Grumpy again, but I have no illusions about this one. It won’t change a thing. Still.
If there’s one thing I’ve always tried to do, it’s reduce the number of aggravating things that I have to deal with.
Certain people bother me? I avoid them.
News gets on my nerves? I stop watching.
New devices take too long to figure out? I stick with the old ones.
On that last, were you to look at my key chain, you’d find that I still have the “P-38” can-opener that I acquired in Viet Nam and, occasionally, still use to this day.
I do that because it’s simple to use and it causes me no aggravation whatsoever.
So, here’s where I’m going with all of this:
I’ve stopped watching NFL football. I’m done with it.
The reason has nothing to do with the game itself. In fact, I love the game. However, I’ve had trouble watching the NFL version for some time now because there’s a part of it that simply aggravates the bejeezus out of me. Rubs me the wrong way. Gets under my skin. Puts a burr under my saddle. Pick whichever phrase that you like. They all work.
What finally made me quit watching were the repeated displays of puerile ego that now seem to be an integral part of football played at that level.
Score a touchdown? Do some well-rehearsed dance in the end zone.
Sack the quarterback? Strut around like some preening peacock for everyone to see.
Intercept a pass? Hold the ball out in the opponents face to taunt him.
It finally reached the point where my aggravation had me muttering at the screen and that told me that I’d had enough.
Maybe it’s because I’ve taken my first steps into “geezerdom” and being crotchety is now my default mode.
On the other hand, maybe it’s because I was raised in an era when the words “showboating” and “show off” were labels you’d avoid having tied to you at all costs.
Maybe it’s because every coach I ever played for taught us to let our actions speak for themselves.
Maybe it’s because there was once a time when players knew that, if they scored a touchdown, caught an impossible pass, stuffed a run at the line of scrimmage, or pulled off a great play, the whole stadium had already seen what they’d done. Their skills had been displayed. Their talent had spoken for itself. Their toughness had been shown.
Now came the moment for character. The moment when they’d simply hand the ball to the ref. The moment when they’d hug their teammates or pat them on the butt. The moment when they might even offer their hand to their opponent to help him up. The moment when they’d show some class, style, and dignity.
I liked that because it was a time when sportsmanship was common and such behavior was expected. These days, however, it seems that all of that is gone.
Trust me, I know that this isn’t going to change anything nor is my boycott likely to amount to a hill of beans. It just makes me feel better to not watch yet another outsized ego demand that everyone pay attention to what “I’ve” just done and, as for my opponent, “Here, let me rub it in your face.”
In passing, I don’t think such behavior marks the end of civilization as we know it, but consider this:
Such behavior is being broadcast to millions of young men and women every single weekend. Sadder still is that fact that I think this behavior has been and will continue to be copied. And that isn’t a good thing at all.
I know I’m swimming against the tide here, but I have a record in such matters.
A bit more than 30 years ago, a couple of guys named John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors made watching professional tennis extremely unpleasant for me because of their near constant temper tantrums.
I haven’t watched a televised tennis match since then. Again, it hasn’t made a whit of difference to anyone except me. But, as with not watching NFL football, it was one small aggravation that I didn’t have to deal with any more.