a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We love the sight of blood

By Amanda Gillooly

As I listlessly sifted through the pages of a celebrity magazine, trying to ignore the fuming rants of my uncle over the sub par performance of our Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals, something in the waning moments in the game caught my attention.

The story I was reading Monday about Britney Spears’ maybe-baby bump was completely secondary when I saw the brawl break out on the ice, and for the first time in several hours, I was actually interested in the game.

And, I realized after being transfixed by grown men on skates connecting their fists with faces for a few moments, that we’re not so unlike the Romans after all. We say – and hope – that our culture has evolved, but out lust for violence wasn’t quenched when the empire faltered.

No, we still love the type of competition that goes beyond skill and athleticism. Even the most self-proclaimed gentiles among us would admit that we require some amount of violence, bloodshed even, to truly become engaged in a sport.

When the play stopped and the punches started flying, the fans in the Detroit arena were thrusting themselves against the plexiglass wall that separated them from the scuffles, making it rock precariously back in forth.

The fans were inches away from the shattering teeth and smashed noses, and their facial expressions were almost as painful to watch.

They loved it. They wanted more.

The masses nearly escalated into mobs when they saw blood. Members of the crowd worked themselves into a frenzy when they saw blood spattered on their favorite player’s jersey, or when an opponent’s helmet skidded morbidly across the ice.

But, I’m not judging. I’m just saying, is all.

I’m not into hockey, but I’m just as guilty when it comes to the Pittsburgh “Stillers,” and football in general. I guess I probably have a similar facial expression when a receiver leaps for a pass only to be bent in half by a corner.

And yes, I do get some crude pleasure out of seeing some poor bastard signal for the fair catch only to be bowled over by the opposing team.

And, God help me, but every time New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady drops back for a pass, a big part of me wants to see him get crushed by a linebacker two times his size.

I truly savor those few seconds of humility.

I’ll be driving the bus to Hell for this, but I have fantasies about the pretty boy Patriot getting blind-sided by someone like my man, Steelers linebacker Larry Foote.

I see Brady grasping his knee in a painful embrace that says, “That one’s going to be career ending.”

Oh, come on. I’m kidding. I’m not THAT cruel.

But, Roman or not, Brady still sucks.



Scott Beveridge said...

I get the same feeling when I see Wile E. Coyote

Mike Jones said...

I'll be riding with you in the passenger seat of that bus. Especially if Foote also clobbers Bill Bellichek while he's stealing signals on the sideline.

Amanda Gillooly said...

I think the first couple of seats are reserved for the Pod...

Brant said...

My maternal grandmother was a very prim and proper lady, a schoolteacher, yet when the Friday night fights came on, she turned into a bloodthirsty maniac. Go figure.

Amanda Gillooly said...

My gram (who, well, wasn't prim and proper) in her waning days couldn't get enough of Jerry Springer. I think that's about as bad as it gets!!

Brant said...

As much as I like lowbrow entertainment, Springer's crazies are too much for me. I prefer the more genteel Maury Povich, especially the "who's your daddy" DNA test programs. It's great television watching some woman testing the 10th guy who she is "1,000 percent sure" is her baby daddy. Of course, he usually isn't.

Scott Beveridge said...

I have to deal with enough trashy people drama in real time and don't wish to watch it on the tube.