Monday, January 11, 2010

Won't you help?

The following appeared in Saturday's Boston Globe newspaper about the Celtics basketball team (the sportswriter was one Gary Washburn):
"For those who question gambling among teammates, you can do only so much sleeping, listening to music, watching movies, and eating while on long flights."
Can you think of anything these college-educated professional athletes could do to while away their time in the air when not playing cards and pulling guns on one another?

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

Labels:

42 Comments:

Blogger Margot Kinberg said...

The Kindle comes to my mind....

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It came to my mind, too. The device would let the Celtics catch up on their reading and, on a NBA player's salary, each could afford even the newest model.

January 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Washburn left out Twittering, flikr-ing, texting/sexting on their BlackBerries and other myriad social networking activities that require staring at tiny glowing screens.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Professional athletes are exempt from many rules of conduct that apply to ther est of us, but I'm not sure even they can transmit and receive while in the air.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger ccqdesigns said...

maybe actually EARN a college degree?

January 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Gosh, you're right! You can only use these devices on the tarmac. Since mine is turned off 90% of the time anyway I completely forgot... Maybe because the v-word for this reply is siest; I guess I need one.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

ccq, you jest.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, don't nod off just yet. I understand that technology has overcome some of the safety barriers to in-flight use of cell phones, for instance. I expect cell phones to pollute air-plane cabins just as they have just about every other cubic inch of public, semi-public and formerly private space in America.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Peter, I'd like to help these poor, I mean rich basketball players, but I think they may be post-literate. Perhaps they could just dribble down the aisle for awhile.

January 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Peter, dribbling basketballs down the aisle wouldn't be any more annoying than parents who parade their toddlers up and down the aisle for the "entertainment" of those of us in aisle seats.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, I so love to read and hear post-literate. It touches my heart to know I am not alone in my crotchetiness.

The sportswriter failed to list reading among the pastimes whose pleasures the players could exhaust before turning to gambling. This could be a subtle shot at the players post-literacy. Or it could mean that he, the sportswriter, is just as post-literate as the players.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Elisabeth, I think it's been some time since NBA players had to worry about toddlers, parents and other encumbrances of commercial flights. I take second place to no one in the number and range of things that annoy me, but I rather like seeing toddlers get the run of the aisle as long as they do so quietly. They provide signs of life and spontaneity that one is unlikely to find in crew members or adult passenders.

January 11, 2010  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

"Life and spontaneity that one is unlikely to find in crew members" -- have you ever flown Southwest Airlines? Southwest seems to be just about the only airline that didn't let 9/11 take those two qualities away from them.

January 11, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I have never flown Southwest. On the ground, however, I have seen its crews display entirely too much life and spontaneity.

January 11, 2010  
Anonymous John H said...

seana, I really enjoyed the post-literate comment. However I would like to point out that the vast majority of these guys are very hard working young men. In fact Korey Stringer spent his off time reading to elementary students in at risk classes. He wanted to show those kids that a big, black, tough guy loved books. Randle McDaniel was just elected to the football Hall of Fame and he works as a teacher's aid in one of our local elementary schools. Darrell Thompson runs a local non profit that mentors at risk teenagers. Shaq went back to college to finish his degree because he said he should practice what he preaches. I've often found it sad that the few bad eggs make most athletes look bad. I'm not much of a sports fan but just happen to know a bunch of these guys through charitable causes. They are just trying to make the world a little bit better. They don't all twitter their lives away.

January 12, 2010  
Anonymous John H said...

If, on the other hand if we are talking about lawyers..........

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Three words: International crime fiction. Heck, how about any sort of fiction? I'd love to have hours of free time to read right now.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger R. T. said...

Maybe the crux of the indictment of the players' character ought to be found in the words "college educated professional athletes." Would anyone care to deconstruct those words, and then offer the analysis?

January 12, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

John, of course you're right. My jibe, and I think Peter's post in the first place, was at what was left out of the list of activites cited and not meant as a slur on athletes in general.

I suppose in a lot of ways, we are all "postliterate" now.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

John, I have no first- or even secondhand experience with professional athletes' work or charitable activities, but I do have some secondhand insights into their comportment in off-hours thanks to a fairly reliable source: the bartenders of Philadelphia. And I get just as many tales of generosity and consideration as I do of boorishness, so I'm well-prepared to believe that not all professional athletes are slobs who expect special treatment.

And my man Bill James (the baseball writer and analyst, not the crime writer) wrote that the one thing people don't realize about professional athletes is how hard they work, so I am also disposed to believe that these guys worked hard to get where they are.

As is often the case, Seana is right, and I'll say more in a reply to her because this reply is growing long.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I don't know about lawyers, John. I've thrown an occasional snarky word their way in this space, but some lawyers are all right. One of the friends with whom I just visited is a lawyer, and he is always prepared to argue with vigor on one or two subjects each time I visit. This time in particular, he sharpened my own views in two significant areas. He has also railed against pompous and bloated legal writing, and at least once he worked a pretty good pun into a document he filed in a case.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T, I come from an age before one deconstructed statements or even unpacked them, but I can try to explain what I wrote. "College-educated professional athletes" expresses my mild disgust at the pretense that education has anything to do with college sports at its highest level. NCAA corruption aside, I reserve the right to feel alarm that reading should not even occur to the sportswriter as a possible pastime for a group of men who have attended university.

I do know, by the way, that one of the players in this group, Kevin Garnett, never attended university and is a well-adjusted gentleman by all accounts.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

For a group of men who have attended university, or any other group, for that matter. That reading should not even occur to the sportswriter is ominous -- unless, as I suggested above, that omission was a sly bit of satire on the writer's part.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, I meant the comment in part as a slur on athletes, but much more as a cry of alarm (or a spasm of pique) at the marginalization of books.

That the article concerned players
activities on planes only sharpened my alarm. Reading is a traditional activity for travellers confined to the right space of an airplane. If folks don't read on planes, where will they read?

Loren: Maybe I can offer to donate some of my excess books to the Celtics.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Laundromats are good--at least for now.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Laundromats, cafés, trains, planes. There are plenty of places where one expects to see books. ... I have recently been surprised on visits to a coffeehouse frequented by young people of the kind who dress in black, talk about video games, and wear those wool hats that make the wearer look vaguely retarded, to find serious newspapers (as opposed to the Metro) in greater evidence than I find elsewhere. This is both pleasing and a refreshing warning against judging our entire culture too harshly.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

The black outfits I think are meant to be a clue that they are intelligent. Half of our younger staff dress almost constantly in black and they're all pretty brainy. I don't see the appeal, frankly, but, then, no one asked me.

v word=tromport, which is just too good.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Oh, I like that v-word.

In addition to my impatience with the "XXXX is the new black," the damned faux-hip cliche is inaccurate. Black is the new, old, once, current and future black.

But as pretentious as the black-clad youngsters may be, some of them read newspapers, or at least the cafe owners offer them newspapers. There may be hope for this degenerate younger generation after all.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I don't know that they are necessarily being pretentious, though. I think they just like black.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

If the black outfits are meant to be clues that the wearers are intelligent, then the wearers are pretentions. If they are meant to conceal stains and other dirt, on the other hand, then the wearers are practical.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

I think it's more along the lines of, Hey, those people look pretty good in black. I wonder if I could pull that off?

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I was wearing black when those little pishers were still in diapers!

January 12, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

I imagine your young people dressed in black are probably goths. It's a fashion and music scene that's been around for thirty years now, an offshoot of the punk rock scene in England in the late 70s. I never cared for the fashion although I did wear a lot of black at the time (still do, actually) but I was and am a big fan of the music of that era like Joy Division, New Order, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, etc. You'll find plenty on Gothic Rock on Wikipedia but I won't recommend any of the music. I know your tolerance of rock is limited.

Most of the goths in my day were nice middle class kids who eventually ended up in sensible well-paying jobs. They were pretty literate and I suspect they still are

And I just found out recently those silly looking wool hats you mention are called beanies. Now if somebody could tell me what those Andean or Tibetan looking wool hats with the long strings down each side are called I'd be happy

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Not all these kids go heavy on the jewelry and heavy makeup I associate with goths. Black was also a label of hipsters back in the 1950s, and its aura has waxed and waned at least since then, I think.

Tibet = cool
Beanies = silly

January 12, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, the Goth subculture has had a lot of mutations over the last few decades as has the music it produces. You can find the music now under labels such as Dark Cabaret, Darkware, Ethereal, Ambient, even Neoclassical. The common denominator though is black clothing of various types

Those Tibetan hats may look cool on Tibetans but they look pretty stupid on the kind of New Age Hippie Tree Huggers I see wearing them

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I'm no fashionista, but black is simple. It's easily accessorized with almost any other color, most people look reasonably good in it, and it saves on wardrobe choices in the morning.

I once worked in the office of a health club, and there was some discussion about uniforms for us bookkeeper/data processing drones. The women were all in favor of them; the men, all opposed. I took from this that wardrobe choices are a pain in the backside for women.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Solo, I won't be the first to have made fun of the absurd proliferation of labels for pop music. It's a weird mix of critical jargon and marketing hucksterism, I suspect. I suggest that there is good reason for skepticism of "neo" anything.

I'm with you on Tibetan hats. Their proliferation on non-Tibetan heads is an unfortunate byproduct of globalization, though I suspect few of your New Age Hippie Tree Huggers would admit this.

January 12, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Black is cool; black is practical. (Black also shows off dandruff, but I'll leave that for another discussion.) Its periodic reclaiming of what has belonged to it all along is what makes me roll my eyes.

January 12, 2010  
Anonymous John H said...

As far back as I can remember black cloths have a sign of being "cool". It comes and goes but it's always the same crowd that wears the black stuff. I tried the black jeans several times but never had the patience to wash them 60 times to make them soft and comfortable like my blue ones. I do remember a couple of girls that looked really good in black though. Funny though, we have some friends that are big time in politics. The guy is a really expensive pollster and campaign manager. The wife was recently in town and was complaining that all the women in DC seem to wear black uniforms. She doesn't think she looks good in black but doesn't want to look out of place. Go figure...

January 13, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I draw the line at black shirts, shoes, socks and dress pants. Black jeans? No thanks; I express my coolness in other ways.

January 13, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

I think Parnell is a very good one. But for Kitty O'Shea Ireland might have had Home Rule in the 1890's. There would have been no border, no IRA, no Civil War, no Troubles. Ireland very probably would have stayed in the Union and retained Scottish style autonomy. I'd go further: with fewer Irish MP's in Parliament the Convervatives would have been the dominant party in the UK up until the twenties (with a potential rise of Labour) and I think their isolationist strain would have kept Britain out of World War I. With Britain out, Germany wins easily, there's no Russian Revolution, no World War 2 etc.

January 13, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, that's quite the mind-expanding chain of speculation about Kitty O'Shea, but I'm guessing you meant to reply to the next post rather than this one. I'll copy your comment and reply to it there.

January 13, 2010  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home