Friday, September 15, 2006

tick tick tick

So last week I went 8-8, but I was a perfect 4-0 for the primetime games (Pittsburgh, Indy, Minnesota and San Diego). What does that mean? What does any of it mean? We’re just cosmic dust in a vast and unforgiving universe. Life has moments, some which last, some which enflame our senses. We all have our moments, and those things are tangible, actual things to each and every one of us. But just contemplating the finite moments that we are given, the cruel way in which they can be taken from us by people who we don’t even know, it’s enough to make a grown man cry. Instead of talking about the games, I’m going to talk about something else.

@ Baltimore -11.5 Oakland

This is probably why I follow sports so earnestly. I need to spend time thinking that I am a part of something bigger than myself, something that I can explain. I am a part of the millions of Toronto Maple Leaf fans who have never seen the Stanley Cup raised by a Leaf. There is a chance that I might never see it. But I accept that cost, for the anticipation is part of the journey. I might never see it happen, but I will have traveled along the same path other Leaf fans, and fans of other teams who have also not lived to see a championship.

My pick Oakland.

@ Indianapolis -13.5 Houston

I was watching PBS last night, some universe explaining show about how life can be formed and how random our existence is (that is, for those who perhaps don’t subscribe to a weekly religious news letter). Stars always make me contemplative, and my attention drifted from the show to events of this past week.

My pick Indianapolis

@ Cincinnati -10.5 Cleveland

Which is worse; violence in the name of a Supreme Being or religious cause, or violence in the name of the random cruelty that is exhibited by humans to each other? Holy wars or school shootings?

My pick Cincinnati.

@ Miami -6.5 Buffalo

Killer whales eating baby sea lions, we call that nature, we call that the circle of life. When a young man, disturbed by what has happened to him, lashes out on us and takes an arbitrary life, is that not the cruel random circle of life? Random because although there were signs as to what could take place, we could not predict what was taking place Wednesday afternoon in Montreal. Circle of life because a life was taken, and just like the baby sea lion who was randomly killed for food by the whale, a young girl was randomly killed for….? I don’t know. What possessed that man to do what he did? He didn’t wake up and decide he was going to do that, it was the result certain events. Why did he own a machine gun? How did he buy it? There are so many layers, it is impossible to lay it out in simple cause-effect terms (unlike the whale-sea lion scenario which could be built upon the foundation of the whale’s hunger).

My pick Buffalo.

@ Chicago -8.5 Detroit

It was not because the incident had never occurred; in fact many such instances have occurred. It is because somewhere along the line, for that young man, he seized to be a part of what was going on around him. Things added up for him (in some perverse math) the product of which was a machine gun in one of our schools.

My pick Detroit.

Carolina -2 @ Minnesota

I think it is important to take ownership of the situation. To borrow a phrase from Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes) “we only think these kinds of things happen to other people but we don’t realize that we are all other people to someone else.”

My pick Carolina.

@ Philadelphia -3 NY Giants

Everything we do, and I emphasize everything, has some reaction somewhere, somehow. Little things add up (the origin of the term ‘going postal’ comes to mind). Even for those who do not subscribe to a religious affiliation, there is no denying that the smallest action of taking a breath has the affect of sustaining life.

My pick Philly.

@ Atlanta -5.5 Tampa Bay

Things tend to balance out, in sports and in life. The difference is this; if a pitcher throws a ball, and then throws another ball, odds are he’s going to try to throw a strike with his next pitch. The hitter knows this, the pitcher knows this, and the catcher knows this. The hitter, if he makes good contact with that 2-0 fastball, which is the product of the two balls thrown previously in that at-bat, could hit a homerun. The price for those two balls to the pitcher could be a homerun. But he can live with that, his teammates can live with that, and his fans can live with that. Sure there might be some anger, but it is small and isolated to the incident on the field.

My pick Tampa Bay

New Orleans -2 @ Green Bay

The game ends. There will be another game another day, another chance at that batter, another chance at redemption.

My pick Green Bay

St. Louis -3 @ San Francisco

So we follow our teams, our athletes, every finite season, in the quest to be the best. We feel connected. My friend Matt pointed out to me this past week that beyond the stats and the inculcation of sports at a very young age, perhaps I follow sports for the story. Buster Olney at, said this very thing yesterday. That his following of sports was not the same day-to-day.

My pick St. Louis

@ Seattle -7 Arizona

Yesterday, Buster wrote in his blog;

Yesterday morning, I went back to my old high school to talk to English students about writing and baseball, and one of the students asked a question about how it was to write about the same general subject, day after day.

It really isn't the same on a daily basis, I responded, because the context changes constantly and there are always fascinating story lines developing and evolving day after day. That's what you root for as a reporter -- not a team, but interesting stories. For instance, I said, the Minnesota Twins, who have a budget equivalent to that of three or four Yankee stars, are getting back a young star pitcher from injury this afternoon, and if he is OK, then the Twins could turn out to be an extremely dangerous team in the playoffs. And that would be fascinating to watch.

My pick Seattle.

New England -6 @ NY Jets

And that’s what we do. We follow the story. That is what humans have always done, follow the story. Hieroglyphics, myths, Survivor. They are all stories for us to follow, something that we do. Perhaps we follow stories because it makes it easier for us to comprehend our own life story. Perhaps it allows us to put our own stories in perspective, give some semblance to our too short existence in the vast, unforgiving universe.

My pick New England

@ San Diego -11.5 Tennessee

This could explain why I spend some time chronicling the random flashes of thought which pass through my head on this website. Why blog? Well, because I write anyways, my hand writing is slightly intelligible, and because I am so immodest as to feel free to share my opinions with the randomness that is the internet. I use this as a vehicle to say something, to try to put words in a combination that may not have been before tried. I could be anywhere writing this, but it would not change what is actually read by others. By that I mean I could be writing this in a cubicle in an office, I could be in a basement, I could be in a library, I could be in a computer lab, I could be at a strangers house, one which I’ve randomly walked into and decided to use their internet. The latter may not be the smartest of decisions, but it does not change the fact that I have written something, I have tried to do something, I have done more than just cite a problem, and I have opened myself up for criticism.

My pick San Diego.

@ Denver -10.5 Kansas City

But most importantly, I do this because I know that my mind is capable of only a finite amount of mind stuff. That is, if I do not put this down now, I may not properly remember it. That is important, I have a limited amount of memory storage space, and I will go back to this and I will read what I have written, and it will be almost new to me. In that sense, I’m almost like the character in Memento. This will to me be as if someone else had written it.

My pick Kansas City.

@ Dallas -6 Washington

It is the great human tragedy, the capacity to forget. I was extremely riled up recently in a conversation with my roommate. She was questioning the validity of “history repeating itself.” She did not believe that it happened. Being a history student, I was quietly enraged. I could not believe that someone had the audacity to think that history will not repeat itself. But I had to give up; I couldn’t get through to her. The fact that she was ignorant of history and then justified her own ignorance by basically stating that what she doesn’t know isn’t important anyways; was completely and totally frustrating.

My pick Dallas.

Pittsburgh -1.5 @ Jacksonville

So I feel that I’ve vented/preached/rambled on long enough. I was deeply disturbed by the actions in Montreal, and am more and more disturbed by the words used by some people to spew out hatred towards others. We only have a finite time, and we’re not getting any more of it.

My pick Pittsburgh, 20-10.

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