Monday, June 02, 2008

SPORTS: The Republic Declines Yet a Little Bit More

This weekend's relatively successful showing of a Mixed Martial Arts card will only mean there will be more of it, just not on CBS, but on other media outlets. And society is far off the worse for it.

The decline of the Roman Empire coincided with the sending of the Lions in to feed on the Christians. Jerry Pournelle is fond of comparing today's America with that historic period. And its a comparison that does not make current society look good. In this case, I'm lumping we Canadians with our southern cousins.

When the stated goal of an activity is to batter one's opponent unconscious, you have a case of legislated assault and battery. That people find this entertaining says an awful lot. How completely devoid of humanity you must be to eagerly look forward to watching some person, who's done you no harm, end up oblivious to the world and possibly even dead!

Please don't even refer to it as an art. It's legalized thuggery where the government would prefer you at home watching other thugs beat the crap out of each other, rather than out exposing yourself to your particular form of entertainment out in the real world. Bet there isn't a mugging victim alive who watches this crap.

I'm not a sports snob. I don't like soccer, auto-racing or golf, just to name three very popular sports. I do not begrudge them their time on the tube or taking space in the sports section of the newspaper. I do not demand you watch softball or lacrosse, two sports I truly love. But I hold the line at boxing and MMA and the other brutalize-the-opponents 'sports.' I do not count Judo and Taekwondo amongst those sports, since scoring points for TAKEDOWNS is the normal scoring system for both of them.

When I was young and incredibly stupid, I was a wrestling fan. Dad knew it was fake, because most of the wrestlers came through his section of the airport where he worked. Still he took me. But eventually I got old enough to satisfy my blood lust and to realize it was a put-on, all by myself. I was ten. I never got into boxing as a spectator. Friday Night boxing had had its heyday long before I came along. Thus, I escaped the joy of watching fists, spit and blood fly.

Well, not completely.

My last job for the Toronto Globe and Mail was covering a Detroit/Ontario boxing event here in Bramalea. I went out about midway through the event to file my preliminary story by phone (I am THAT old!). When I got back in, they had the little tykes swinging away with over-sized gloves. It was almost comical, except for the earnestness of the competitors. And in the stands, normally composed parents were yelling for their kids to "Kill him! Hit him again!" I could see froth at the corners of the mouths of these supposed adults. I honestly thought they'd lost their minds.

That night, when I filed the final report, I told the desk editor not to file a bill for this one. I couldn't accept payment for this. I hated doing this job. I never worked for the Globe again.

I have good friends who like boxing and even this bastardization between boxing and martial arts. They know not to talk to me about it. I think less of them, every time they do.

And so should you. Especially if you have kids. If you love them.

No comments: