sports

Balls! Or: Which Team Do You Play For, Or: Gratuitious Use of Euphemisms for a Sports-Related Post

Apparently, some sports season is winding down and/or another one is winding up. Something about brackets? I’m not sure. I just know that there’s been more talk of teams around the office and the group emails from my college alumni group are starting to be full of lots of ticket swap talk.

Unofortch, no one is anteing tix to see these fellas play.

I really wish I got the sports thing. I think this is the one only-child trait that I hang on to. I’m not overly selfish. I can play well with others. I don’t mind sharing. But I just don’t understand team sports. I remember standing on the volleyball court in school and thinking “So…did you want to handle this or do you want me to? There’s like 6 of us. Are we really all needed, because I have some arpeggios to practice if you’re good.”

HOW many people does it take to get a ball over a net?? The ball's not heavy, the net's not that high, just have that one gal toss it over, done!

You’d think I would have absorbed something useful about sports by now. I am, after all, from Texas, where football is a very big deal. And because I was extra cool, I was in marching band in both high school and college. So I went to a LOT of football games.

Yup. I sported that outfit. Proudly. Go LHB!!

But the things I most looked forward to had nothing to do with the game. In high school, we were allowed to take the boxes our hats came in into the stands with us to store our bright, white feathered plumes before and after the half-time performance. But you know what else those boxes could hold? Calculus and French text books!!! I was always so happy to have an extra four hours to work on homework, that I generally forgot to watch the field.

In college, my favorite part of the game was right after the half-time show when we would get applause and apples. They’d pass around this box of fruit and it was just delicious!! I mean, I think I was supposed to be happy that one of our players won a Heisman or something and that I got to see him play every week. But those apples were like the best apples ever.

There are a few general reasons why I can’t get on board with team sports:

I hate seeing men cry. I mean, I love it when men are emotionally avail, but it just breaks my heart to see them cry.

It's okay, little soldier. I'm here. I'm right here.

And guys often cry after losing a game. They’d try not to, but through their clenched lips and stern looks, you could see tears just welling up and them doing that not-blinking thing so that the tears wouldn’t actually fall. I’m misting up now just thinking about it.

I put things in perspective.  A friend was lamenting the fact that the Buffalo Bills have lost four Superbowls and thus people make fun of them. And I’m like “But they WENT to the Superbowl!! They made it there!! I can’t get to the Superbowl. That’s a serious accomplishment.” Apparently, just making it to the SB isn’t quite good enough. I’m a giant perfectionist and I still don’t get that.

I can’t stand to see people get hurt. I’m a huge baby when it comes to other people’s pain. My roommate once broke his toe in front of me and I had to call a doctor because I was the one who passed out.

And when it comes to specific sports, there’s just too many things that don’t make sense.

Baseball: You get in trouble for doing the right things. In the spirit of “okay, maybe I can learn to like this,” I played softball once a couple of years ago. I was up to bat. The pitch came toward me and I steeled myself for the contact. Dug my toe into the dirt, rotated back and CRACK!!! I hit the ball really high and really far. It was super impressive flying into the sun like that. Like a bird. A round, wingless birdie.

Like a kiwi! Only I'd never hit a kiwi with a bat. Even to give it the gift of flight.

And then I got OUT!!! Excuse me?? I just did something GOOD. I just demonstrated a serious piece of timing, strength and coordination and you PUNISH me for it??

Fuck that!

I haven’t played since.

Soccer: Thought I was gonna like this one because they don’t stop the clock. Yay!  A night, tight 90-minute game with nice, tight bodies running up and down the field. Low scoring, but that’s okay… until they do that bullshit kick off at the end!

I don’t remember what the score was, but at this match I went to in Australia, apparently, the judge or ref or officials or whatever didn’t care what it was. These players had just exhausted themselves and instead of going with what was on the scoreboard, they had a kick off where the first one to make a goal won the whole effing game! What?? Why not just do that at the beginning if you don’t care about the effort that went into it? Sheesh!

I'm sorry, was I complaining about something? I suddenly got distrac---

Basketball: Too many points. If it’s that easy to get points, it’s just doesn’t seem challenging. I would like it better though, I think if the guys went back to wearing those shorty shorts that they used to.

No surprise that the sports I do like are individual events. And super white.

Tennis: I played when I was in school. Classy, simple, elegant. And if you’re a girl, you get to have fun making the audience feel like pervs when you vocalize your impacts and efforts.

exactly how I looked when I played in school. Perhaps explains why I never went pro.

Equestrian Things: Who doesn’t want to have something and powerful between their legs? Seriously, though, horses are wonderful and they can fly!

Lindy Hop: If you think swing dancing isn’t an athletic pursuit, you clearly haven’t seen this video.

Tissu: Just getting into this now. First class is this weekend. Went to Cirque a couple of weeks ago. Squealed like a little kid throughout. Signed up for a class. Have clearly overestimated my hand and shoulder strength, flexibility, stamina and comfort with heights, but  looking forward to it!

If I get into this position, I will never get out.

Click here for an Oreo guide to regular sports.

And here to choose the right NCAA team for Oreos.

And if you’re of color and you’re going to play a sport, be sure no one else looks like you, or you’re going to confuse reporters.

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If you’re a sports fan, what is it that draws you into a game? Did you play yourself? Do you have friends who play? Let us know in the comments!

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Leave a comment here or at any of the above and let us know what you think!

An Oreo Guide to Sports

This itch in my piccolo finger can only mean one thing…get me my marching band uniform because it’s football season!

Sorry Jacob. Yeah, you've got the abs. But you've also got a tan.

Which reminded that it’s very important for Oreos to deal with sports correctly. Root for the right team and you’ll be catapulted into the upper echelons of Oreodom. Wear the wrong jersey and folks will soon be offering you wings at half time.

Here is a list of some teams that an Oreo can cheer for with a clear conscious. Turn up in any of these team’s outfit at your boating society’s next fall gala or art museum fundraiser and you’ll definitely score!

  • The Washington Redskins. Few things sting so good as waving around an archaic caricature while gleefully shouting out a racial epithet.
  • The Montreal Canadiens. First, they’re a hockey team. Second, they give you the chance to show off your boarding-school perfected French.
  • The Red Knight or The Blue Knight at any Medieval Times restaurant. Either knight is fine, as long as you’re there enjoying the leg of meat and mug of mead!
  • U.S. Equestrian Team. Tall boots, dressage salutes and mint juleps, oh my!
  • Team Edward. Ahh, the sparklevamp is  broody. He’s determined. But most of all…he’s very pale.

But if you really want to impress, get a shirt featuring

  • The New Zealand All Whites. Enough. Said.

 

Kiwis footballers! And the perfect team name for an Oreo to root for!

 

 

How do sports figure into your life? Any fave teams? Spectacular rivalries? Wonderfully horrible injuries? Let us know in the comments!

What about sports names that come from actual groups of people? Is “Fighting Irish” the same as “Redskins”? How about the fact that USC Trojans used to be the Fighting Protestants? Cuz if there’s anyone who knows how to throw down…it’s the moderately religious!

Follow the Rules and Make it Easier for Journalists

I would have posted this picture even if it didn't go along with the story.

One of the most important rules of being an Oreo is not to congregate with other Oreos. Doing this is obviously dangerous for an Oreo because it may cause you to start relating to other of colors on about things related to being of color and then your years of repression are as ruined as a salmon frittata cooked at 375 instead of 350.

But it also puts journalists in a sticky situation.

How are sports writers supposed to write about blackletes in typically anglo sports if they can’t call them “The Tiger Woods” of that sport?

Writer Richard Morgan writes about this phenomenon in his article: “The Black Athletes Who Don’t Play Basketball.”

In 2005, The New York Times noted that Kyle Harrison and John Walker were both considered simultaneous Tiger Woodses of lacrosse — and that wasn’t even counting the other two black lacrosse players, John Christmas and Harry Alford, who were layered onto the story as icing.

Adolfo Cambiaso is the “Tiger Woods of polo,” according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and according to Vanity Fair in May of 2009. Unfortunately, Jabarr Rosser, then a 10th grader in West Philly, was already named as a potential Tiger Woods of polo in the Philadelphia City Paper, way back in 2001.

If only Kyle, John, John or Harry had paid attention to the rules, they wouldn’t have put the NYT and Vanity Fair in such an awkward position. And we’ve seen how much VF wants to get imagery right.

Morgan continues:

Phil Ivey is, by all accounts, the Tiger Woods of poker. Although, given that he earned $17 million in three days of playing–and another $7 million in online poker–he doesn’t need endorsement deals the way Woods does.

Kelly Slater, the part-Syrian Australian, is or is not the Tiger Woods of surfing, depending on who you ask.

Jeremy Sonnenfeld was, for a while, the Tiger Woods of bowling—due to his age, not his ethnicity. England’s Robert Fulford was the Tiger Woods of croquet, again due to his age—though he was in competition for this title with Jacques Fournier. Same with the white Englishman Phil Taylor, the Tiger Woods of darts (and, by The Independent‘s measure, “Britain’s greatest living sportsman”). Although that was 2001, well before The Independent got around to writing about Lewis Hamilton, the young black Briton who is the Tiger Woods of F1 racing.

But if you are going to start crowding a non power sport with more than one person of color in it, be sure to do it correctly. Morgan describes how sports writers prefer to write about these anomalies.

Sports journalism tends to be celebratory, regardless of who is the focus of the story. With black athletes in atypical sports, stories rely on showcasing the player’s rare talent and fierce determination that have blessed him or her with the power to overcome whatever obstacles have kept blacks from joining, say, fencing teams in the past. It’s a very Billy Elliot version of The Blind Side.

But, as with The Blind Side, the story often becomes about how it takes a village of white people to transform a troubled kid by means of civilizing leisure. There’s the white adoptive family, the white coaches, the white private-school teachers, the white personal tutor.

See! While a high profile career in sports requires mostly insanely intense focus, determination, strength and a high pain tolerance, there is also a secret ingredient…if you’re of color. I don’t think we need to watch the video again to remind us of what that secret ingredient is, but just in case you wanna, here it is.

Aaaand, in case you’re worried that all these Tiger Woods of whatevers will make it more difficult for you to stand out at your next lacrosse meet or equestrian trial, don’t worry, Chris Rock is here to remind us of things of colors shouldn’t do…so that we Oreos can proudly go forth, do them and confuse!

His upcoming movie, The First Star, tells the story of people being baffled by black skiiers. Much the way Essence was, Morgan says a few years back.

in 1989, Essence ran a story on the National Brotherhood of Skiers; they marveled at “the sight of all those sisters and brothers at the summit, out there on the mountain at the crack of dawn, even after partying all night.

Oh, right…Essence is a black magazine…don’t worry. I only learned that in research for this post.