Monday, September 5, 2011

Slimbo's Sports Update

Summer is over. The New York Mets are, as they so often in the month of August and September, entirely out of the contention for post-season action. Furthermore, thanks to the Wilpon's dealings with Bernie Madoff, the franchise continues to be financially adrift, most likely to be sold to the first poor bastard who thinks this $1 billion nightmare is a good bet.

So what else is there for Slimbo to cogitate upon? What else is there to distract him from the mountains of rejection letters, and stacks of paintings which have all congealed into one sticky stack amid the summertime storeroom heat?

Well, hockey has presented an interesting conundrum. Due to the geography of my birth I have long declared my allegiances to the New York Islanders. Now, rightfully so, the citizens of Long Island have declared that they do not want to refurbish my team's god-awful arena with taxpayer dollars. And so, logic would dictate that we should not expect the Isles to stay with us, considering the deserving citizens of Quebec who lustily wish to give the Islanders a new home. Ca va, I suppose. [By the way - I'd appreciate if all 2.5 of you Slimbo's Shelf readers could take a moment and see the poll on the right. Help me pick my new National Hockey League club. (Who the hell am I kidding? No one reads this fucking blog, except for graduate students looking to pilfer my genius as they complete their paper on Heinrich Boll) Okay, Rolf, pick a team then!!]

It doesn't matter. I don't even think I like hockey. Hell, I just think I started rooting for the Islanders when I began my lost years on Wall Street, laboring for the overlords, all of whom where NY Rangers fans. I was clearly turning my back and stomping on the graves of the proletariat working-class sensibilities that had brought me and my family forth from centuries of impoverished oblivion. Whether toting golf clubs or building databases, I have done nothing with my professional life but betray every ennobling tenet of Christianity and democracy that has made Western Civilization tenable. All I ever seem to do is whore myself out to the bad guys. I guess rooting for the NY Islanders gave me me some slight wedge upon which I can maybe, just maybe feel as though I was siding with the good guys for a change.

But what about the New York Football Giants? Hell, I don't know. And I don't think I care, really. All of New York is abuzz for the New York Jets right now. This makes sense. The Jets have a formidable team, an outsized identity and that elusive muse: momentum, the most important key to success in the NFL. The Giants are sputtering, hoping for the best, while praying to elude the tapestry of injuries that has become the franchise's annual Waterloo.

When I was a kid growing up, my father and older brother were passionate Jets fans. Unfortunately, my choosing the Giants lacks any noble source other than the need to differentiate myself from the two older males in the house. Still, I am glad I chose the Giants. Sometimes people (very reasonably) point out the contradictory identity of being both a Mets and Giants fan. That's fair. I wish the ubiquitous Jets-Yankees hybrids with whom I share Westchester County were subject to an equal scrutiny but I shouldn't be bitter.

I will say this - to equate the New York Giants with the New York Yankees bears no logic whatsoever. Aligning the two might have made sense in the 1950's, however in the past few decades, there could be no two dissimilar entities. In their present incarnation, the New York Yankees are the black hole of parity in the Majors. The Giants, on the other hand, helped to usher in the modern day profit sharing structure of the NFL, owing much to the vision of late owner Wellington Mara. The Yankees are all that is worth hating about New York: hubris, greed and entitlement. The New York Football Giants on the other hand, are a throwback to a more gentlemanly atmosphere, sometimes to detriment of their own success.

But the most important sport on the immediate horizon is my son's soccer team, for which I am an assistant coach. Last year they went undefeated in the fall season and then never won again once they'd been bumped up into the upper division in the Spring. No task is worse than facing eleven nine year-olds after a loss and regurgitating the worst of lies: 'it doesn't matter who wins' and 'it's just as important how you play as if you win'. I wish like hell that those things were true but they're not and my kids see right through me as kids always do. They already seem to know that the bully who kicked their shins and knocked them over to score the game winner that beat them will most likely succeed in life without recompense. They know it all already and see I'm full of shit. I just hope they believe me when I tell them I love them. And that I'm proud of them.

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