Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Pro sports is pornography.
Take any morals squeamishness out of it and you'll find there's very little difference. What you have in either case is a segment of the entertainment industry staffed by performers who use and sometimes abuse their bodies to make a career of doing something most of us participate in occasionally and like to picture ourselves doing better. Those performers tend to differ from us through some combination of talent, genetic gifts, practice time and the will to take it a step beyond anything the rest of us are willing to consider. And experts seem to think it's fine to watch either as long as you don't get to the point where you prefer being a fan to being a player.
That's not to say pro sports and porn are 100 percent the same. I've watched pro sports with my mother-in-law.
Just the other day I was watching the U.S. Open tennis tournament with her and enjoying it very much. I've always wondered why tennis doesn't get more play than it does. The athletes are simply amazing, covering a lot of court chasing a ball that goes faster than a major-league fastball and over a much bigger strike zone, a lot tighter area to hit it back into, and with minimal time between whacks. Sure, it gets boring after a while. There's that. But that never stopped any of the other heavily televised sports.
Anyway, I like the U.S. Open because it's in New York, and it was going on the first time Patty and I went there together. It was one of those perfect weekends and New York is one of those perfect places, and there's a million things to like about the city, and one of them on that one particular weekend was tennis, and now every time I see the U.S. Open on television I feel a wave of happiness and I want to go back to New York, where I will forget all about tennis.
I realize that means I'm watching sports all wrong, like watching a porn flick and being inspired, "hey, that reminds me, I have pizzas to deliver, too."
We'll go back to New York later this fall. Arthur Ashe Stadium and the Museum of Sex are within 10 miles of each other, which gives us at least one answer to what separates pornography from pro sports.
"Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness," in the collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, and "Big Red Son" from the collection Consider the Lobster. Read them both, thank me later.
Posted by Jef Mallett at 10:58 AM