Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Maybe I'm crazy, but the language about sports has changed in front of our eyes.

Since when did every game feature ‘drama’, ‘intrigue’, ‘plotlines’ and ‘big stars’?

Or maybe as a kid, the superlatives thrown around in the media (and now comment threads) didn’t matter as much as the smack talking between friends during recess.

What makes sports the compelling events is not the script that the medium wants you to read, but the unscripted nature of the game itself. Yet, this comment from the NYT’s blog, The Fifth Down, made me wonder if we’re moving from sounding like wannabe analysts to wannabe Roger Eberts:

The end was thrilling but the game had no built-up, no plot, no significance, unlike last year’s, and first 3 hours were a waste of 95 million people’s time (even the commercials sucked).
Of course, being that this is the Internet, several commenters laid into him about his lack of enthusiasm (and being a jaded New York Giants fan unable to appreciate what was a very good Super Bowl XLIII). Yet, they seemed to miss the point. While some of us do believe that sports is more than strategies and marketing, that there is a phenomenal art within the movement of these athletes, to demand that spontaneous motion move to some sort of script is… well, professional wrestling (which is no knock at all).

He was looking for build-up. So the regular season and playoffs were just twenty-two guys playing catch for the last five months?

He was looking for a plot. Here’s one: Score (or prevent a score). Rinse. Repeat.

He was looking for significance. If the Super Bowl is insignificant, then 95 million people didn’t get the email.

He said the first three hours were a waste of everyone’s time compared to last year’s thriller in Glendale. Okay, so no arguments about the ads, but a waste of time?

So I pose this to you: have you noticed a shift in how we talk about sports?

No comments: