Monday, January 16, 2006
It's All Relative
I've got post basketball scream throat. This is the third game in a period of a week of which I would cause heart palpitations to a speech therapist. My son plays and I coach the team. I view sports in many ways similarly to art and music. As a game, basketball would seem to have certain immutable rules to guide its play like art and music have timeless standards to judge each of them. These rules would not really need to change; their continuity over generations bonding participants of the past with those of the present. And I'm not bonding with the present; thus, the throat of doom with a tenderness in an odd spot that suggests I forgot everything I learned in voice and diction class. People might call me all sorts of things: old school, basketball purist, curmudgeon, living in the past, dinosaur, or extinct species.
The contestants play differently and the authorities in charge of enforcing the rules, the referees, do that in a new way too. Sometimes I look at these arbiters of the hardwood with an incredulous tilt to my head as they allow violations immediately before them without a hint of a call. I consider if their whistles may malfunction. I muse that they actually see a game in a different dimension of space and time. This makes it difficult for me sometimes to judge what is happening. Sometimes it makes me wonder if the game might alter itself like a mutating bacteria into a wholly different one right before my eyes. One game this year, I was reminding the official of a fine point out of the basketball statutes, a long-time rule that generally had one understanding, and the opposing coach yelled, "Let the boys play." I looked over at this twenty-something coach and thought of Picasso. Maybe when an art critic looked at Picasso's painting, as he began to voice criticism, some new savant of paint yelled, "Let the boy paint." And then Picasso smirked as he continued to brush another eyeball onto the figure's thigh.
This is all difficult for me. Can you tell? I refuse to walk in lock-step. It reminds me starkly of the new zeal at which I can pray the prayer, "Thy kingdom come." Jesus will judge everything aright. He won't interpret his laws subjectively based on a new artistic value. That once was traveling with the ball, but now it is an exciting addition to the game. That was at one time called a reach foul, but now it is an important allowance for improving the flow of the game. That new dent on the back of my head wasn't someone going over my back, but hard to the rack. As the notes tumble together into heavily flawed composition, I must appreciate a new perspective or point of view. If I get it, people will appreciate my tolerance. If I say something, many will whisper a subtle bigotry. I keep my mouth shut and hum with a new age transcendence, joining the throngs of mind-numbed liberal fascists who have dumbed the world into their own discordant melody. And I repeat their mantra, "It's all relative."
p. s. I didn't write this out of frustration. We won by 18. Or did we?