Bumptious: The Modern Sportsman

For Christmas this year, I received a copy of The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice. In perusing this handbook, I realized that the authors would not hold in high esteem those members of the sporting community whom the American people have adopted as role models. I speak especially of the athletes of that sport which surrounds us in this season, professional football players.

In sitting down to watch games even just on Sunday, I became slightly ashamed of the demographic of which I am most surely a member. Apparently, marketing agencies from New York to Los Angeles have narrowed down that which stimulates me to the following: beer, big cars, big breasts, catfights and. . .and. . .twins.

Before the game began, a classmate of mine walked in and asked which network was broadcasting the Oakland game. He was visibly disheartened when he realized that CBS had rights to the game – he wanted to see Melissa Stark, the ABC on-field analyst. So he left, and I was alone to watch the pre-game show hosted by two seasoned analysts, Dan Marino – whose thoughts were given to him via the teleprompter which visibly commanded the former quarterback’s attention – and, of course, Deion Sanders. Deion’s pick to win the game, he noted, was obviously shown by his attire – a silver and black three piece suit that created a disturbance in the TV broadcast and the image of which is still burned into my retina. The game was set to begin.

But not before we got a survey of the Oakland crowd, the look of which would scare a small child. John Ashcroft, if given the opportunity, would order the arrest of every member of the Raider faithful in fear that they were instigating a Viking terrorist group. There was even a young boy holding a steel mace and weighted down by the spiked shoulder armor his father certainly forced him to wear:

“You’re going to wear it.”

“I don’t wanna.”

“I don’t care. No son of mine is going to a Raiders’ game in street clothes.”

“Yes, sir.”

After this look into the dark ages, CBS switched to commercials, where modern masculinity is continually denigrated into a perfect reason to support any female attempt to take over the world. First to air was the Coors Light commercial that has recently supplied the future multi-platinum single “And Twins.”

I love playing two hand touch.

Eating way too much.

Watching my team win.

And Twins.

I love quarterbacks eating dirt

Pom-poms and short skirts –

Fans who won’t quit.

And, and Twins.

After that future Grammy-winner and favorite of N.O.W., Nike showed a streaker running across a soccer field and evading security guards. Apparently, the naked fool’s escape was due only to his Nike Shox running shoes. I just have to get my pair soon – the Safeco field security guards are in off-season training right now, and are sure to be capable of a 4.4/40 by the time baseball season comes around. Then, Miller Hi-Life took the upper road. Their commercial portrayed two men dreaming of a commercial involving two women fighting in a fountain, ripping each other’s clothes off, and then deciding to make out. At no point in the fight was beer shown. Apparently, if you drink beer, then you can fantasize about a catfight. Now back to the game.

Bam, boom, a few scores later and it was halftime. I was so excited to see LL Cool J performing at halftime that I could not bear to leave my seat. His act was awesome, especially the part where he ripped off his jersey and screamed into the camera, “Don’t Do Drugs.” My only thought was that if I did drugs then I might end up like the teenage dancers in the background instead of like the millionaire, multi-platinum role model that is LL.

Deion Sanders then gave his thoughts (in the loosest sense of the word) on both teams’ efforts in the first half. They showed some hard hits, went to commercial and came back to the game. You must understand that I really wasn’t sure that the marketing agencies had gotten the proper image of a man at Williams, but I was quickly corrected after a few miscalls by the officiating crew of the game. The crowd of guys that had migrated to Mission lounge to watch the game started screaming at the television, shouting obscenities rivaling those spewed by the youths among the fans at the game and throwing things. I even threw my hat at the referee’s representation on the screen.

Just as the hat was in mid-arc towards the television, I realized that I’d yet to meet my new editor and my article was already past-due, and I had to return to my computer and document the fall of the American man. But I have to get back. They might show the twins again, and maybe they’ll make out.

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