Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spencer Troxell: Sports Philistine

Worthwhile blogger Lodo Grdzak has a post up about his excitement over an upcoming boxing match. He writes with enthusiasm and the commentary of an afficianado, but I am not fazed. It's not on account of some lack of writing ability on Lodo's part. I read and enjoy his blog regularly. Something else is preventing me from being able to enjoy boxing in a visceral way.

Much like my relationship to every other sport, I like the idea of boxing much better than boxing itself. The mythology of boxing as portrayed in movies like 'Cinderella Man', and Mark Knopfler's 'Song For Sonny Liston' makes me a little sentimental about it from a human angle, but when I sit down to watch it, nothing happens. Maybe I'm deficient in some kind of man-gene, but watching two guys hit each other is boring to me, and watching a crowd of people cheering two guys on as they hit each other reminds me of how bloodthirsty and herd-stupid people can be.

I wish I could lose myself in sports like Lodo seems to be able to. His response to my comment is full of passion:


Boxing is man to man--one on one. No one can win it for you except yourself. Or possibly Don King (or after this last fight--I'd say Bob Arum).

The individual personalities of the fighters take center stage. As Miles Davis said when talking about musical artists, you see a man's carriage, the way he carries himself outside the ring, and you almost already know how he's gonna fight.

The shirt's off, nothing but a pair of trunks--you're practically naked out there except for gloves. Your soul exposed. People would like to see you get hurt. How're you gonna react?

I like that there's no commercials. The fight just plays out in real time. I like the toughness, like my man Miguel Cotto. His skills have declined, but he's got such great heart! You almost respect him just as much when he loses as when he wins.

But I like the skill fighters best--Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and my personal favorite--Sugar Shane Mosely. Until you see a really good boxing match (few and far between these days), you haven't seen the best sports has to offer.

The biggest problem nowadays is that the skills of the boxers have really declined. Blood lust for knockouts (brought on by Tyson, and MMA) has taken over an appreciation of real boxing skills.

Good stuff. I can dig the passion, I just can't dig the subject. I had a professor in college that was nuts about Shakespeare's sonnets. He had memorized a lot of them, and would pepper his lectures with references to them. He was such a good professor, and was so clearly in love with the sonnets that I ended up buying a collection of them, and dug into them with great anticipation. Unfortunately, the connection wasn't meant to be.

I guess that's where I am with sports. I love the enthusiasm that it arouses in others, and appreciate the art that they inspire, but--in spite of the efforts of such artists as Russel Crow, Mark Knopfler, my college professor, and Mr. Grdzak--it's just not going to be for me.

And that's frustrating, because it sucks to see people getting such joy from something that only seems to make you yawn.

cross posted at Kos


Willie Y said...

I, as I grow older have lost the real passion for sports.I can watch a tennis match and marvel at the skill of some, because I play tennis. And I can enjoy, once in a while, a football game, baseball game or even a fight. But like you, I do not feel the passion to, have to witness it. I can take it or leave it. And I also really enjoy Lodo's passion for the sport of boxing. You can read, in his posts, the excitment that he feels for the sport.

Spencer Troxell said...

Yeah. I like to play racquetball from time to time, and I love swimming, but watching it on T.V. or in an arena? It's such a big time commitment (especially to watch it on T.V.), and there's no way I'm going to keep track of anyone's stats or anything. Too bad for me. Especially in the midwest, you need to know sports if you want to network. Not being into sports is also unfortunate for me, because I don't have that conversational safe zone at family gatherings. I'm a liberal elitist non-theist who doesn't care about sports, cars, or crime dramas. Talk about feeling lonely in a crowd!

Willie Y said...

But I bet they all come to you with all their personal ticks.

Spencer Troxell said...

Actually (as pertains to my side of the family), no one really comes to me with their problems. I think having seen someone in He-Man underwear when they were young may override their degree in psychology as an adult.

Regarding my in-laws: If any of them ever came to me with a personal issue, I would suspect some kind of weird rift in the space-time continuum.

Lodo Grdzak said...

Ahhh!!!! Been away for a few days, but I thought my ears were burning.

Well Spence, just like my niece will never get jazz music; my mom will never try sushi; and I probably wont ever get NHL hockey, I suppose boxing's one of those "you either get it or you don't" kind-of loves.

The quality of the boxing (and the personalities) these days has really declined, so it'd be hard for me to recommend a fight to you. But May 1st is Floyd Mayweather/Shane Mosely on HBO PPV. If you get 2-3 friends to chip-in, it'll only be about $10 bucks apiece. Those guys are 2 of the 3 best in the world today.

I love the shout-out man!