Sunday, December 06, 2009

There's no crying in football!

One of the most hilarious scenes in all of film history is Tom Hanks' rant in "A League of Their Own" (1992), when he screams at one of his sensitive girl players: "There's no crying! ... There's no crying in baseball!!!"

Indeed. There's no crying in sports! It's a SPORT! It's supposed to be about doing your darnedest and having fun doing it. It's not supposed to be about winning. I know that's a cliche, but, like all cliches, it's true. Sports give you a chance to test your physical acumen. The opponents provide a foil for that test. Winning can be a metaphor for having done your best, having plumbed your ability and done well.

And so, yesterday, we had the spectacle of quarterback Tim Tebow of the Florida Gators weeping quite publicly for millions to see as his Gators lost to Alabama 32-13 in a romp. There's no crying in football!

The thing that makes the Tebow spectacle even more shameful is his very public demonstration of his Christianity -- his implicit demeanor that his football success is linked directly to his mysticism and to the hand of a god being upon him. As I said in another blog post recently, Tebow wears a New Testament passage under his eyes in each game. During the Alabama game, it was John: 16:33. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Did Tebow "take heart"? Did Tebow "have peace"? Did Tebow really believe that shit he spattered beneath his eyes? Is Tebow a hypocrite? Is Tebow like all other Christians, believing they are anointed and cared for and looked after and most important in the universe? Do they *really* believe?

I'll tell you why Tebow was crying: He assumed destiny sat upon him. He was confused by an outcome that was supposed to be preordained. He narcissistically believed his will (allegedly buttressed by his god-prop) was all that was needed to win. He placed all importance on winning, not playing, in a bid to show the alleged manifest destiny of him they call Tebow.

It all crashed. Tebow will, no doubt, confess his "human weakness." Bank on it. He will disingenuously proclaim the hubris of all mankind -- not particularly himself (Christians love to popularly indict when they fuck up).

All of this is to say that when I see a sports player whimper, I shake my head in exasperation. But the unctuous Tebow instead incited in me revulsion, detestation, contempt. His life is a charade of do-gooderism, of altruistic self-promotion, of better-than-thou hubris. Talk of him is messianic.

But there are two bright spots in this dark shadow. (1) At the sports bar where I watched Alabama humble Florida's Tebow, my friend Aquinas and I heard one patron shout: "Yeah, cry like a baby, Tebow!" (2) A popular photo in newspapers this morning showed Tebow wiping away tears below his eyes, seemingly wiping off the John passage. The metaphor was delicious.

Yes, it's good to see that all Americans are not fooled all the time.

No comments: