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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

8/14/2007

Achievement vs. Pretense

Hank Aaron1.jpgBarry Bonds1.jpg

I am not a fan of professional sports anymore. Mainly because I believe more sportsmanship, character, and sometimes even ability, used to be displayed at the ragtag baseball games we used to play in the vacant lot down the street from the house in which I grew up (yes, I was a tomboy).

We played with heart. We went all out. We didn’t need umpires -- majority ruled. We patted each other on the back for a heads-up play, and criticized each other on the days that we weren’t playing up to par. We played in dirty old Keds, cheap shorts or jeans that didn’t have a fancy name-brand displayed on the seam, and torn t-shirts.

We had no backstop, used stones, pieces of tree limbs (or whatever) for bases, thought nothing of sliding into home headfirst, often came home with fresh scrapes and bruises, and mowed the grass ourselves (with a rotary mower) when it got too high to play a fair game.

We loved the game.

Nowadays, baseball’s (and other sports’) professionals, more often than not, are businessmen with a skill. And, in recent years, even the ‘skill’ part of the equation is often suspect.

Barry Bonds recently captured the crown as the all-time leader in career homeruns, eclipsing the likes of Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. Sadly, Bonds’ ‘achievement’ epitomizes the way in which genuine achievement in modern America has become diluted beyond recognition. Call me a purist, if you must, but the rules of the game (almost all ‘games’ – in sports, politics, business, economics, academics, etc.) have found themselves so perverted as to be virtually meaningless, in many instances. And, as a result, genuine greatness often finds itself eclipsed by sleight of hand.

But I digress ...

Re: the new homerun record holder -- The human body does not dramatically increase its efficiency, output, power, size, or endurance, after thirty-five years of living. Not without the help of artificial catalysts.

It simply doesn’t happen.

Considerable talent is sufficient for a man of integrity, whatever the record books read. But a man lacking in character who is not content with his completely natural excellence, decides that it is more important to achieve unnatural excellence in order to find his name indelibly inscribed above predecessors whose gift was sufficient. And the system has afforded him a green light to do so.

The end is now far more glorified than the path that one traverses in order to get there.

The dilution – even perversion -- of the definition of excellence is one of the infamous hallmarks of a society in decline. Break out the asterisks. And await, sadly, the approach of the day when they will no longer even be deemed necessary.

~ joanie

33 comments:

Dawnsearlylight said...

Call me a purist, if you must, but the rules of the game (almost all ‘games’ – in sports, politics, business, economics, academics, etc.) have found themselves so perverted as to be virtually meaningless, in many instances. And, as a result, genuine greatness often finds itself eclipsed by sleight of hand.

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Good points. Thanks.

trustbutverify said...

....the rules of the game (almost all ‘games’ – in sports, politics, business, economics, academics, etc.) have found themselves so perverted as to be virtually meaningless, in many instances. And, as a result, genuine greatness often finds itself eclipsed by sleight of hand.

The dilution – even perversion -- of the definition of excellence is one of the infamous hallmarks of a society in decline. Break out the asterisks. And await, sadly, the approach of the day when they will no longer even be deemed necessary.


You got that right, Joanie. In so many parts of our society, the rules have been changed so that mediocre people, and criminals, can succeed.

marcus aurelius said...

I'd send you one, if I knew your mailing address:

http://www.heckletees.com/products/Barryast.html

Good post.

DaveBurkett said...

Although Bonds is probably one of the greatest talents to ever play the game, drug use or not, there will always be an asterisk next to his name in the minds of the majority of real baseball fans.

But I doubt this will bother Bonds at all. Judging by his public appearances and everything reported on him by sports writers and people who know him well, Bonds lives in his own little self-centered world. He's a narcicist who doesn't care about fair play.

Lori_Gmeiner said...

Aaron was able to become the all-time home run champ by sustaining a relatively unspectacular but remarkably consistent career. He was never hurt badly enough to be out of the lineup for an extended period of time. He was not a particularly aggressive base runner, so his legs suffered little wear and tear. He controlled his weight throughout his career. His remarkable physical condition allowed him to average 33 HR a year, hitting between 24 and 45 HR for 19 straight years. He drove in more than 100 runs 15 times, including a record 13 seasons in a row. He was an All-Star in each of the 23 seasons he played. Sometimes lost among the home run hullaballoo are Aaron's two batting titles and four Gold Gloves for his play in right field. He was consistent and dangerous, and he quickly gained the respect he was to enjoy through his entire career. Early in his career, the Braves played the Dodgers with Jackie Robinson at third. Aaron twice faked bunts, but Robinson didn't budge. After the game, Aaron asked him why he didn't move in. Robinson told him, "We'll give you first base anytime you want it."

http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=hank_aaron_1934

Anonymous said...

Who knows how many more home runs Aaron would have hit if he had taken synthetic drugs late in his career?

robmaroni said...

Aaron, Ruth, and Mays did it with love of the game, hot dogs, beer, and sweat.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments, I totally agree, especially with the last paragraph.

Anonymous said...

Le fini giustificano i mezzi.

john galt said...

Bonds is a fraud. He shouldn't be in the record books and he shouldn't be in baseball.

Kathymlynczak said...

Hank Aaron must be heartbroken that his record was stolen like this.

all_good_men said...

It now starts with the 6 year olds. They want to be famous and the parents want their kids to be famous. Anything goes for the fame and money. Parents will even hire a “hit man” to eliminate the competition. Thanks media for another job well done.

stonemason said...

Bonds is a fraud. He shouldn't be in the record books and he shouldn't be in baseball.

Ditto to that, John Galt.

Anonymous said...

Cheating is becoming more and more acceptable in every aspect of society. If it weren't for that fact, where would the Clintons be? Sports is just the tip of the iceberg.

Buster said...

Most "sports" are a joke these days. Pro wrestling is just weird "entertainment" and boxing has been illegitimate for decades. Baseball just took longer to get that way.

Proudpodunknative said...

Guessing what the pitcher is going to throw is eighty percent of being a successful hitter. The other twenty percent is just execution.---Hank Aaron

Anonymous said...

I agree with your analysis, and it's not just sports that are hit by the need to cheat, and allowing it.

"The dilution – even perversion -- of the definition of excellence is one of the infamous hallmarks of a society in decline" is a great way to put it.

Al said...

The "sports" as we knew them have been trashed.

BASKETBALL---Walking with the ball, double dribbling, palming the ball and then dribbling again
are all standard procedure and have been for a while. Watch any clip of Michael Jordan.

The players today are representative of the lowest levels of the black "culture,"--tattooed from head to foot, smug with their insane salaries, and not even that good.

In the last Olympics the all star pros of the US lost repeatedly to teams made of players who never played professionally. Disgraceful.

They should have hidden their faces and disbanded the NBA after that. They continue on as the epitome of the gutter level of the black culture.

At the last NBA all star game Las Vegas, the police there said they saw things they had never seen before as the town was invaded by the denizens of the gutter culture now connected in with basketball.

FOOTBALL---Since the rules were changed to hamstring the pass defenders, football is not the same game. The steroid culture in football is obvious, even on the college level, where some lines average close to 300 pounds.

BASEBALL---The souped up ball and the diluted level of "major league" level baseball is pathetic.

Players wear "gloves" at bat??? Not in the real big leagues.

The fielders gloves are so big these days they look like something from a circus clown's routine. They need the clown's shoes to go with them.

Players routinely take what look like golf swings to hit their phony "home runs."

When longtime announcer Harry Carey retired (a number of years ago) he said the current level of big league play was on the level that triple A minor league ball had been in the past.

It has gotten worse since.

Roger Maris did not get a good pitch for the last month of the season he broke the record.

In comparison, Mark McGuire faced pitchers just brought up from the minor leagues on the last weekend of the season he "broke" the record by ten home runs.

That season, with the obviously newly souped up ball, players who never hit twenty home runs in a season were hitting thirty, players who never hit over twenty home runs were suddenly hitting forty, etc. The souping up of the ball was obvious.

The news media is responsible for the legitimizing of this crap.

The steroid culture in baseball has been obvious for a long time. Even years ago I could turn on the TV and see player after player come up at bat with massive forearms, legs as thick as a weightlifter’s, etc. What happened to the typical long, rangy build of many the great players of the past?

Boxing went under years ago when it became the private plaything of Don King.

Also the switch from the longtime mob involvement, which supplied great instructors, conditioners, strategy planners both before and during a fight, and enough of a threat to make fighters actually train,

to the black muslim takeover, where the so-called 'trainers' are incompetent, the fighters are not in condition, and don't know the most basic things that used to be standard knowledge among good fighters. The continuous farces over a number of decades that are sold by the news media as legitimate have totally killed boxing.

The idea of women "boxing" is nauseating, and a clear example of the depravity of what is left of our modern "culture."

The title nine (?) has destroyed much of college sports. Some of the colleges that consistently produced Olympic winners in wrestling had to drop their wrestling programs as a result of this insane legislation.

The sport of genuine weightlifting, where the US used to compete head to head with the Russians and win the team title at the Olympics and world championships, is completely gone. It has been replaced by bodybuilding and its disgusting steroid freaks, "power lifting" where competitors do what used to be basic gym exercises such as the squat, bench press and dead lift.

The skill, strength and great quickness characteristic of the great years of weightlifting in the US, which produced such great lifters as Norb Schemansky, Tommy Kono, John Davis, etc., is completely gone.

As for steroids in tennis, take a look at the two Williams sisters, with their mannish deltoid development, etc.

A side effect of steriods is rage.
Remember when the baseball player Alomar attacked an umpire years ago?

According to those familiar with him, this was completely uncharacteristic of Alomar's past behavior. I wasn't following baseball then, but I saw photos of Alomar and the first thing I noticed were his massive forearms, thick overall build, completely unnecessary for a second baseman in baseball. Combine that with his outburst of rage and what do you have. Steroids, in my guess.

So-called sports, or what is left them today, stand as testimony to our modern, decaying, depraved, drugged, politically correct culture.

johnsteever said...

Joanie, you ought to revise this essay and add Al's comments at the end of it. Combined, the two essays ought to be published everywhere.

fascismisyourwosrtenemy said...

Excellent post, Al. I agree with every word.

As for the doping and steriod use, it's all about economics. Athletes will continue to dope until the rulemakers either improve their detection techniques or pretend to do so, because they don't want to lose fans and revenue.

As technology improves (sometimes a curse), professional athletes will continue to become more like deliberately designed racing cars instead of naturally gifted people. And machines will continue to break records that people once held.

cw-patriot said...

Really, why should professional sports be any different than the other extraordinary-wealth-and-power-producing segments of modern American society?

While the average Joe (you and I) lives his life in much the same way that the average Joe of fifty years ago did – devoted to his family, putting in a hard day’s work for a fair day’s pay, and living within the law – those elite classes in our society, who have found that perverting time honored rules and truths can feather their (physical and/or emotional) nests more comfortably, have distorted the significance of everything of timeless meaning.

Find me a politician who finds his strength in his own inner character, and I’ll show you a man who isn’t doing well in politics. Those who succeed in politics these days are those who can create the most appealing ‘package’ – a package that has nothing to do with his own beliefs, and everything to do with poll numbers, focus groups, handlers, and the demands of special interests. Artificiality, duplicity and phoniness rule the day.

Find me the head of a major corporation who finds strength in his own inner character, and I’ll show you a man who will most likely be replaced by someone who is better able to focus on the almighty dollar. Advertising no longer informs. It screams, and panders, and appeals to the baser natures, and the simplistic sensibilities. Mass produced products no longer simply meet a need. They must lend superficial, artificial ‘status’ (as defined by Madison Avenue) to the buyer’s life.

Find me someone in academics who find his strength in his own inner character, and I’ll show you a man who is consistently bucking the system. As an educator, if one does not march in lockstep with those who envision public, and higher, education as a means of programmed leftist indoctrination, one is destined to meet with disapproval – even censorship – on a daily basis. And the truth, and future generations, be damned.

Find me a professional sports figure who finds his strength in his own inner character, and I’ll show you a man who will find himself engaged in a never-ending uphill battle to have his abilities recognized. He will forever risk being outshone by men who are either (1) no longer human, having been transformed into an inhuman machine by the miracle of ‘medical/pharmaceutical technology’ , or (2) supported by behind-the-scenes ‘managers’ who will see to it that the powers that be, rather than human ability, determine who will or will not succeed in the game.

In all of the above segments of modern American society, and others, the rules are consistently changed so that the elitists’ desired outcome is achieved. Unnatural, artificial, even bogus considerations consistently take precedence over natural, timeless excellence. The consideration of ‘fairness’ or ‘justice’ is no longer of relevance. The realization of many-faceted leftist agendas is of ultimate importance. And the striving for human excellence, reverence for truth, and the in the preservation of what might be called the ‘natural order of the universe’ be damned.

Tom Bergman said...

In all of the above segments of modern American society, and others, the rules are consistently changed so that the elitists’ desired outcome is achieved. Unnatural, artificial, even bogus considerations consistently take precedence over natural, timeless excellence. The consideration of ‘fairness’ or ‘justice’ is no longer of relevance. The realization of many-faceted leftist agendas is of ultimate importance. And the striving for human excellence, reverence for truth, and the in the preservation of what might be called the ‘natural order of the universe’ be damned.

Powerful and true.

Anonymous said...

Joanie, much of what you said is included in this book. You should read it.

http://www.amazon.com/Syndromes-Corruption-Wealth-Power-Democracy/dp/0521618592/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-4196821-7626417?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1187300245&sr=1-1

Anonymous said...

Examine your photos of Aaron and Bonds--everything from the facial expressions to the bodies. The differences are there without even knowing them.

trustbutverify said...

Well said, Joanie.

siliconvalleyguy said...

Find me a politician who finds his strength in his own inner character, and I’ll show you a man who isn’t doing well in politics. Those who succeed in politics these days are those who can create the most appealing ‘package’ – a package that has nothing to do with his own beliefs, and everything to do with poll numbers, focus groups, handlers, and the demands of special interests. Artificiality, duplicity and phoniness rule the day.

Which is why Hillary Clinton has a better than even chance of being POTUS in 2008.

3timesalady said...

Joanie- Have you ever read "The Loss of Virtue: Moral Confusion & Social Disorder in Britain & America" by Digby Anderson. His take is identical to yours- that the loss of virtue has affected every part of our society (and England's). If I can dig it out I'll copy some excerpts tomorrow. It's fascinating and sad.

Anonymous said...

"The Truth About Barry Bonds and Steroids":

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/magazine/03/06/growth0313/

It's very very long, and really not worth reading unless you give a damn about the cheater, but it tells it all.

Anonymous said...

Sosa, McGuire, Canseco and Bonds, et al, doped up to hit homeruns to bring to bring in more fans, to justify paying enormous salaries to half-assed players, to build new stadiums, to get huge endorsement contracts, etc. That's now the nature of the game. Take it or leave it.

DARIUS said...

AL,
some what you say true but BAsketbal players still good what bout kobe and iverson
we laff in my hood when they talking bout ali we know Joe frazer beat him real good so did lots of boxer
wish you like basdketbal more but GOod writig AL
DARIUS

Anonymous said...

Remember when atheletes were role models and examples that kids looked up to?
Now they are just gangstas and thugs and criminals.
I'm done with the NFL, NBA, ML Baseball, virtually every hero in these sports is some kind of criminal, some addictive person or he takes drugs to help him accomplish he feats.

Anonymous said...

Unnamed players allege corruption in professional tennis

Aug 30 2007

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070830143114.52ur3g60&show_article=1