Greetings From Scott Turner: Macho Aggressiveness Rarely Serves a Good Purpose
The Quizman Cometh and this week's greeting is all about football. This Thursday he does the pub quz at at Rocky Sullivan's. And don't miss Scott Turner's solo show at Freddy's on Friday at 9 p.m. Miss Wit, as always, is the sponsor of this post.
Greetings Pub Quiz Tough GalGuys…
Macho aggressiveness rarely
serves a good purpose. Bad enough when it's on the playground, in a
barroom or the bedroom. When it's culturally endemic, it's even worse.
But when it's the height of hypocrisy, that's really ludicrous. As in, what's the point.
this country of ours, there's no more pointlessly macho realm than
sports. Across the sports landscape, there's no more pointlessly macho
realm than American football. And apparently, across the manifest
destiny of the nation's collective gridiron, there's no more
pointlessly macho realm than the first couple of weeks of the NFL season?
It seems that the behemoths of the NFL –
men who often tip the scales at 325, 350, 375 pounds, giant specimens
of testosterone intentionally jiggered to run wild, the
standard-bearers of all that is ferocious, mighty, colossal and
God-bestowed in the mightiest nation on the planet — have a weakness
that makes Achilles' heel seem a tiny scratch by comparison.
Yes, these men who growl, scream, punch teammates' shoulders and
decimate opponents' various bones, muscles and sinewy parts, who taunt
and trash-talk and spit on sportsmanship lest the slightest fissure of
humanity costs them the game, and who insultingly misappropriate war
imagery for their weekly athletic endeavors…
…cannot stand sunlight.
More to the point, many NFL home
teams have started the season wearing white uniforms. Traditionally,
the home team wears a dark color at home — the Giants, royal blue
jerseys; the Jets, dark green. And so on.
But apparently all the conditioning, all the weekend-warrior chants, all the macho hegemony of the NFL isn't enough.
Tough Texas's Texans? White as the driven snow.
The man-eating Bengals, including macho trash-talker supreme Chad Ochocinco? White like Liberace. Apparently, the extra couple of sunlight degrees is frightening, but not Great-White-in-Rhode-Island open flames.
Panthers so black they can sneak up on you with all of nature's stealth and end your life in a heartbeat? Pale shades in Florida.
The Ravens? The Ravens, of Poe's dark mysticism and linebacker Ray Lewis' murder charges? Even the Ravens
wore white tops. Apparently, though, black isn't the death-knell it's
made out to be — the Ravens wore black helmets, pants, socks, shoes
and gloves. Macho sure is selective when it wants to be.
And in week two, seven days further from summer's sunny death rays, even the New York Jets wore white because the life-giving ball of gas out beyond Mercury was just too scary.
With domed stadiums, Field Turf and
state-of-the-art drainage systems, NFL players rarely end up with dirty
uniforms these days. The NFL won't even play its championship game,
the Super Bowl, in a cold-weather city. The league used to bill key games as the Irresistible Force Versus The Immovable Object. Now it's The Irresista– wait, Coach, it's too hot, can we wear white?
Hey, look. I don't really care. If NFL players wanna pound their
chests and scream every time the receiver they're guarding drops the
ball, be my guest. If they wanna equate running a football with being
stationed for a year in mountains of Afghanistan, go crazy.
But I don't wanna hear they're members of some über-ferocious fraternity, the toughest of the tough, John Wayne cut with Sun Tzu. Not if they insist on wearing white jerseys on a sunny September afternoon.
Some have argued "what's wrong with gaining an advantage." Nothing.
But most of football's advantage-gaining techniques — good scouting,
conditioning regimens, play calling, fast-thinking — aren't based on
In other words, if football players weren't so obsessed with macho posturing, this little advantage wouldn't matter a whit
I'm not advocating for some pure versions of machismo. For starters,
we know what happens when "pure" and "human development" meld. All I'm
saying is that it's another indicator that men playing sports –
because of their own vanity and fans' demands that they act a certain
way for our entertainment — are fatuous, flatulent and somewhat full
Not just football, of course. Hockey fights…that's another
measure of wild-eyed male fury coddled by unwritten rules preventing
anything that might actually expose the participants to things
wild-eyed or furious.
You'd think that if these angry men on silver blades were that pissed-off
at their co-combatants, they'd kick each other in the nether regions,
shove heads through rink glass, use those blades in ghastly ways.
But they don't…there are parameters, something along the lines of
Gentleman's Rules, that limit the violence of a hockey fight.
"hey, don't go too rough, okay?" "yeah, sure…"
men" who call themselves "real men" never are. The insecurities that
urge them to define themselves as "real" sink them from the get go.
American sports, particularly football, are filled to the brim with
"real men" — on the field, in the stands, parked on sofas across this
great land of ours.
Here's the skinny: the Real Man can be found somewhere out there in the mysterious ether of the Legendary Unknowns — Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and a contrite, compassionate Michael Bloomberg.