Monday, January 5, 2009

Pampered Jocks

The way some people fawn over jocks is disgusting. I'm a Packers fan and my wife is a Bears fan. It has more to do with where we were born and raised than anything else. So, we don't have a team to follow in the NFL playoffs, but we had the tube on yesterday afternoon. Come to think of it, I guess it's really not a "tube" any more. It's more an arrangement of shining lights and mirrors, I suppose.
Since I'm not involved in the pretend football that so many younger guys invest hours in, I really don't know many players from other teams. I pointed out to my wife this fall that really, she's a Brett Favre fan more than a football fan. She was in New York City in October and had on her #4 Packers jersey, and had lots of Jets fans say "thank you!" on the subway. The local CBS affiliate carried the Jets broadcasts this year, for all those who discovered they are Favre fans, rather than Packers fans.
One thing that has annoyed me for the past decade is the way we pamper these jocks. What set me off again was seeing one of the Eagles' players come off the field, tilt his head back, and have some toady sycophant squirt water into his mouth. I'm disgusted not only with the players who are so catered-to that they won't find a water bottle on their own and take a drink, but with the gigantic losers who do the water-squirting, just to be close to their beloved jocks.
Here in Madison, the UW jocks are so catered-to that we've invented an entirely new system of criminal justice for them. Of course, to give the illusion of fairness it applies to all, but the biggest custormers of the so-called "First Offenders Program" are the jocks. Essentially, you can do whatever you want short of actually killing someone, and you're placed in the "First Offenders Program" and everyone pretends it never happened. Of course, if the "first offense" is serious enough, like armed robbery, the jock will be suspended - but the suspension will almost never involve missing an game. Just a practice or two.
The pampering begins in High School, where athletic talent is recognized and developed; continues through the college years, where everything is free, including the special tutoring and other personal services (at the UW, the jock department has work-study students who are paid to "walk jocks to class" to make sure they actually go - I'm not making this up); and the pampering is taken to new heights in the pro ranks.
God forbid your kid should show talent for mastering differential equations, rather than running pass routes.

1 comment:

  1. The pampering will end when people stop paying for it. That said, I'd counsel not holding your breath waiting for it to happen. The vicarious sportsman will pinch the family's butter-and-egg money to support "his" team.

    BTW ... Wearing a Packers jersey in NYC is OK. Nobody anywhere hates the Packers. I wouldn't recommend wearing Patriots' gear though. NYC is a weird town when it comes to sartorial matters. Recently a guy got beat up for wearing a fire department T-shirt. You can buy the things on the streets of Manhattan. But the guy wasn't a fireman so a bunch of grain-fueled off-duty FDNY "Bravest" started in on him. Before it was over there was a full-scale brawl in McFadden's Pub. The cops had to call for reinforcements.