Hey, Ma! Earl's talking to himself again!

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Hey, Ma! Earl's talking to himself again!

Post by Earl on Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:08 pm

Well, at least I’ve got your attention.  The title “Earl’s Observations and Reflections” just doesn’t sound like much of an attention grabber.

I do realize I’m not “talking” to myself.  At least not quite.  The number of views of each of my topics listed in the index indicates that even though no one is currently posting any replies, a small handful of people are reading my posts.

So, now I’m starting a new topic that should include a large number of posts (relatively speaking) submitted by yours truly.  There is an advantage to posting in a dead forum; and that is, I will be able to continue the thread of my posts without being distracted by someone who wants to change the topic.  But if someone does come along and wants to make a contribution, that would be great.

Yes, my dear 4channers, I’m going to post one “mini-essay” after another.  That's simply just my style.

I’d like to make some observations about Internet forums for “sports haters” and sport as a social institution.  Specifically, certain aspects of the culture of school sports, if nothing elsesome

First of all, I must say I’m quite dissatisfied with online “arguments” in “anti-sports” forums.  They’re always run something like this:

“I hate sports!”
“I hate nerds!”
“You’re a moron!”
“You’re a loser!”

This is nothing but two strangers insulting each other.  Usually, neither one knows anything about the other.  Sometimes even age can be a significant factor.  

It doesn’t occur to either one of them that they might have something in common.  Nothing is gained.  Yes, the reader will be entertained if the replies are clever.  Even clever insults can be amusing.  But usually the replies aren't clever; they're just boring.  

Exchanges of this sort certainly don’t result in any understanding.

Of course, I’m speaking of those who actually have strong convictions one way or the other as opposed to trolls who simply want to stir up a fuss for their own amusement.

I now conclude my first post because I have matters to attend to in real life.  When I have returned, I will begin to trace the events and experiences in my life that have influenced my view of the role of sports in the schools and the popular culture.

_________________
"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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Re: Hey, Ma! Earl's talking to himself again!

Post by Earl on Sat Oct 31, 2015 2:46 am

Before I continue, let me say that I have never denigrated any guy for participating in a sport; and I have never attempted to detract from anyone’s enjoyment of a sport as a spectator or participant.  We all have own preferences.  To each his own.  The problems arise when sports fans impose their preferences upon others who have no interest in them.

I have never had an interest in sports games.  Indeed, my lack of interest in games has even extended to board games and card games.

By telling you about my past, I hope to encourage you to speak of your own.  At least I will explain why some boys don’t like sports with the intent of promoting understanding.

I have wondered why I never had an interest in sports when I was a boy.  My father was only a casual sports fan who never tried to force me to participate in a sport.  I now believe that I came to associate bullying with school sports at a very young age.

When I was in kindergarten, my family lived in a small college town out in the middle of nowhere.  The local culture was actually less cosmopolitan and more rural.  You might say redneck.  There was a boy who lived down the street who was a bit of a sociopath.  He once attacked me without warning and without provocation by hitting me on the head with a lead pipe.  I’m surprised he didn’t knock me out.  The blow did leave a tiny permanent scar on my scalp; but, fortunately, my hair hides it from view.

I don’t remember whether the following incident occurred before or after the lead pipe incident.  Anyway, one day we were playing outside somewhere when he exclaimed with a nyeh nyeh nyeh tone in his voice, “I can run faster than you!”  I felt ashamed of myself; but at the back of my mind, I was thinking Why does it matter?  Yes, why does it matter?  Possibly this was the point when I began to have an “anti-sports” attitude.  This attitude would be reinforced in coming years.

When I was still in my preteens, I had several rather unpleasant incidents that were of a traumatic nature.  The reason why I say they were traumatic is because my mind apparently erased the memories of them.

Several years ago my wife and our two daughters were visiting my sister out of state.  I was not with them at the time.  My sister, who is seven years older, started telling them about severe bullying I had experienced in my preteens.  She tearfully told them I once was physically assaulted by a gang of boys, each of whom were bigger than I was.  I was only 5 years old at the time, and I was small for my age.  On another occasion I was pushed out of a school bus window.

My wife later told me what she had heard my sister say.  I was intrigued because I had no memory of these violent incidents.  I remembered the lead pipe incident and the nyeh nyeh nyeh incident, but I hadn’t remembered the incidents that my sister related to my wife and daughters.  Apparently, the attacks were traumatic enough for my mind to erase their memories so I wouldn’t remember them.

This was quite a revelation to me because in the years that followed, I would feel uneasy whenever I was around a guy who was bigger and stronger than I was.  I thought it was irrational at that time, but I couldn’t figure out the reason.  The son of one of my father’s business partners had a husky build.  He would eventually play football at my high school.  He was a nice, friendly guy; but I still felt uneasy around him for no apparent reason.  Today I know why.

More later . . .  

_________________
"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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Re: Hey, Ma! Earl's talking to himself again!

Post by Earl on Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:32 am

And now for my boyhood mandatory P.E. experience.

First, I will say how long it lasted for me.  Then I will describe what happened in the classes.

When I began my 4th-grade year of schooling in the fall of 1960, the unsupervised recess period was replaced by a sort of mandatory boys' P.E. without the gym.  In junior high school I would take a full year of phys ed in my 6th-grade year and half a year in the fall semester of my 8th-grade year.  

(At the end of my 6th-grade year, my records were sent to a junior high school that would open up in the fall.  During that summer we moved closer to the old junior high and farther away from the newly built school.  So, when I went back to the old school on the first day of my 7th-grade year, I did not have a class schedule.  The principal said I could work in the school office instead of taking phys ed.  Of course, I jumped at the chance.  Perhaps the principal knew that mandatory P.E. was bad news for boys who were shy and nonathletic as I was.  But I still felt embarrassed when I had to deliver a message to a classroom in the middle of the period.   Embarassed  Wink  I was relieved when there were no messages to be delivered.  Smile  Apparently without the principal’s knowledge, I ended up having to take half a year of phys ed in the fall of my 8th-grade year.   But when he found out that I been taking phys ed, he gave me the choice to work in his office again for the rest of the school year.  A merciful man, he was.)  

In high school, band exempted me from having to take mandatory P.E.  Frankly, I wasn't exactly enthused about being in the band; and when I was promoted to the marching band, I would have to march in the half-time shows during football season.  But even that was far better than taking mandatory boys' P.E., which I heard was hellish for nonathletic boys.  I might have dropped out of school if I had been forced to take it.  

To borrow an old saying:  “There is no education in physical eduction.”  How true that was when I took it!  There was no instruction at all in the holy trinity of football, basketball, and baseball.  We were never taught the rules of those games.  We were not instructed in how to toss a football, how to shoot a basketball, or how to throw a baseball.  These are physical skills that must be taught and developed through practice.  All I learned in P.E. was to fear coaches and athlete classmates.

Speaking of coaches, there also was a prejudice problem.  All of my P.E. coaches viewed nonathletic boys with either complete indifference or outright contempt.  (More about that in another post.)  They only cared about the athletic boys.

We’ve all heard of Remedial English and Remedial Math.  Ever hear of Remedial P.E.?  Of course, not.  

During my 4th-grade and 5th-grade years, all of the boys were required to take fitness tests – how many push-ups and chin-ups could we do, how fast could we run, how far could we jump, etc.  Several boys, including myself, were already falling behind the rest; yet none of us were put on an exercise program for the purpose of helping us to catch up.  The fact of the matter was that I didn’t even know what an exercise program was because they were never presented to us in any of our phys ed classes!  I didn’t so much as hear the words “exercise program” from the mouth of any of my P.E. coaches.

In fact, I never got any exercise!  The most we would ever do was a few calisthenics at the beginning of class to warm up – certainly not enough exercise to make us sweat.  For about seven years, I’ve been working with a personal trainer on a bodybuilding program.  I sweat like a hog when I work out.  As I’ve said many times, I get more exercise in a single workout session with my personal trainer than I did in the three and a half years that I took mandatory P.E.  

On the very first day of P.E. in the 4th grade, I was physically weak and undeveloped.  On the last day of P.E. in the 8th grade, I was still physically weak and developed.  In other words, no muscular development, no nothing.  The boneheaded policymakers had claimed they were concerned about the physical fitness needs of all students.  They were lying through their teeth.  Their real goal was to promote sports.  They only cared about the athletic boys.      

_________________
"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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Re: Hey, Ma! Earl's talking to himself again!

Post by Earl on Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:17 am

Sorry I didn't post yesterday.  I've been quite busy today, too.  But I will continue this topic Tuesday or Wednesday when time permits.

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"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.  You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!" -- Dale Hansen, Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA
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