A Very Serious Proposition

"Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is
ritualistic" - Derek Walcott


A few weeks ago, on a very serious sports show, a very famous boxer had a very public spat with his very spoiled son, who is also a boxer, about the fact that his kid was not taking the very serious sport of boxing very seriously.  I found it hard to take the very famous boxer serious during his very serious indignation not only because I have a very hard time taking anything I see on television very seriously, but because what kind of seriousness could you expect from a child of privilege. However; it did get me thinking about the very serious difficulty it has been to get Grandstand’s very serious narrative to not appear so serious. I felt the boxer’s frustration, yelling at his kid through studio camera, saying stop being a lazy bum and get serious about your fear of being serious.  Apparently sometimes some of the things I write about in the Blog can be a bit boring or too severe for most and seemingly not that intelligent or coherent. The conversant and sharp witted Chicago critic, Skitch Bourbon, calls me a dilettante, says my narrative is amateurish and too pedantically toned for his liking. I don’t disagree, but my only regret is that I haven’t piled it on more, that I haven’t been more serious or better yet, as they say in Mexico, “Put more crema on my tacos.”  My ol’ papi once told me if you’re going to do something, be it sweeping the sidewalk or defrauding people by selling real-estate, make sure you become the best and a leader in your industry.  So if I’m to be a dilettante I might as well strive to be a serious dilettante; the dilettante’s dilettante.

 Grandstanders sick of my florid and overly romantic narrative

Help is coming by way of my dear friend, Grandstand confidant and advisor, Humberto Fox. Humberto is our first full time correspondent, a guide to help us contextualize what really is behind our need to keep track of the intimate details of celebrity and the back story to every step taken and not taken, the personal side of every athlete’s failure and triumph on and off the field. Grandstanders have the right to know the intimate details and outcomes of their favorite sports star paleo, gluten free, organic, locally sourced, non-global warming causing, reclaimed wood lifestyle. If all goes as planned Mr. Fox will be contributing to the blog on a biweekly basis in the soon to be debuted "Field Notes" section which will include the audio field notes, dispatches by visiting writers and photo journal essays from the Grandstand. Focusing less on the esoteric and more on gossip and the conspiratorial in the world of sport,  Mr. Fox’s column won’t be as thought provoking as Readers Digest or your friend’s social media feed, but will be sure to include essays longer than 140 characters and no selfies or pictures of food. Humberto believes that soft-core gossip and speculative conspiracy stories are the perfect vehicle for exploiting and emasculating the out of control alpha male archetype in sports, we need to put the Jungian Anima back into the games before the scale tips all the way to the right and falls off the spectating balance.

Before I go a quick note on winning…

Steph Curry of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors was ostracized by some of the NBA elder statesmen for what some perceive and pig-headedly insinuate is a certain kind of cheating. Without repeating this already very old story, in one sentence it goes like this. Steph Curry is a talented and new kind of basketball player that has upset the professional league’s matrix for winning and some old timers resent him and his team for it because he is killing it. Apparently winning needs to look a certain specific way and not interrupt the perceived established fairness context of the old timers in order for it to be legitimate; it need not be so vulgar.  Grandstand supports the vulgarity of endless winning especially winners that help to redefine old constructs and paradigms for accomplishing a goal. I was talking to Humberto Fox about this while watching a film about David “El Fandi,” the Spanish Matador who is also considered a winner in his spectacle. I mentioned this story in Episode 11 “The Ushers,” but the takeaway was very simple. Spectating winning is a subtle experience that requires a different level of fandom. Becoming wrapped up in a winning streak and in the narrative of total domination is very serious proposition that most of us don’t have the mental stamina to endure or even be a bystander to. For the athlete doing the winning and for the audience spectating the saturating gradations of victory it can look like overkill or monotonous, but I believe it goes deeper than just mere ennui. Winners intimidate us because they pose a threat to our accepted mediocrity; winning over and over again converts the actor and the audience into accomplices in the contemporary misconduct of breaking the hearts of losers, haters and fairness mongers. Next time you hear someone say that watching winners always win is boring; bonk them softly on the head.  As Fox said to me, “Imagine playing yourself as the same public character on a grand stage over and over under the watchful eyes of public and private audiences.” I pondered that for a while before I went to bed that evening. Before I closed my eyes, instead of saying 3 Hail Marys’ I meditated on the challenge of having to play myself as a singular character over and over again for an extended period of time. Could I play the character I perceive myself to be, over and over, for at least 5 mornings? For me the answer is no because I don’t think I have the energy to be myself that many days in a row, that’s too serious a proposition for me, hence why I prefer to watch others do it while I sit attentively spectating in the Grandstand.