The other kind of "football"

Here's a little piece that inverts the gun-sights, as it were: a bona-fide European talking about what Americans generally call "football."

Gridiron war games rule

Right off the bat I'll disagree with the author's contention that American football is "the most intellectual of all team sports." First, intellectual for whom? Certainly not for the grunts running around the field in Kevlar body armor. Certainly not for the coaches and managers basically selecting plays from a playbook. And as far as I can tell, not for the fans, who do a lot more yelling than appreciating in my experience. And second, if there's an intellectual sport played in America, both in the sense of having more intellectuals interested in it and in the sense that one needs to be somewhat of an intellectual to really appreciate it, it's baseball, followed by things like golf (and maybe tennis, if one wants to count David Foster Wallace's brilliant novel Infinite Jest as a highly intellectual novel about tennis, which I would, at least in part). Any moron can appreciate American football: take ball, move ball down field, tackle person with ball. But baseball -- that takes effort to appreciate. Chess at 90 miles per hour, as Roger Kahn calls it.

Thanks to Priya, one of my PhD students, for the link.

No comments: