FanDuel - WFBC

January 04, 2006

UP CLOSE AND NOT PERSONAL: The dream of intimacy—it was always fantasy—is gone, and today’s players, so close to us on our plasma screens, are galaxies away from our own doings and capabilities.

posted by justgary to culture at 12:17 AM - 12 comments

I was thinking just that over Christmas when I watched a DVD someone gave my dad - the all time best British Lions XV (that was the name of the DVD, not a description of my dad who was neither a British Lion, nor, as far as I know, ever 15 people). Some of the footage illustrated the writer's point quite well, especially that of Gareth Edwards's legendary try for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973 ("Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff. Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant, Oh, that's brilliant. John Williams, Bryan Williams… Pullin, John Dawes. Great Dummy. David, Tom David, the half-way line. Brilliant by Quinnell. This is Gareth Edwards. A dramatic start. What a score!"). Have a look at that footage - they look like men playing a game, not robots executing a game plan. There are tall, lanky men. There are short, podgy men. Somehow, it was better to see someone slightly overweight sell three dummies and then pass because he was a bit tired. I don't know that the distance between the likes of us and the likes of them is any greater (as the writer says, it was always fantasy), it's just different now. Not only are they more talented than us, but they also work at it all day, every day. The older players in most sports did too, but somehow they still managed to look (for the most part) like they just wandered onto the pitch straight from the pub. Thanks for the link, justgary. Thought-provoking read.

posted by JJ at 05:10 AM on January 04

Baseball used to be the great equalizer - ordinary men doing extraordinary things - but the last time I went down to spring training I remember being shocked at the size of the guys and wondering if spikes really add four inches. Huge thick legs and great big arms. Then Craig Grebeck wandered by and for a moment, all was right in in the universe.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:53 AM on January 04

We will never see the likes of a Steve Largent, Freddy Pateck, and Bill Bates. What these guys lacked in size they made up in heart.

posted by mustang71 at 08:38 AM on January 04

I got my paws on fourth-row seats behind the Jays dugout for an Angels game in August, giving me my first chance to see the team within twenty feet (I'm usually more than happy to perch up in the SkyDeck). I always used to think of Alex Rios as a skinny and maybe kinda tall kid, until that day when I saw a sheer behemoth jog in from right field. Yikes. The O-Dog looked like a shrimp out there, and he's six feet.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:26 AM on January 04

Diego Maradona. Five foot two. Pudgy. Ugly as a hatful of crushed arseholes. Only used his right leg for standing on. But on the field, jaw-droppingly sublime.

posted by owlhouse at 02:48 PM on January 04

Ugly as a hatful of crushed arseholes. /scribbles in "Phrases to Steal" notebook

posted by yerfatma at 04:39 PM on January 04

What these guys lacked in size they made up in heart. They also took it one game at a time and put their faith in God. The whole point of pro athletics is that these people are exceptional enough to be the very best at what they do. if that doesnt appeal to you, go watch a game at your local park, or play yourself for that matter.

posted by drjimmy11 at 05:35 PM on January 04

from the article: or, as Hemingway’s Jake Barnes said, isn’t it pretty to think so? I read that book in 9th grade English too. But I get your point: you're the New Yorker, and you're not about to stop being pretentious just because you're talking about sports.

posted by drjimmy11 at 05:40 PM on January 04

Excuse me, Holmes? That's Roger Angell you're dissing.

posted by yerfatma at 07:58 PM on January 04

To me baseball is the big illusion. You can be 5-8 165 in high school and a good athlete and no one considers you a football or basketball prospect, but hell, you gotta chance in baseball (to the average joe in the stands). My last year of organized ball (a summer league) I played second and travis fryman played short. He only played a few games before being drafted by detroit. I remember we won his last game and when we shook hands after the last out his hand seemed twice as big as mine. Not that 6-1 200 is all that big, but he was a shortstop. I could have had his skill (I didn't) and I would have needed that much skill again to even begin to compete with him. Excuse me, Holmes? That's Roger Angell you're dissing. Everyone's a critic. It could be Hemingway himself writing. It wouldn't matter.

posted by justgary at 08:25 PM on January 04

Diego Maradona. Five foot two. Pudgy. Ugly as a hatful of crushed arseholes. Only used his right leg for standing on. But on the field, jaw-droppingly sublime. Yeah, but he was coocoo for coco puffs. I though i heard that he was running for president(of Argentina that is)?

posted by gronir_ hitrops at 12:05 AM on January 05

It could be Hemingway himself writing. It wouldn't matter. Right, if he were criticizing the work itself. But I think Roger Angell has successfully proven himself against charges of pretentiousness. At least as far as a New Yorker writer can.

posted by yerfatma at 06:12 AM on January 05

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