Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Campbell's Comical Con Of A Climax

Nicky Campbell really is a tool:

'London is on a shortlist of five cities being considered to host an NFL game next year. Nail-biting, isn't it? Shall we send them Watford v Charlton in return? It would, I'm sure, be a great accolade to be chosen it but if it does come here, as the late Peter Cook said to David Frost in response to a dinner invitation from the Duke and Duchess of York: "Oh dear. I find I'm watching television that night."'

'No off-fence (go on, say it in a funny way) to the sport's British cheerleaders but if only they put down their pompoms and assume some ob-jec-ob-jec-tiv-ity. This is a game which appeals only to those who enjoy it's legalised brutality or get off on the cultural accretions and ghastly razzamatazz that disguise what the spectacle lacks. In crude terms, American football never reaches orgasm. A ball going into a net, through a hoop, down a hole, being touched down or blasted out of reach with supreme finality, satisfies a need deep in the primal core. Merely carrying a ball into an area after all that build-up and he-man hullabaloo is a bit, well, flaccid. It's Charles Atlas with erectile dysfunction.'

'I can't drive past goal nets without wanting to stop the car, get out, blast a ball and see that bulge and hear that ripple. I can't imagine the yearning desire to advance the ball into an endzone. Psycho-sexual problems apart, American football is, compared to our own national game, philosophically inferior. A Bostonian once said to me after watching a game of sacker: "I don't get it. You can make a great play and get nothing for it." Such is life, my dear old fruit.'

Well, pardon me Nicky for taking 'off-fence' (ha! Did you see what he did there? What a wag!) but I can't quite believe such a terrible bundle of non-sequiturs made it into the pages of a national newspaper. Campbell complains that scoring a touchdown is somehow inferior to scoring a try because . . . well, actually, I'm not quite sure why he believes that. Is it the fact that when a rugby player gets over the try line, he has to bend over a little bit and place the ball on the ground? Oh, the athletic superiority!

Quoth Mike Carlson:

'For the life of me I can't see how sinking a putt and touching down a try are similar, or how either is qualitatively better than jumping the air, grabbing a ball thrown from 40 yards away, and coming down dragging your toes inside the 'touch' line while being hit by two guys out to jar the ball, your teeth, and your wind away from you. But then, I'm a mere American.'

In the words of Philip Larkin ('Self's The Man'):

'But wait, not so fast:
Is there such a contrast?'

Try watching these videos (more rugby ones)*, and then tell me what the big athletic and sporting difference is, and then watch this video and tell me how that is in any way more sporting or athletic than either, or how its not very phallic 'climax' in any way makes up for the unremitting tediousness of all that came before it.

Ask yourself seriously; which is closer to rugby, American football or golf? Or, for that matter, basketball or netball or cricket or whatever sport it is in which the ball is 'blasted out of reach with supreme finality'?

Campbell's moan about 'cultural accretions and ghastly razzamatazz' is so much token anti-Americanism - he may or may not like cheerleaders or fireworks particularly, but they do nothing to 'disguise what the spectacle lacks' because it doesn't lack anything in a sporting sense.

Also, if I may be pardoned for going off on a rant here, if football (say) provides such an amazing spectacle that couldn't be improved by 'ghastly razzamatazz', Campbell might like to tell me why only 13000 home fans turned up to watch Wigan this weekend, or why, when Fulham travelled to Blackburn earlier in the season, only 150 Fulham fans made the trip up north? The answer might lie in his rhetorical question of whether Watford v Charlton should be sent to America - a game that Jackie Oatley described on Five Live this week as 'the worst game I've ever seen'. Or perhaps he might like to ask himself why so many people go to twenty20 cricket, and so few people go to county championship games?

Campbell risks humour again later when he writes about 'sacker' - why look, that's almost nearly how an actual, real American might pronounce it! Sadly for Campbell and those who love sneering at 'philosophically inferior' Americans, 'soccer' is actually a British word. What's more, pace Carlson again:

'I don't hear any old fruits saying 'the sport you Australians call 'soccer', although they do call it that, because, like us, they have their own form of football which they prefer to the beautiful hooligan game of shirt-tugging, crotch-grabbing, and diving.'

Campbell's real scorn, of course, is saved for 'the sport's British cheerleaders'. After all, in Obi-wan Kanobe terms, if the Americans are the fools, I'm the fool who follows them. He should try mentioning that to Colin Murray at the BBC Christmas party, for his Five Live counterpart used to present Five's coverage of the NFL during the early hours of the morning, two nights a week, and getting paid a very small amunt of money to do so, out of sheer love of the sport. He singularly fails to consider that I - or any of the sports numerous British fans for that matter - might, in fact, enjoy watching American football alongside many other sports, and that I may enjoy it precisely because it has the same characteristics as every other sport I watch, and that the 'climax' he believes is so obviously absent is so totally ephemeral to the viewing, and sporting, experience.

Cleverer than its namesake.

*The first is a video of LaDainian Tomlinson's touchdowns for San Diego, the others of rugby tries of various quality - I put several in because of the huge number of Tomlinson touchdowns contained in that video. At some point, I hope to be able to embed these videos into the post, but YouTube isn't letting me at the moment.

Maybe Campbell is going for the Stephen Pollard prize for sneering at anything different.

I hear that Brighton & Hove Albion get feeble turn outs, less than 1000 for a cup game earlier this season, that's really worth concreting the Downs over for their new stadium.
I remember the commentator saying in the 2004 euros that only 52 people turned up to watch a top flight Czech Republic football match. I can't find a link, to 'czech' that figure with, though.
I hate football. I just support Partick Thistle instead.
I hate all organized sport. Its all just stand-ins for more fatal forms of physical struggle.
'Specially American Football, where teams play only a handful of games a year and still complain when they get their moving parts broken.
Compared to Hockey, Baseball or Basketball, where you play game after game after game, all of which are just as fucking useless as any other.
Seriously, masturbating to a lingerie magazine is a more productive use of my time than watching even one minute of organized sport.
i'm w/SafeTinspector, apart from his last sentence (not lingerie mags since i'm a grrl).
Have a good Xmas.
Mark - You probably won't be too surprised to find me not entirely in agreement with those sentiments. Anyway, it's probably irrelevant - if the Conservatives win the next election, they've promised to help with the Falmer project.

NickyC - Somehow I don't believe you're actually Nicky Campbell, Graham . . .

Ill Man - Brrrrr-da-doom-tish!

SafeT - A tad harsh, perhaps! How would you feel about competitive wanking over lingerie magazines?

Rimone - Ahhh, go on - not even in my fantasy?

Pam - Bless you, you too!
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