Until recently, the only thing the French had on us was their seeming inability to accept obesity. This was a good thing. Not only has America become fat, we’ve also decided to accept it. Don’t take this the wrong way. I still fully support American attempts to inject bacon or bacon flavoring into any and every thing. However, that doesn’t mean you need to sit around all day and let the grease coagulate in your veins.
This difference exists in part at a cultural level. For instance, American sports tend to celebrate obesity, whether it be literal or clinical. Although I love the guy and wish he could have been on the Tigers at some point, David Wells didn’t exactly seem like someone who ever matched up the idea of “baseball” with that of “conditioning.” And although it’s easy to see the extra weight a 300-pound lineman is carrying, even running backs and linebackers tend to be obese by clinical definitions.
In contrast, think of the typically French sports or sports where they have done well. Soccer, rugby, sex. These ideas may be completely foreign to us but the one thing they all have in common is lots of cardio. Even the more sedentary French sports, like boules and drinking wine, tend to have unforeseen positive health impacts.
So why is it that even the French are now celebrating being overweight? Ok, maybe she isn’t fat but I like my models the same way I like my crepes: thin and slathered in Nutella. If we can’t count on the French to enforce these standards, where else can we go?
I think more than anything I’m just afraid that the French will become so much like us that we’ll no longer be able to make fun of them. That is not a world I want to live in. Who would we turn to for our jokes? Canadians? They’re too nice. No, I want a world that makes sense, a world where the French inspire simultaneous hatred and jealousy. Take note, France. This plus-size model thing? It simply will not do.
Goals keep you focused. For instance, Jamie Moyer didn’t just walk out on day one of his MLB career and say, “Hey, I want to give up at least 500 home runs over the next couple decades.” No, he set manageable goals like, “Today I’m going to give up two homers and in my next start, only one.” That’s how records get broken.
Sometimes goals give you purpose. Like when Bill Clinton gets a little contemplative and starts talking about what keeps him going. Sure, he may have been President of the United States, the greatest country in the history of the world, but he’s also just a regular guy who wants to climb Mount Kilimanjaro before he dies. And see his grandchildren. Oh, and run a marathon.
Now, I’m a big fan of Clinton. But the guy is starting to look old. If you noticed him tottering around at the World Cup, he looked like an old man wearing a young man’s clothes. I hope he makes it to Kilimanjaro and I certainly hope he gets to see his grandchildren. But, it might also be time to realize that those two things could be mutually exclusive.
More than that, I worry about Bill for another reason. He said The Bucket List was one of his favorite movies. Ok, that’s cute and all but really? You’re a Rhodes Scholar and a past his prime Jack Nicholson running around diving out of airplanes is what does it for you?
At the same time, if I can still run around at 63 like Clinton does, I’ll feel pretty good. I mean, even if he doesn’t look quite as vibrant, the guy still knows where to be and how to do it. Who knows, maybe the way he does it is by having goals. Hey, it worked for Jamie Moyer.
And so in this Podcast…
Jeff, Al & that rock-n-rollin-Cub-lovin’ sage Johanna Mahmud take on all things ‘Merica, including (but not limited to) Rinku and Dinesh, Carlos Zambrano, The Hills (seriously? that happened?), the All-Star Game, the Lou
Piniella Mailbag and much,
much more… all to make you laughy-laughy!
to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*
via iTunes by clicking *HERE*
thanks to Keith Carmack — our engineer, director, editor and
all-around sound guru. His Undercast
podcast is a must-listen (listen to it!). It’s available on iTunes and
is posted regularly at Undercard
Recorded Monday, July 5, 2010
You know this, dear readers. Heck, you probably love you some too.
And yesterday, on our hallowed Fourth of July holiday, I had a grandtastical time with friends, family, and beer. I BBQ-hopped all over the Chi; kissed babies’ sunburnt foreheads; ate me some apple pie. At the end of the day I was so drunk with red, white and blue cheer that I couldn’t help but point my finger at strangers and say “I want YOU!”
And along the way, I learned what ‘Merica really is.
Duh. We all know this. I attended BBQs in costume, as a walking representation of our nation’s capital. I wore this red novelty tee (the sleeves I ripped off, ‘cuz ‘Merica don’t need no dang sleeves) with the Washington Nationals cap I picked up during Strasmas a couple of weeks ago.
This outwardly provocative get-up netted me lots of friends. Strangers approached me with “Hey, Strasburg, man!” and “Gotta love Strasburg, dude.” The ladies were impressed with me being big in Europe and one of them even made a joke about the possibility of Stephen Strasburg being big in Europe, to which I replied, “Strasburg… he’s good and all, but, y’know he ain’t no Jeff Lung.”
Being Anything You Wanna Be… For Five Hours
And of course… ‘Merica… it’s…
Having a Dream, Living that Dream, Then Saying F the World
Hate me ‘cuz it’s trendy, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Jeff and I both hail from the more right-brained side of the political spectrum (that’s the left for those of you who failed HS biology) and, as a result, we get accused of things that aren’t true. The truth is we’re not so surprisingly open-minded. For instance, although I don’t think that Reagan was god’s gift to America, I do think he was the right man for the time. And more than that, I believe Nixon is one of our most underrated presidents.
But the thing that gets me the most is when people accuse me of not loving my country because I’m not an apologist. Anyone who says that what we do is right just because we do it is a moron. As a country, we do a lot of wrong many times despite having the best of intentions. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, Roosevelt threw a bunch of Japanese-Americans into internment camps and they both thought that what they did was right because there was a war going on.
When it comes to war, the water always becomes extra murky. If I don’t support a war, I’m told that I hate America or, even worse, that I hate “the troops.” Wait a minute, I’m the one who hates the troops because I don’t want them dying in some god-forsaken desert for a war they have no idea why they’re fighting?
Here’s the deal. Both Jeff and I have friends and family who served in the past and who are currently serving and we couldn’t be more proud of them. We may not always agree with them on everything but that doesn’t mean we support them any less. In fact, just to show you how much we’re behind them, we’re dedicating this video of our troops hard at work to all of our military readers:
Seriously guys? We’re not asking for much, just a little help here.
Happy Saturday! And stay safe.
If you were kidnapped and held at gunpoint and the kidnapper said, “You must root for the Yankees or we’ll keep you in this cave forever without food or water or women,” what would you do?
Confessions of a She-Fan
Santa Barbara, CA
Interesting question, Jane. On an existential level, of course I’d rather die quickly in said cave. I detest the Yankees and everything they stand for and to cheer for them would be a repudiation of myself. However, on a pragmatic level, if simply rooting for the Yankees were to allow me to continue living, I’d probably do it. If you’re willing to die for an ideal, it had better be a pretty amazing ideal.
I understand fanaticism. But, there is a reason we call a team’s supporters “fans” instead of “fanatics.” Fanatic has a negative connotation to it. A fanatic is a guy who records Erin Andrews as she’s undressing in the privacy of her hotel room. A fanatic is willing to blow his or herself up for the glory of god, brahma, allah, yaweh or whoever else. A fan, while often just as insane in the sporting arena, usually tries to find a way to moderate those demons in other areas of their life.
And for me, although it would really suck to ever turn my back on the Tigers, if someone had a gun to my head and said “either you cheer for the Yankees or you’re a dead man,” living means more to me than fandom. In this case, it’s pretty clear which of us is the fan and which the fanatic.
Here’s the thing, I know Jeff is going to call me out on saying all of this but when it comes down to it, it’s the same for him. If his choices are rooting for the Cubs and being able to live or refusing and dying for that ideal, he’s going to say the same thing. Maybe not in this forum but in the real life situation, that’s the choice he would make. Because he hates the Cubs but he loves living more.
Ultimately, the difference between a fan and a fanatic is that a fan can still make rational decisions. Giving up rationality and being willing to sacrifice one’s life for the sake of one’s fandom is not noble. It’s stupid.
There are ideals worth dying for. That’s the reason that we have such strong and committed Armed Forces and why Parick Henry could unironically exclaim “Give me liberty or give me death.” Baseball, though? It’s a wonderful game but at the end of the day it’s just that. A game.