The Fung Bros love basketball, sneakers, and their latest video about the popularity of basketball in Asia is fascinating and educational! Of all the points that they bring up, the social, community-building aspects are probably the least unique to basketball, since they are applicable to other team sports such as baseball, football, futbol, hockey, kickball, and dodgeball.
Sunday Night Football. The Green Bay Packers at The Atlanta Falcons‘ new playground, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. One day, I’d like to see a sporting event venue named after Endangered Species Chocolate or Lush Cosmetics or Anthropologie.
I didn’t tune in fully to the game until about the second quarter because I was watching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s PBS documentary about the Vietnam War. Both teams had gotten a touchdown by the end of the first quarter. The Falcons held offensive lead through the second and third quarters. The Packers’ field goal and TD in the second half of the game closed the score gap somewhat, but their two-point conversion attempt failed in the top of the fourth quarter. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Ty Montgomery put up a TD with almost six minutes left in the game. They stuck with the extra point this time. Falcons 34 and Green Bay 23. Final score.
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.
I had lunch at Fuego Mundo today; I ordered the yucca fries and chicken with Spanish rice and cucumber salad.
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.
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?
* There may be gals too but I haven’t seen enough videos to be sure.
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.*
And now for some other performing arts that is just as athletic but without all the violence.
*Of course, NFL Films changed profoundly how we think about football game play vis-a-vis how we see it.