Thursday, August 17, 2006

F'ball vs Bessbol (cont'd)

Okay, it's time for some sweeping stereotypes and blunts truths. First off, let's face it: we writers, as a group, are not generally the most athletic sorts of people. We tend to be scrawny and bookish as kids and overweight and sedentary as adults. Nonetheless, most of us have at least some mildly pleasant memories of being on the Cub Scout softball team as a kid, or of that one summer we played on the church kittenball team as a teenager, or of just playing a little pick-up stickball in the streets, back in the golden days of childhood. This is what makes it possible for us to imagine that if we just worked at it a little harder, and didn't have better things to do with our time, we might actually be capable of playing baseball now, without either hurting or embarassing ourselves too badly.

In contrast, most of us also have memories from either high school or college of being terrorized by the big dumb lummoxes on the football team. Football players in general have an established reputation for being drunken louts with I.Q.'s in the root vegetable range, and a quick look at the team stats in any major metro newspaper's sports section would seem to validate this perception. "Hey, didja hear the Vikes are hoping to go fourteen and two this year? Fourteen arrests, two convictions!"

I know that in my case, my college had one dormitory reserved for the football team, a fluke of the registration system put me in that dorm at the start of my junior year, and the memories of that semester have stayed with me my entire adult life, no matter how hard I've tried to forget. I would rather have lived in the Primate House at Como Zoo. With Casey.

See that gleam of intelligence in his eyes? Seen that in a football player's eyes lately?

Never overlook the irrational petty revenge factor. Excluding those jock-sniffing closet cases whose newspaper careers depending on getting the local readers to take pro sports seriously, perhaps the reason why there are so few good novels written about football is that most writers find football players to be subjects suitable only for contempt, ridicule, and parody.

Or maybe it's just 'cause writers almost never get to date the really hot cheerleaders...