Thursday, April 28

Gladiator Nation

America is turning into a "gladiator nation". I think the onset of this trend began when Michael Jordan declared "I am back". Or may be I am wrong. Maybe this is just a process brewing for much longer than I can even imagine and is just getting faster and faster, like the athletes and sports heroes we watch on TV, on courts all around the nation and on "Inside the ..." programs after hours. As if the current sport superstardom is not enough to quench the thirst for starry-eyed-admiration of these jocks, ESPN now has a history channel of sports. My favorite sports writer, Frank Deford tends to agree.

My take on this state of affairs is that this is the first sign of a society heading towards decadence. In the last years before the Roman civilization headed into the "dark ages" Gladiators were the superheroes of the nation. The masses were estranged with the politicos, Caesar was but a mere puppet. What does that tell us? Is it that we as a civilization always *need* somebody to look up to? We need super men (and women) to show us that there are bigger greater things that can be accomplished by the same body that envelopes each one of us? Why does it have to be sports? Why not humanitarian causes? Why not intellectual superiority? There are pieces missing in this puzzle. It's strange. But then again, these are strange days.

Getting back to sports, Tiger won again, finally re-establishing that an American is still a leader in Golf - not the funny sounding Vijay Singh from Fiji (although he looks and sounds Indian to me), not the any number of South African's flooding the Golf circuits, not the paunchy fluffy American white boy in Phil Mickelson, but yes Tiger - none other than the super man himself. Sports commentators, TV sports anchors, Golf TV and Golf Digest must be finally relieved that they can reinvest in their hero again. Sometimes I wonder, is it really national pride, or is it all money. What drives American sports fans more - the fact that the superheroes they admire are american or the fact that they are being sold this product by capitalist league commisioners. Go figure.

Oh yeah, and Go Tiger!


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