Sports & Entertainment

Sports & Entertainment

Political correctness and our national anthem

In his recent missive, titled “Time to Turn Off the National Anthem Before Sports Events,” Kevin Blackistone argues that the singing of the national anthem at all sporting events has outlived its purpose. He submits that very few Americans even know the song, and suggests that still fewer can recall why the words were written in the first place. There’s nothing about playing tee-ball that should stir memories of a lopsided British attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

“Sports,” Blackistone writes, “have and continue to ritualize [the anthem] with barely a shred of relevance.”


Institute for Education fellows opine on 2010

In the words of IFE Fellows, here is what 2010 was all about:

Dog killer or MVP? Michael Vick, in his second season back after serving 23 months in jail for dogfighting, lit up the NFL with his MVP-type performances. Vick's comeback is fascinating because it makes sports fans ask questions that make them very uncomfortable. Can I root for a dog killer? What is more important to me: my love for my team or my love for dogs? Does jail really rehabilitate a person, and since he paid his debt to society, should I forgive Vick?



OMG! news reports that James Franco and Anne Hathaway will host “Hollywood’s biggest night,” the Oscars. Omg! He played the sidekick in “Spiderman,” I think, and she was in that movie that gave away the ending to “Lost.” Suggests we are in a between; a time waiting as Israel waits for David, as Markos Moulitsas and crew from the Daily Kos wait for the Clinton-era people to go away — the time described by the Wu Priesthood as “wu chi”; undifferentiated karma between worlds; imagine there’s no heaven, no country, no religion too. Imagine there’s no Oprah. Imagine Dr. House finally gets a girlfriend. Imagine the new generation finally arising, but for big-screen Hollywood, there won’t be one.


India and Pakistan team up on the tennis court

The moment has finally arrived! An Indian, Rohan Bopanna, and a Pakistani, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, have made it to the finals of the U.S. Tennis Open, a Grand Slam event. Hats off to the Indo-Pak Express! The U.S. Open is tennis’s largest event, garnering far and away the most media coverage.

Now it’s spotlighting two world-class athletes and, more importantly, their partnership. What they’re doing takes guts. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent in 1947, and remain bitter rivals. For Rohan and Aisam, these facts are history, and should be treated as such.


End of things/new beginnings

It does something to see your life pass in pictures, as I did watching a PBS fundraiser of the early Newport Folk Festival. The young Joan Baez was on stage asking the audience, “Is Bobby here?” And Bob Dylan was there and he jumped up on the stage with her. I was there too, sitting somewhere in the audience. Now his voice pops up on “Mad Men,” ominously foreshadowing “something coming” in 1962. And it was coming. Now it’s leaving.


A World Cup win for South Africa

Sports has a unique way of bringing out the best in humans. Beyond the sheer sense of competition, merit and sportsmanship, major events on the world stage seem to bring nations together in some ritualistic bond of community. A common language is shared, no matter the winner. The 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament was no different.


LeBron James: The bum who would sell you the $150 shoe

As a born and bred New Yorker, I had hoped that LeBron James would sign with the Knicks. As a citizen and human being I had hoped he would re-sign with Cleveland. But above all, to me LeBron James, in the end, is just another bum looking out for himself, full of vanity and ego oozing from every pore of his body.

LeBron James is like the worst of the worst on Wall Street: The public be damned.


World Cup

Like Big Wheels, I missed the soccer generation.

Let me explain. My younger brother was the first in my family to get a Big Wheel, because they came out just at the right time for his height and weight. I was too big to ever ride a Big Wheel.

And by the time soccer came to my high school, I was already set on football, baseball and especially basketball. I didn’t have time on my hands to get into soccer, because I was too busy doing the other stuff.


Tiger's new weakness

Golf's second major championship of the year, the U.S. Open, begins this week at storied Pebble Beach Golf Links. The venue is one of golf's favorites. The greens are lightning-fast, the rough is deep and juicy, and there are few finishing holes that compare to Pebble's No. 18. You don't attack Pebble; you defend against high scores. In short, you manage your game much like an accountant would manage your 401(k) portfolio. That is, every pro except Tiger Woods.


Nobody’s perfect

Maybe Jim Joyce should run for president.

This is the only guy out there who admits he is not perfect. And that refreshing bit of honesty has inspired America.

Joyce is the umpire who blew the call in Detroit the other day, and his blown call ruined a perfect game pitched by Armando Galarraga on the last out of the game.

Joyce put it this way. “I just missed the damn call ... This isn’t a call. This is a history call. And I kicked the s--t out of it. I take pride in this job, and I took a perfect game away from that kid over there who worked his a-- off all night.”