Given the upcoming Cowboys vs. Bills game, I thought I'd write this one now (based on an essay in TIME by Kurt Anderson called The Agony of Victory):

I dislike most team and spectator sports. The reasons I dislike sports are the reasons most people like them. In this world with so much confusion, the one means of escape for the sheep of this world are sports, which they indulge in simply because there's a clear cut winner and loser. "Almost nothing else is so simple as stark, and indeed as the consequential sectors of life become more and more untidy in this post-cold war, confused sexual-etiquette age, obsessing over sports scores becomes to many people a tempting refuge."

People sometimes criticise me for looking at things too analytically (yeah, right), but this is as (boolean) logical as the innards of a digital computer. Scores, in the end, map onto either a "win" or a "loss" (even if there is a temporary collision, it is almost always worked out to yield true/false answer). "Scores all so obvious and pure---too damned obvious and pure for those of us inclined to suss out subtle meanings and unseen truths. Where are the paradoxes and the ironies? Where is the rich, dialetical unfolding?"

But certain sports (using a broad definition) say car and motocycle racing, skiing, bungy jumping, sky diving, etc., have forms that don't have a winner or loser. Rather, it is the event that matters. Much as I enjoy some of these sorts of sports, I would still claim that they don't play an important role in my life, and I don't like them as much, as, say reading a good thought-provoking book. This now digresses into something I claim: programming is better than sex. While it could be interpreted literally, I am referring to the fact that the mental activities that we can perform transcends anything physical we can do.

Sure, things like drag racing, or skiing, give you a big rush, and I think physical rushes are necessary once in a while, but most sports are overrated. As John, my mentor, pointed out to me earlier, you look at dogs having sex and they pretty much look like humans having sex (or vice versa), but have you ever seen a thoughtful expression on a dog's face like a human has when they are contemplating something really deep? (The humans, i.e., not the dogs.)

Sports have no interest to me mainly because they are a form of escapism. In the end, a team has won, a team has lost, and you've not gotten anything out of it. (Even the thrill of watching has gotten progressively more dull in certain games like basketball, where scoring has become rather routine.) Sports hold no interest to me because they can never compare to an intellectual activity. And finally, certain sports simply suck (like football or baseball).

So, who do you think will win this Sunday?


Darren Chamberlainon a list I'm on wrote a response to someone who commented about the Superbowl which I have included here. Address all future comments to him, though I support his view completely. I couldn't have said it better!

> a) What a game...!!!

Who cares?  Just a bunch of testerone-laden, macho bullshit by a bunch
of losers who couldn't get into school by merits of their brains.  I
have no respect for athletes.  Anybody can play a fucking game.  They
don't need to get paid $$$$millions and $$$$millions to do it, fuck
that.  How about we lose the NFL and feed Africa?  Or how about we
feed the hungry here in America?  You could get rid of *one*
professional sport and save enough money balance the deficit,
eliminate all professional sports and pay off the national debt.
Really, do these people really need to make 2 million $$$$ a year?
But I digress...

> b) If I was a Buffalo Bill I'd cut my throat...

If you were a Buffalo Bill *I'd* cut your throat.  See above.

Addendum 2

This was written a long time ago (1993). Today (October 3, 1999), I went to watch my first professional football game, featuring the 49ers vs. the Tennessee Titans (tickets and parking were paid for and we had as good seats as you could get!). It was an amazing cultural experience.

Everything that happened only reinforced my above beliefs, especially given the way the 49er fans behaved. They call it "loyalty", but my only loyalty was to good plays. There were some amazing plays and the game was pretty close through out: the Titans started off strong, with a field goal in the first quarter and a touchdown in the second! Then the 49ers, who were playing a lackluster game until then, rallied and scored three touch downs with a total of 24 points (while the Titans got one in there somewhere). The score was 18-24 and the Titans were 8 points behind with four minutes remaining. At the last but one minute, they scored a spectacular touchdown (with a long pass that was caught just in). Two points behind. What now?

The Titans tried to go for a two-point conversation, but failed pretty miserably. Still, it was a terrific game and a terrific introduction to pro-football. I was the odd person out by cheering for every good play, whether it was by the 49ers or the Titans, in stark contrast to almost everyone around me. The fuss over statistics and the intensity expended over which team won was amusing and blunt at the same time. How many people in the bay area appreciated the Titans' plays? And this was one of the better games---the winner was American football.

Addendum 3

I just saw the Super Bowl with the Tenneesee Titans vs. the St. Louis Rams. It was a full circle: the game I describe above where they lost to the 49ers was one of two games they lost (the 49ers didn't really win another game for a long time, I believe). I didn't pay attention to most of the game (it was boring), but in the last quarter, the Titans came from 16 behind to tie with the Rams three minutes before the game ended. In one more minute, the Rams scored a touchdown. In the additional two minutes, the Titans came within two feet of scoring a touch down. Fairly exciting stuff, and the commercials were great (especially the e-trade/monkey one), but doesn't change my view above: why in the world would you pick a side?

Pseudo-intellectual ram-blings || Ram Samudrala ||