Monday, December 5, 2011

Nazional Pastimes

Sports gazers are bitching again about the BCS. As expected, LSU will play Alabama for college football's national championship. That Alabama already lost to LSU this season and didn't win its conference made no difference.

The Crimson Tide is a bankable brand. A known commodity. Oklahoma State, which has an identical record as Alabama and did win its conference, had no shot. Even if OSU had gone undefeated, there would be numerous voters who'd still pick Alabama over the Cowboys.

In a season marred by the Penn State rape scandal, SEC favoritism is the least of college football's worries. It seemed odd that Penn State kept playing after its franchise coach was fired, its school president forced to resign. But too much money would be lost, so the harshest penalty has been to banish the 9-3 Nittany Lions to the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas.

Come next season, maybe fans will believe that it was all a bad dream, an aberration, and we can get back to pouring money into corporate sports as the Constitution provides.

I was never crazy about college football. But at least the BCS is open about its avarice, the building of super conferences an honest expression of current power arrangements. The punch line -- that it's all about student athletes -- ceased being funny ages ago. It's still trotted out, but few bother to notice much less react.

Pro football is losing me as well. Cynics may point to the Jets' subpar season as the cause, but this is a long time coming. Ultra-violence is part of it, though for years this didn't bother me much. You can't enjoy the NFL without brain-rattling hits.

Mostly it's the nationalist/militarist tie-ins. The assumption that NFL fans naturally support imperial war and the pomp that sells it. This has grown worse every year, culminating in a Nuremberg rally called the Super Bowl.

The punch line -- that it's all about supporting the troops -- ceased being funny ages ago. It's still trotted out, but millions continue to love and applaud it.

The Occupy movement has clearly softened me. A generation that rejects violence in favor of justice fucks with one's football jones. That is, unless the Jets somehow make it to Nuremberg Indy. One more rally before renouncing the Reich, or Madonna at halftime if the game's a rout.