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The drama of pro sport vs 'the arts'

Viewed 276 times 2017-2-13 06:21 |System category:Others

"So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, And if we kick them all out you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts." - Hollywood actress Meryl Streep / 2017 Golden Globes lifetime achievement acceptance speech

Apparently Meryl Streep has emerged as a political leader of the left side of the American capitalist duopoly political system and she has jokes for us. Meryl Streep is correct that the simple American masses only like to watch low prolefeed forms of entertainment like pro-sports and Hollywood movies but many a simple American prole did not understand Meryl Streeps advanced humour at the Golden Globes so she tried her best to explain the joke for them at the recent Greater New York Gala Dinner -

"First of all, I do like football. Let me just make that clear. I gave seven years, seven of my youngest, prettiest years to being a cheerleader for football, basketball and wrestling. I have watched more Pee Wee league football, Pop Warner football, JV and varsity high school football, JV and varsity college level and professional football for over over 60 years, more than probably anyone in this room, and, yes, I thought the Falcons/Patriots game was the most exciting football game in history, but in my honest opinion, it is totally crazy that the winning advantage in a Super Bowl tie is determined by means of a coin toss! Sad. But that is as butch as I am going to get all night. 

If you overhear a woman in a restaurant say, “My son is very interested in the arts,” she probably doesn’t mean football or mixed martial arts. 

They are just not the same thing. Look, some of us like football, some of us like the arts, many of us require both in our lives. I was making a joke. Some people missed it. Mike Nichols once told me, "If you have to explain a joke, you, and the joke, are doomed. So, whatever." - Meryl Streep 2017 Greater New York Gala Dinner

Meryl Streep has one hell of a sense of humour doesnt she? Perhaps Meryl Streep is correct that I am doomed since as a prole myself I need you stupid proles to understand but my best bet is to join the other side if I can right? If I understand then I am clearly on the wrong side arent I? I am at least outer party material. If I explained you wouldnt believe it would you? See that is why it is so funny. Meryl Streep doesnt have to explain and she isnt going to.

Anyway, the NBL ( Australian pro-basketball ) competition finished today and it has been such an enjoyable season to watch that over the last few days I have been reflecting on how much joy the NBL has given me this year but also on how much joy the NBL competition has given me since I started watching it as a young child.

My favourite sport was Rugby League until I was about twelve but I always enjoyed Australian basketball games when I would see them on tv. One year I saw a heap of really close and exciting Sydney Kings games and I fell in love with basketball. The Sydney Kings had this American Point Guard called Steve Carfino and I thought he was incredible. To me there is nothing more exciting than a basketball game that is close at the end of the fourth quarter. I love the drama and tension created when a time out is called with seconds remaining to set a play for a game winning shot.

I was born in Sydney and all of my family are from Sydney so it made sense for me to support the Sydney Kings but I actually live closer to Canberra than Sydney and the Canberra Canons used to be a more successful team than the Sydney Kings so in another reality and if not for Steve Carfino I may have ended up becoming a Canberra Canons supporter ( Lucky I didnt because the Canons folded in 2003 ) because in some ways I identify as being from Sydney but in a lot of ways I do not.

One thing that elitists often do to insult proles is suggest that the only reason proles love professional sport so much is because they all have wretched and pathetic lives and sport offers then the opportunity to feel as though they are a part of a teams victories and successes. There may be some truth to the idea that many proles are seeking some kind of vicarious experience when they watch their teams play their favourite sports but the thing is that there is a lot more to sport than wins and loses. Pro sport offers a lot more to prole losers than a chance for them to pretend that they are winners once in a while. ( But even if vicarious pleasure is the sole attraction for the prole is there really any need for elitists to be so wretched and nasty about it? isnt it the proles that should be wretched? )

The Australian basketball landscape is an interesting thing in itself. My team the Sydney Kings are somewhat of a glamour club since they have the biggest market in Sydney but the thing is that basketball isnt very popular at all in Sydney so even though Sydney is the biggest potential basketball market it is Melbourne that has the biggest basketball market in reality. Basketball is very popular in Melbourne and I consider it to be the basketball capital of Australia. As a teenager there was always at least two or three teams in Melbourne and the city has great basketball infrastructure and a great state league.

Some may argue that Perth is the basketball capital of Australia because the Perth Wildcats are the most successful NBL franchise and the team does get great support but Perth could not support two or three teams and the basketball infrastructure is not what it is in Melbourne.

Some others may argue that it is Adelaide that is the basketball capital of Australia but despite the fact that Adelaide ran two teams in the first few NBL seasons the city is too small support two teams. The Adelaide 36ers crowds are often referred to by NBL commentators as "the most knowledgeable crowd in Australian basketball" which is something that I think Steve Carfino came up with as a commentator and used to repeat over and over while covering 36ers games and it has become somewhat of a cliche. If it sounds like an odd thing to say it is because the major sports in Australia have traditionally been cricket in summer and in winter it was Rugby League footy for NSW and QLD, and AFL footy for VIC, SA, WA and TAS ( territorians dont play sport apparently but if they did they would play AFL ) so early in the NBL a lot of crowds did not have a great understanding of the rules, especially in places like Sydney, so their reactions to the game were a bit like unskilled laughter coming from fifth row if you know what I am saying but the crowds in Adelaide clearly had a good understanding of the game of basketball from the start, and they would use it to work the refs. ( The Perth and Melbourne basketball communities would probably argue that they are every bit as knowledgeable as the Adelaide basketball community is.

I think the best way to explain the Australian basketball landscape is compare it to the US basketball landscape. I consider New York to be the basketball capital of USA and Australia's equivalent is Melbourne. Indiana/North Carolina are the basketball heartland and the Australian equivalent is Adelaide. LA run two teams and I guess you could argue that it is LA and not New York that is basketball capital of USA but the Clippers suck and a Lakers fan is more likely to be a scenester than a fan of basketball. Plus Rucker Park is in Harlem New York right? New York is the basketball capital of USA. The Australian city that is most similar to LA in our basketball landscape is Sydney. Perth is kind of like a Chicago.

So it is Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney that are the major basketball markets in Australia but basketball also has great support in some regional and minor Australian cities.

Brisbane used to be a major basketball market but they folded a while ago before the Bullets returned to the league with a new stadium this year. QLD also has a team in the Cairns Taipans and they have great support for such a small city. QLD also used to have the Townsville Crocodiles and there have been some teams on the Gold Coast. So the state of Queensland is a great basketball state with great support in minor cities.

In NSW we used to have the Newcastle Falcons and later the Hunter Pirates but in modern times Newcastle has been an unsuccessful basketball market. One minor NSW city that has always been a great basketball market is Wollongong/Illawarra. Newcastle and Wollongong are both minor, traditionally working class cities on either side of Sydney and in my opinion Wollongong is the mightiest of basketball markets in the country. Wollongong came into the league when it started in 1979 and have been going strong throughout the leagues history. Behind the Sydney Kings the Illawarra Hawks are probably me favourite team. For a while we had two teams in Sydney when the West Sydney Razorbacks were around from 1998-2008 but the Kings won the battle for Sydney and I do not see a second team in Sydney happening again any time soon even though the Razorbacks did have a good run and had some great teams for a while. Right now it is just the Kings and the Hawks in NSW.

The NBL also has a New Zealand team - the Breakers - that came into the league in 2003. I guess New Zealand is kind of like Australias version of Toronto. I like that the NBL expanded into New Zealand and I like to see the Breakers do well. There is talk of a second New Zealand team entering the league in coming years and I hope it happens.

The NBL has had other teams in places like Hobart and even Singapore but like I said the major basketball cities in Australia are Melbourne ( VIC ), Perth ( WA ) and Adelaide ( SA ). And Sydney ( NSW ) due to the fact that Sydney is the largest Australian city and the fact that the NBL really does need a team in Sydney for the national basketball comp to be a success.

What the NBL is focused on for the future is expansion into China. The NBL is one of the best pro basketball leagues in the world and Australia is a basketball superpower the best way to improve the league is to expand into the huge Chinese basketball market.

So anyway, now that you have some understanding of the Australian basketball landscape you know that my team the Sydney Kings are basically underdogs in the Australian basketball world because Sydney is not a great basketball market and because Sydney does not have the basketball histories that places like Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide have. Sydney had a glorious era under coach Brian Goorjian from 2002-2008 but apart from that the franchise has been mediocre at best. Being a loyal fan of the Sydney Kings has given me a lot more misery than triumph but it probably makes the 2002-2003/2003-2004/2005-2006 championship threepeat all the more glorious. (: God bless Brian Goorjian.

Before coach Brian Goorjian came to Sydney in 2002 he always coached Melbourne teams. In Melbourne we had the Melbourne Tigers and their star player was all-time Australian basketball great Andrew Gaze and their cross-town rivals would always be coached by Goorjian. As a Sydney fan I always feared the Melbourne teams the most but especially the Goorjian teams. Goorjians South-East Melbourne Magic were killers and it was Goorjian that made them play that way. I used to fear Goorjian and his Magic more than the great Andrew Gaze and the Tigers. So I used to hate Goorjian. He would bring his team to Sydney and utterly destroy the Kings. So when I heard that Goorjian was coming to Sydney to coach the Kings I was happy about it because the fear/hate that I had for him was actually respect.

So now that there is just the one Melbourne team in Melbourne United I still hate them. The most important thing for me as a Kings fan is that the Kings beat Melbourne. What I want is for Sydney to get respect as a basketball city and the way to earn that is to go through Melbourne in my opinion. I want Sydney to defeat Melbourne in each game they play and I want Sydney to finish each NBL season on the top of the NBL ladder each season. When the Kings defeated the Perth Wildcats in Perth to claim their first ever NBL title I would have been thinking - 'YES! Suck on that Melbourne!'

So the NBL season was really close this year and the eight teams were all so close on the NBL ladder that the final four was not decided until the last game was played today between the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United. If Melbourne has won they would have prevented the Wildcats from making the playoffs which is very rare and I would have liked that because behind Melbourne the NBL team I hate the most is Perth. So if Melbourne won this last game of the season the New Zealand Breakers would have finished the season in fourth spot on the ladder and secured their spot in the NBL playoffs. Melbourne themselves were still in the run for the playoffs until the second last round of the NBL season when they lost to the Breakers in New Zealand so they had to come back to Melbourne in front of their Melbourne fans and play a game that winning meant nothing for them and with nothing to play for but pride and a chance to give a playoff birth to the team that has eliminated them from playoff contention in their previous game. So as much as I would have liked to see Perth miss the playoffs what I really wanted was for Melbourne to lose their last game of the season on their home court in front of their fans that are already disappointed due to Melbourne missing the playoffs. And if Melbourne lost to Perth in this game they would finish the season tied with the Kings on 13-15 instead of them finishing above the Kings at 14-14 but still missing playoffs. So when Melbourne lost today by two points I was really happy about it.

In a way part of me is glad that the Kings have missed the playoffs especially with Melbourne missing them too and finishing the season tied with the Kings on the ladder because now I can enjoy the NBL playoffs without the stress of worrying if my team will win or lose. And I dont have to worry about Melbourne winning either.

I have watched pretty much every NBL game this year and like I said it has been a really enjoyable season to watch this year with all the teams being so close. One really cool thing about the NBL final four this year is that three of the teams - Cairns Taipans, Illawarra Hawks and the Adelaide 36ers do not have big budgets and their teams are full of hard working role players for the most part. The big budget teams this year of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane all finished at the bottom of the ladder and missed the playoffs. I watched the Illawarra Hawks' last game of the season on the weekend and the Hawks owner was interviewed at halftime and it was really cool to hear him say that he doesnt think it is franchise players that make a team but teamwork and the team that make a great team - and for him to credit coach Rob Beveridge with promoting the great culture that the Hawks team have.

I like the Hawks but I think I will be supporting the Cairns Taipans for the NBL Championship because their captain is Mark Worthington who is a former Sydney Kings player that was rookie of the year in the 2005-2006 season when the Sydney Kings won their third championship. Wortho is one of my favourite NBL players and he is retiring at the end of the year so I would like to see him go out a winner. I also like the rest of the Cairns team, The taipans have this import at PG called Travis Trice that led Michigan State to the Final Four in 2015 and he is a really exciting player. And like Illawarra and Adelaide the team is deep with hard working role players that are either veterans or young guys and they are all confident and want to take big shots and want to win. Cairns also have Nathan 'Outback Shaq' Jawai. Cairns have been Grand Finalists twice but have never won an NBL championship so I think it would be cool if the team can reward their great fans and win the whole thing this year.

So as you can see it really isnt a pathetic wretchedness that explains my love of basketball, I actually do like basketball and the NBL. I love it. I dont have to be watching my favourite team the Sydney Kings to enjoy a game of basketball and Sydney does not have to win for me to be interested. Part of me really enjoyed watching the Sydney Kings lose their last two games and crash out of playoff contention. I especially enjoyed their last game against the Perth Wildcats in Perth. One part of the game was a good example of why I like basketball - it was toward the end of the third quarter and Sydney Kings import Greg Whittington first stepped out of bounds for a turnover and instead of accepting the call and handing the ball to the refs he shoots a three pointer to waste time so the refs gave him a tech foul for delay of game. The NBL refs dont let players delay the game like that so even as a Kings fan I have no problem with the tech being called. Players often delay games by doing things like what Whittington did and I dont like it even when its a guy on the team I support that is doing it. So Whittington is all annoyed over his stupid turnover and then that fact that he made it worse by getting a tech foul for delay of game. So the very next play he grabs a defensive rebound but somehow travels when he lands and this is yet another turnover, so a now very frustrated Whittington bounces the ball very hard on the court as if he is very cranky so the refs give him another tech and he is ejected from the game because two techs means you are ejected. So in the space of about one minute Whittington has turned the ball over twice and gotten two tech fouls and been ejected from the game. So this is all in Perth mind you and the huge and ever deafening Perth crowd is really giving it to Whittington. So Whittington comes off the court and he really doesnt get a lot of love from the Sydney bench since he has just messed up so royally, so he is sitting there like the words biggest jackass and for a split second he gets that  'Im gonna cry' face. He is really upset and at this point an official comes along and informs him that when a player gets ejected from the game he cannot sit on the bench he must go to the back/dressing rooms. So then Whittington has to get up and walk the length of the court like the worlds biggest jackass, and past the Perth bench ( and even guys on the Perth bench are feeling bad for him at this point, and a couple pat him on the butt as he walks by as if to say 'there there Greggy'. So he keeps walking to the tunnel and this whole time he has been walking the Perth crowd are jeering and singing Nah Nah Nah/Hit the Road Jack - and he finally reaches the tunnel and raises hands up to give an awkward two handed wave to the Perth crowd as he exited the NBL with his shoulders at his knees. Now that is drama. And that is real. This guy came here hoping to use the NBL contract as a stepping stone to further his young basketball career and having the season end like that for him isnt going to help his career at all. That may be the last we see of Greg Whittington in Australia because even though he was a decent import he certainly was not outstanding so the kings may not want him back if he cant find a better offer during the NBL season next year. He may be managing a sports store next year instead of playing pro-basketball after that experience in Perth. People can waffle on about the arts all they like but the drama of an NBL game is real. The emotions of an NBL game are real. greg Whittington is not some actor like Meryl Streep trying to recreate an emotion or create some drama - Greg Whittington is a real man and what happened in Perth really happened. Give me that over some idiotic Hollywood movie any day.

So elitists are wrong that proles only watch sport because they are pathetic wretched losers looking for a chance to pretend they are winners. There is a lot more too it than that. And why do elitists watch plays anyway? Are they seeking some vicarious experience too? Why is it only the proles that must have their motivation for seeking the entertainment they enjoy called into question in such an insulting way as the elitists do by suggesting that the only reason proles like pro-sport is so they can pretend to be winners.

And with this 'the arts' nonsense - right back to the ancients war has been considered to be an art and sport has a very strong link to military training. A lot of the earliest sports were forms of military training and a lot of the time sport has been presented as an alternative to military conflict. just look at the Tournaments. Try telling a Greek Stratego or Sun Tsu that war is not an art. Sport is an extension of war and in my opinion it is as much an 'art' as any of the 'arts'.

In many ways a pro sports teams season is very much like a military campaign in an ancient fighting season and this is always a dramatic story in itself. There are always key moments that will define a season. This year the key moment that defined the Kings season was a mid season game in Adelaide against the 36ers. The Kings led the league early in the season but then stumbled in a few games and started to look a bit shaky. So going into this game against the 36ers the kings are in second place on the ladder and the 36ers are in first. With a victory the kings go back to first position and steady the ship. So it is a very close game but towards the end of the fourth quarter Adelaide start to pull away before the Kings fight their way back in it against the odds. The 36ers hot a dagger with under 30 seconds remaining and the Kings call time out to set up a play to try to win it. Sydney kings captain Kevin Lisch comes out of the timeout and hits this really clutch three point shot to give the Kings the lead with seconds remaining and it looks like Adelaide is done but they have one more shot after a time out. They come out of the time out and miss the shot and Kings import, former NBA player Josh Powel grabs the rebound and all he has to do is hold the ball and let the clock run out but instead for some unknown reason he throws this crazy length of the court outlet lass to Brad Newley who is downcourt but the pass is way to strong and a shocked Newley cant real it in and it goes over the baseline at the other end of the court. So this gives the 36ers another chance at a game winner and of course they hit it. What Josh Powell did when he throw that crazy pass was destroy the Sydney kings season. If the Kings win that game they cement themselves as the best team in the league - and they actually did win that game and it was a hard fought win but after all that effort and some luck going their way Josh Powell throws it all away. It was just a devastating play for the Kings season and they never recovered. Josh Powell. What a jackass. But like with the Whittington drama in Perth these things are real and all the so-called 'arts' can hope to do is imitate real life, real experiences, real emotions and real drama.

So what is your favourite Meryl Streep movie anyway? I like Kramer vs Kramer but I did not like the selfish character that she played. I think my favourite Meryl Streep movie is Adaptation. Wow them in the end and you have got a hit right?

Wow em at the end and youve got a hit. Maybe Meryl Streeps humour does not need to be explained to the proles for her and the rest of the elitists to be doomed. The proles dont really have to understand so much as just pointed in the right direction right, and that would be at the elitists like Meryl and not at each other. What the masses on both sides hate the most are the so-called 'elites' right? How many of us would weep for Meryl Streep? really? I mean who the hell are these people that attend the Golden Globes and the New York Gala Dinner anyway?

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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