Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Fit to Be Tied

I made the awful mistake of being in the car at the same time that Frank Deford's Morning Edition column came on today. I hate when that happens, as you might recall. This time Deford opted to go on the attack about ties in sports, somewhat jokingly, yes, but not so much that he didn't mean it. It turns out that when hockey returns (you didn't even know it had gone away?), it will eliminate ties, and if after one overtime a team doesn't win, there will be a shootout. That Deford fails to point out how the shootout option generally doesn't get high marks from World Cup soccer fans isn't surprising, as he's up to his usual mad mix of patriotism and religious fervor to make sport something more than it already is (and I like sports, just hate hype even more). For the dumping of the tie is something, he says, "All right-thinking Americans can applaud."

Which perhaps leaves room for "left-thinking Americans," ever interested in nuance, to see the value in situations that aren't clear-cut wins or losses.

Of course he can't avoid dragging out a cliche, since he's a sportswriter. But he points out it's a cliche, since he likes to think he's a smart sportswriter, and so says:

Our feelings are summed up in that gnarly old expression that has been attributed to most good Americans from Ben Franklin on down...'a tie is like kissing your sister.'

The "gnarly" phrase--would that he could have chopped it out--he says in what must be a rich Connecticut suburbanite's closest approximation to a prole's accent. He then repeats the phrase, the bad accent no better thanks to practice, and goes on to claim:

If there's one thing the red states and the blue states can agree on it's that.

Gee, and I thought the thing red- or blue-staters could agree on is that Karl Rove should resign (49% to 31% if you're counting and don't follow links). After all, if USA Today does a poll, it must be true. Let's also not automatically suppose that the 1 in 4 polled who don't know who Karl Rove is were all Bush voters in 2004.

As for kissing your sister being all bad, you'd have to ask Jamie Haven about that. Not to mention if we're talking Southern red states, we all know the "gnarly" old joke about what the definition of a virgin is in Mississippi.

Meanwhile up in Connecticut Mr. Deford can sleep safely "now that hockey has gotten religion," knowing that ties won't muddle right, truth or the American Way. Or any place his lips might end up.
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