War versus Sport
Submitted by: Gene Kalmes
October 26, 2003
Ask a man why he loves sports and he will give you a laundry list of reasons. He will tell you that it is the action, the unpredictability or the conflict.
Those descriptions could also describe war. Yes war is full of conflict, action and unpredictability but it sorely lacks what sport has to offer.
As a man who spends a little more time then the average man analyzing such things, I want to point something out to my fellow chest beaters.
I know it is a bit womanly to think too much and we as men like to keep things to three or four words and would prefer to just grunt but I want to open a window to your hairy souls.
There is a much higher plain to sports then action, conflict and unpredictability. You don’t realize it but between your willingness to scream at umpires, refs, coaches and players who make mistakes is a level of a divine nature.
You are quite often in that zone in calmer moments. You instruct a little league team to shake hands after a game or not to purposely try and spike another player or humiliate another team who is losing badly. There in that sense of sportsmanship is the force of goodness that makes you a decent person 99.9% of the time.
Think about that figure because it is accurate. Every day you drive in rush hour traffic and there are plenty of jerks you want to run off the road but you don’t. There are many times in bars you want to punch a loudmouth but you don’t. Most of the time something inside of you says that it is best to turn the other cheek. Of course there are times when you wake up in jail for punching the loudmouth at the bar and there are times you end up in the ditch while racing with a fellow road-rager. But mostly you remain in control of your temper because-believe it or not-you are a spiritual being with pretty good judgment and a higher sense of justice then anyone realizes.
You may be surprised to know you have an amazing ability to be very, very reasonable. Sometimes, downright Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Jesus like. How many times have you broken up fights or calmed a buddy down who wanted to punch out the loud mouth at the bar? How many times have you told the fanatic to stop screaming at the ump or his kid?
99.9% is probably a very fair assessment of in control to out of control. Think about it. You watch the TV and it seems the whole world is killing one another because from that window, edited into a steady stream of violent images it would seem that the world is one big long, kill or be killed proposition. But look out the window of your home. See…There’s probably not anyone killing or fighting or screaming his or her heads off. Sure, sometimes there is. I used to live in LA and it happened a bit more often but mostly, say 98% of the time; no one was fighting outside the window.
If you are living in Palestine perhaps the number is greater but even then, 96% of the time there aren’t any people shooting each other or strapping bombs to themselves.
Even if it is one suicide bombing a day (which it isn’t) how long does that take? A few seconds tops, but out of 24 hours it is still a small percentage of the day. Now think about the entire planet. On any given day how many people and how many geographical locals are engaged in some sort of violent confrontation? Again it is less then 1% no matter how the TV news makes it look. Now ask yourself why is that?
Men are always said to be violent but if you look at these percentages the numbers speak volumes. Guys you are rarely if ever violent. Even a hit man or a soldier is only killing a tiny fraction of the time. Sure battles can flare up and last a few days or weeks but there are always periods of cease-fire...
Now ask yourself what it is that keeps you from being violent or confrontational? Is it because you are afraid of being punished? No. That is ridiculous. That may stop you from punching a loud mouth or shooting your wife but most of the time you stop yourself because you have a very common sense of decency, way more decency then you are given credit for.
Now think about your race. Are you white? Are you American? Are you Christian? Are you Black or Muslim? Chinese or European? And although you may have read somewhere that one ethnic group uses more violence then another ethnic group the facts are that whomever they are…They too are only committing these acts of violence or conflict less then 1% of the time.
It is in that tiny fraction where something called a root cause resides. This tends to be the thing that pisses that particular ethnic group off. I recently read some statistics that said black men were 7 times more likely to commit a crime. Well, within that tiny fraction of a moment when they do commit a crime is much more reason for that aggressive behavior. Follow the reasoning here…Imagine an umpire making bad call after bad call. You have a bet on the game and it’s costing you money. So you throw a bottle at the ump’s head.
99.9% of the time you were peacefully watching the game but that freaking ump just pushed you over the limit. Now imagine a young black man getting bad calls 7 times more often then anyone else. Wouldn’t that make him 7 times more likely to throw a bottle at an ump or a cop’s head?
Now imagine a Palestinian seeing their neighborhood is being bulldozed and ask yourself how you might react. You would probably throw a rock or two also. Again, there may be more violence in that region of the world but it is still a tiny fraction of the time, because ultimately men everywhere are pretty much alike. They all have this inner sense that yearns for fairness. Men actually do like each other and 99% of the time we would rather shake another man’s hand then shoot him dead and leave his children without a father.
This is why men like sports. It is the closest we ever get to complete fairness. Sports are the pinnacle of integrity. Honesty is a goal for everyone playing and watching. Umpires and Refs, players, fans and owners basically conspire to achieve fairness. Throw a funny shaped ball in and now you have conflict, action and unpredictability. However it is the quest for fairness and how close sports comes to realizing that truly incredible meeting of minds and bodies.
Sports is as close to perfection as man comes and yet each game, play, pitch, call, run or inning is as unique as the individual who is playing, watching, or umpping. It is there on that battlefield where we have a real government for the people by the people. Decisions are made that we usually agree on and even when we don’t we come to accept them because we recognize that even if a call was blown that the system was mostly fair and on average sports are as close to honest as we will ever get.
We love that as a species we have found a way to do battle but pat each other on the behind after the dust has settled, then instead of burying the dead we all take a shower together. And it all happens in broad daylight, (the game not the shower although had the XFL been given a little more time) under the lights and in front of thousands if not millions of people who witness this amazing arena of fairness. Integrity battling integrity and may the best man win.
Now compare sports to war
In theory there are rules to war but how can anyone be an umpire when one side is carpet-bombing a city or village? How can it possibly be fair to blow some innocent civilians into bits and pieces because somebody bombed someone else, somewhere else?
There is nothing honest or fair about war. Generals are in bed with defense manufacturers and they all get rich and watch from miles away as soldiers who only wanted a school loan (something they shouldn’t have to kill or die for) are being irradiated by their own depleted uranium and making thirteen thousand dollars a year to boot. These soldiers were also lied to in that they were told the rules of the game were to fight for one’s country yet that country has proven time and time again through history that those soldiers are merely fodder.
They came home from the Gulf War in 1991 with an illness that their superiors have denied exists. They have left POW’s to rot in prisons in Viet Nam. The list goes on and on and even if you only know a fraction of the story you should know enough to see that the game of war is completely lacking integrity. In fact it is so full of secrets and dark closed rooms and plans that only benefit a few that it is so far from sport as to make it much more akin to throwing Christians to lions or raping children then it is to a football game.
Therefore guys, you need to stop acting like war is a sport and that it is somehow justified.
Those of us who oppose war are generally those who don’t have any stock in the companies that will profit from it. In other words we find it so unjust and wrong that we find it impossible to wave a flag like a pennant. We feel strongly that one soldier or civilian dying so the rest of us can kick back and watch the world series is way too much for any man of conscience to accept without one hell of a fierce argument.
This is about as close to integrity as war ever gets. The people who oppose it are like the fans who find out that a boxer has taken a dive. We demand an investigation. We should demand fairness, integrity and for any conflict whether it be an election, a vote in congress, a murder trial or a baseball game to play out in front of thousands if not millions of eyes in broad daylight or under bright lights to preserve the integrity of the game. We want the rules to be upheld and put on a pedestal, any renegotiations to take place at a table with all sides present. If the rules change it is through a democratic process and everyone understands and plays by them because the umpires see to it that they apply equally to everyone.
And that is why we love sports because it is the closest we have ever gotten to perfection between highly imperfect beings. It is why all closed door sessions and meetings in politics are nothing short of cheating. When lawyers and judges make deals behind closed doors and war planners draw up battle plans behind closed doors and assassins are sent out into the night to shoot someone who opposes a small minority. Whoever employs these mercenaries in dark conspiratorial secrecy is anything but fair and honest.
So the next time you get worked up into lather by an AM radio DJ who convinces you to hate a liberal on your way home from work think about this. The dictionary defines liberal as: generous and giving in an open handed way. Therefore the opposite of liberal must be a person who is greedy and unwilling to share.
But here’s an idea to try and put this in perspective. What if the liberals were to start a football team and the conservatives were to start a football team and play a game to decide some issue. Would you want that game to be played in broad day light with good honest umpires and fans who would not riot and kill each other at the end of the game?
Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams, Ben Franklin and the rest of our forefathers attempted to create a government that could be compared to the rules we have in sports. The check and balance system had rules to see that the legislative, judicial and federal branches of the government kept the game honest and in the light of day. Our constitution and bill of rights are (or were) like the rules to any sport. The opposing teams were to be kept in check by umpires who were kept honest by thousands and millions of eyes who knew the rules, agreed to the rules and accepted the outcome as long as no one cheated. But that has not been the case. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights has been torn up by a few who began to play crucial innings of the game behind closed doors. The officials have been bribed with money and other favors to secure fixed outcomes to the rules. Umpires and the rules they enforce have been destroyed and with it the integrity of our government.
He charges less than a marriage counselor and a simple whistle does the trick...
Taxes have been levied, wars have been waged and people have been enslaved and imprisoned by laws that don’t even resemble fairness or justice. A game designed to be played in the light of day before thousands of eyes who would keep the sense of fair play as close to perfect as humanly possible is now nothing more then a fixed fight.
In any sport if a team or a player play dirty they try not to be seen doing it. Corked bats and spitballs are hidden just as politicians who take bribes try not to be seen.
So guys I don’t expect you to like me for the things I say but if I were to play your team in a softball tournament I would want a couple umpires we could both trust and a crowd of people watching them and plenty of lights. And I know you wouldn’t want it any other way. Because it is something truly heroic men (and women) have in common when it comes to sports. No one wants to win by cheating unless of course you’re a scumbag. So then why would we allow our elections, courts, corporations and conflicts with other countries to be played in arenas where there is no light, no dedication to fairness, no accountability or integrity?
For instance, a bank lent the money to both Hitler and Winston Churchill to fight World War II. The War to take over the world was funded by a bank who played both sides. First of all, what if neither side could get a loan? And secondly, doesn’t that say that that bank already ran the world and didn’t care who came in second and third place.
In sports we go to great lengths to try and maintain the integrity of the games in spite of the greed that tries so hard to corrupt and we do it by not changing the rules to benefit one team or owner over another. Isn’t it time our world leaders play a world series with the same kind of seriousness and dedication to fairness as we men give to sports?
It may be time to storm the field and tear down the goal posts."
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