February 2, 2020
Cultures, whether writ large or sifted down to the level of subculture, link us together. Like it or not, my fellow misanthropes. (Is that an oxymoron, fellow misanthropes? And, I’m really not. People are — fine.) One of linkage a culture offers is a shared day of celebration. A holiday, for example, like Christmas, or a national day of remembrance. Or, the Superbowl, a purely organic artifact of American culture, utterly secular and without government origin or sanction.
Now many of you reading this are already rolling your eyes. There are some who take active pleasure in disliking sports, employing such dismissive phrases as “sports ball” and deliberately mixing baseball and basketball jargon in a proud display of ignorance. This attitude projects two impressions. One: I am too smart to care about the outcome of some athletic contest; and two: only semi-literate knuckle draggers do care.
That’s all right. We all tend to dismiss that which doesn’t interest us personally as somehow unworthy. Afterall, if it was worthy of attention we’d, naturally, be interested. Basic self-esteem. I’m sure I’m as guilty of this as everyone else. The point is, you like what you like, and, conversely, don’t like other things. I’m not about to cast the first stone.
But, at the risk of being labeled as a low-brow, proletarian, lumpen brute incapable of appreciating the finer things in life, I enjoy many spectator sports. I’m not going to construct an argument proposing some objective value inherent in them. By profession I’m a lawyer, I get paid for that sort of writing. I’m not giving it away for free here. However, I think it a reasonable statement that gathering to watch sports does create a cultural link.
Consider the Superbowl, and how it will draw so many Americans to observe the same bit of entertainment collectively. Most won’t care about who wins. Those with an interest in football subdivide tribally when it comes to rooting for teams and thus the majority of football fans won’t be fans of either of the two teams that remain to vie for the Lombardy Trophy. And football fans probably won’t account for the majority of the viewers. The bulk of the viewership are watching solely because it is a cultural event, a spectacle we share, with the game itself only a piece of the larger event.
And so, drilling down from the larger cultural context to the subcultural, what fantasy characters should make up the ideal football team? Tough question, and I’m not sure how well we can answer it. I mean, how do you define the characteristics of the ideal punter?
I’m limiting this to human characters. It’s already complicated enough.
I propose Aragorn as quarterback. Tall, rangy, with great eyesight and exceptional leadership qualities.
Conan is a middle linebacker. Fast, strong, and aggressive, yet still intelligent enough to make the right calls for the defense.
I’d suggest Temper, from Malazan books, as left guard. He’s got that protective mindset that will help protect the quarterback.
Fafhrd is big enough to play tackle, but I see him as a tight end, blocking or breaking through the defense to catch a pass.
I’m considering Druss the Axe for nose tackle. Is he big enough, do you think?
Solomon Kane for wide receiver, slotback probably. Line him up with John Carter and maybe Faramir on the wings.
Brule Spearslayer for free safety.
Eric John Stark for running back.
The Gray Mouser returning kicks?
Help me out, people. We need the big boys in the trenches. Hard choices when we’re limited to human characters.
Anyway, for those of you uninterested in the big game it’s something for you to think about in between commercials.