a game in Glasgow, which was not the same as here and amazing all at once. The culture of the sport in Europe is completely different, which is why the World Cup is such an incredible event.

And it can be violent, there is no denying that. But it can also be sublime, jaw dropping and incredibly sweet.

At the end of a day, or in the middle of a bad one (or even a good one) sometimes you just need to sit, zone out, and watch the greatest athletes out there do their thing. Do not attempt to guilt trip me into a while this match is going on a few miles away from the coliseum something bad is happening. Because, where I'm typing this, a few hundred yards away, I'm sure something bad is happening too.

And that's why I type this. Because remembering the first time I stepped into Shea Stadium and wanting to keep doing that keeps me going.

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