Category Archives: Other sports

Horse Meat Owens

They called him Horse Meat Owens because when he was a few hits away from knocking out his opponent, his eyes would bulge and his lips would draw back like a frightened horse.  His muscles would tense and blood vessels would rise like ropes underneath his skin.  When Horse Meat Owens came at you with his match-ending fists, you’d best drop before he could hit you.

Not because you wouldn’t be able to get back up or that it would hurt a lot…it’s just that sometimes he didn’t know when to stop.  His body knew the fight was over but his brain wasn’t satiated.  If he was having a bad week, Horse Meat Owens would pound your face in so hard and so fast, you’d be lucky to have a structurally sound nose before the referee could pull him away.

It was just last night that Horse Meat Owens’s opponent didn’t fall quickly enough.  Had he preemptively hit the floor of the ring, his chances at keeping a pretty face would’ve been quite high.  Horse Meat Owens didn’t like to beat excessively guys that knew when to surrender.  If he had been in the military, he would take a peaceful surrender.  Some believe there is no honor in it, but Horse Meat Owens saw no point in wasting bullets or life or limb on principle.  By the time he was done bashing in Hamstring Greyz’s face, there was hardly a nose left to reconstruct.

The referee and the trainers for both fighters pulled Horse Meat Owens off of Hamstring Greyz.  I watched all of it happen from a slit beneath the announcers’ booth.  The scent of sweat, musk, and iron wafted through the air like a misted air freshener.  I didn’t like what I was seeing but I couldn’t stop watching.  There was such determination in the downward whooshing of his gloves — in a different context, he could have been chopping firewood or demolishing drywall.

I was supposed to interview Horse Meat Owens before the match during the press conference but my iguana wouldn’t eat her dinner and then wouldn’t get back into her enclosure so I had to pick her up (which meant two scrapes to my hand that had to be disinfected).  By the time I got to the coliseum, the press conference was over and I found myself underneath the announcers’ booth.

I am not discounting the talents and skills required to be an effective boxer, but where does the inspiration come from?  What reservoir of rage must exist to guide the movements and focus of a successful boxer?  Horse Meat Owens has been on the amateur circuit for just under three years and he hasn’t lost once.  Who pissed him off in a past life that could sustain that kind of intense energy?

And can he teach me how to wield mine?

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The above is entirely fictional.  I felt like writing and the name “Horse Meat Owens” came to me.

Gotta Do It Right Now

I had lunch at Fuego Mundo today; I ordered the yucca fries and chicken with Spanish rice and cucumber salad.

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It was a busy lunch for the two waitresses bringing out orders and the woman clearing tables.  As I was enjoying the delicious yucca, chicken, and rice, I observed the waitress who was ostensibly single-handedly taking orders, giving checks to respective diners, and distributing dine-in and take-out food.  She moved with the smoothness and briskness of a summer breeze.  I wonder how many miles she walks just between the dining area, the beverage counter, the registers, and the kitchen counter (which is visible to the customers).

As far as I could discern, the other diners were patient in their requests for checks, waters, being seated, and readying to give their orders.  In the last ten minutes I was there, waiting for a to-go box, a bag and the check, I watched this woman handle the momentous demands of things that have to happen now.

In my line of work, even when I have ten emails I need to prioritize to read and answer whilst figuring out why an image isn’t appearing correctly on a web page and app as well as looking for a better image to upload for a different web site and app, the sense of urgency to complete these tasks isn’t so heavy that I can’t focus on what really needs to get done “now” vs. within thirty minutes or before the end of business hours.

This woman’s list of “do now” truly means do now.  If that “now” becomes “in a couple of minutes,” most customers would probably understand.  There’s probably a best practice of order of operations.  For instance, seat new diners, get their drinks out, then check with diners who appear to be finished if they want desert or a box or just the check.  Bring out drinks before orders that are ready?  Deliver additional napkins, silverware, straws, or dipping sauces before you take the food orders of the table you know have been ready for the time it took you to seat another party and take their drink orders?

What other jobs or industries consist of a similar air of do now?  Combat soldiers, paramedics, firefighters, airplane pilots, surgeons, school principals, receptionists, bank tellers, plumbers, electricians, hosts of live TV shows, what else?

What’s the worst that would happen in your profession if you didn’t do something “now” or you focused on the “wrong” sequence of things?

Would an athlete participating in a televised game feel any differently than an athlete in a non-televised competition in the matter of “do it now?”  Or, do the rules of the game mitigate legitimate, adrenaline-inducing urges to score already.

Reluctantly competitive Parkour

A couple of weeks ago I came across a YouTube channel called StorrorBlog that features a group of guys* and their parkour goings-on across the world.

This combination of gymnastic techniques, balletic balance, and martial-artistic strength may not have competitive presence like traditional sports (all the team sports involving a ball or a puck) or extreme sports (surfing, skate-boarding, snowboarding), but there are organizations devoted to the cultivation of parkour skill and artistry.    See USA Parkour and World Freerunning Parkour Federation.

NPR did a story a few years ago about how parkour could find itself as part of the Olympics and be modeled after the way snowboarding became included.  What category would be under, though?  Would it be considered outdoor gymnastics?  Obstacle-course track and field?

I’m in awe; I can also see why authoritative figures aren’t so keen on it.  Issues of trespassing notwithstanding, accidental death (with or without dismemberment), property damage, and unsolicited attention (to specific locations) must be considered.

And yet, why not proceed with the understanding that one’s very act of participating in parkour means that they are responsible for whatever may come to pass?

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* There may be gals too but I haven’t seen enough videos to be sure.

Basketball’s Artistic Merit

The Fung Bros.’ video on NBA Moves got me thinking about the artistic nature of the athletic performance of basketball moves and scoring.

Even though the ultimate goal is to win by outscoring one’s opponent, it isn’t enough that the players just get the ball into the hoop as many times as possible.  Methodology necessitates that players try to keep the other team from scoring by getting the ball back or “fouling” them.  In baseball, the pitcher strikes out the batters; in football, the defense keeps the other team from getting another set of downs, sacks the quarterback, or intercepts the ball; in hockey and futbol, and I imagine to a similar extent basketball, each team tries to get the puck/ball to score.  Hence, the back-and-forth quality of these three sports compared to baseball and football, where the former is more stationary and the latter consists of a series of stop-and-go’s.

In addition to the technique and skills required to put the ball in the hoop, though, does a player have to execute these plays with ostensibly intentional rhythmic and complex footwork?  Is the footwork a byproduct of trying to get the ball close enough to the hoop to dunk?  The more I watch a variety of basketball plays, the more I see artistry in the physics of that choreography no matter how (co)incidental.

Basketball game-play impresses me as being more unpredictable than football.  The gridiron is a much larger stage and the fluidity of certain plays contributes to the notion that every outcome is planned.  It seems that basketball invites and involves more improvisation down the court.

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Football and MMA aren’t forms of art?

The Golden Globe Awards were last night and if you’ve launched any social media or culture outlet today you probably know about Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.  She spoke on the geographically diverse talent pool in Hollywood and that if they were kicked out, “…we’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Sure, athletic competition is certainly not a fine (high) art form (painting, pottery, sculpting, architecture, music, opera, theatre, poetry).  The activity itself, though, is a performing art as much as dance.  Moreover, as televised football and mixed martial arts are very much part of the visual arts (photography, film, video, digital media), I argue that the representation of these athletic experiences, especially with an audience, is artful in their own voyeuristic physics-at-work ways.  Sanctioned body trauma and sometimes in slow motion. Sweat ricochets, inertia observed, crash-test dummy whooshes, and it is a wonder why some of us like to watch adults inflict physical pain onto each other for entertainment.*

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And now for some other performing arts that is just as athletic but without all the violence.

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*Of course, NFL Films changed profoundly how we think about football game play vis-a-vis how we see it.