March 25, 2013

Meade watches the NCAA tournament, but I do not.

I don't like it. And I do watch baseball and football. Not as much as he does, but enough to prove that I'm not averse to all spectator sports. But I do not like basketball. Meade tells me he guarantees that if I were to take a little time to learn a few things about what's going on in basketball that I could enjoy it.

He compares it to his learning to like "Survivor." At first, he spurned it. A fake endurance contest. Why, he's done real endurance races — 24-hour mountain bike races. What's this voting people off an island? But — motivated to share time with me — he learned some details — the strategy, the edit — and it became interesting. If I would learn a few things about basketball, I wouldn't just be putting up with it. I would actually enjoy it, as he now enjoys "Survivor."

"Did you ever notice how the women on 'Survivor' are all wearing bikinis?" I ask. The whole implied argument is painfully obvious. Basketball players in their slinky, baggy tank tops and immense, swishy skirt-pants.

But maybe women don't care so much about what a man looks like. It's the functionality of the body. The performance. This is Meade's theory.

I resist the theory. There's performance on "Survivor" too, I say. But would you enjoy "Survivor" if the women were all wearing big baggy T-shirts and big loose pants?

We compare football, which women are especially fond of watching. The big shoulders, the tight pants (bulge-enhancingly light-colored and shiny). There's something to see. That's a spectator sport. The men look like men. Basketball players are dressed like very unattractive women or horribly oversized children.

"And they're always falling on the floor, and then Dad comes over and gives them a time out," I say. "It's completely not sexy."

76 comments:

MayBee said...

I love the NCAA tournament. It isn't based in how the men look. But if you are into nice biceps,triceps,and delts, the players certainly have those.

EDH said...

Basketball is okay in the second half when there's a lot riding on the outcome of the particular game, play-offs, etc.

Otherwise the game is diluted by too much scoring, subjective calls, whistles and time outs.

MayBee said...

I do think male athletes should be encouraged to take their shirts off more often. Soccer isn't good for much, but it is good for that.

chickelit said...

LOL!

Nathan Alexander said...

Based on my personal experience/viewpoint, you would not like basketball even if you learned more about it.

It has lost most of its strategy.

A handful of games are exciting because they are close. And then most of those games are won indecisively.

A blowout basketball win is boring. An indecisive basketball win is immaterial.

Why watch?

edutcher said...

Never had a thing for roundball - and I'm from Philadelphia, but March Madness is one of those phony sports things like playoffs in football and baseball.

Mitchell the Bat said...

In the sexy spectator sport department, you won't do better than sumo wrestling.

mishu said...

Maybe you'd prefer the '70s style. Then again it's the whole men in shorts to which you have an aversion.

Clyde said...

I'm not a big basketball fan, but as a resident of Southwest Florida, I'm pulling for our local school, Florida Gulf Coast University. They've pulled off two exciting upsets and are the first #15 seed ever to advance to the Sweet 16 round. Next Friday, they take on 3rd-ranked Florida, a much bigger school with a big-time program. And almost everyone in the country who is not a Florida Gators fan will be pulling for plucky FGCU to shock the world again.

Patrick said...

I do not enjoy basketball very much at all, but I like the tourney. I enjoy picking a bracket, and following how those teams do. I watch few of the games, mostly because they are on cable. I will usually watch one of the semi final games, and the majority of the final, if it's a good game. And by good, I mean "entertaining," because I doubt I'd really recognize quality basketball.

Tim said...

Basketball is, at best, the third sport after baseball and football.

Meade said...

But would you enjoy "Survivor" if the women were all wearing big baggy T-shirts and big loose pants?

And in that one shining moment of the argument, I knew... my season was over.

traditionalguy said...

So what about Ice Hockey?

Ann Althouse said...

"Maybe you'd prefer the '70s style. Then again it's the whole men in shorts to which you have an aversion."

My men in shorts opinion always had an allowance for sports where the official clothing is shorts.

Thus a runner in shorts is different from a golfer in shorts.

SteveR said...

Helps if have a rooting interest going in or acquire one very quickly. College Basketball we are supposed to like but it tends to be too depedent on three point shooting and free throw shooting. The games can drag on with time outs and fouling in the last few minutes, it can make the last two minutes if a close NFL look like a speed race

Ann Althouse said...

The problem in basketball isn't that they are wearing shorts. It's that they are wearing skorts.

Ann Althouse said...

Skorts.

Shouting Thomas said...

Illini got hosed. Bad call on an out of bounds play takes away their chance to tie the game in the last minute.

Basketball is closer to religion than sport where I grew up... on the Indiana/Illinois border. My mom's hometown was Bloomington, IN, home of the Hoosiers, so the family has always had split loyalties.

I agree that the skirted shorts are hideous.

Shouting Thomas said...

Didn't the ladies once call them "culottes?"

MaxTruth said...

Maybe it is because basketball has rules!

MaxTruth said...

Maybe it is because basketball has rules!

Meade said...

Aww... now that's nice - Althouse and Shouting Thomas singing together, in harmony, from the same hymnal.

hawkeyedjb said...

"Thus a runner in shorts is different from a golfer in shorts."

Yes. A runner is an athlete.

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

Maybe it is because basketball has rules!

That no one pays any attention to.

gerry said...

I posted a link to the old day's uniforms...Mishu's is much better.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

After Robert Carlo "Boston Rob" Mariano played his last game of Survivor, I stopped watching it. All other players are beneath him in my estimation.

Saint Croix said...

I predict Meade will have little success defeating Althouse's men in shorts prejudice!

BDNYC said...

I love to play basketball, but as a spectator sport it drags and has too many interruptions. And yes, there's too much subjectivity and favoritism in the officiating, and the first three quarters feel meaningless while you're watching.

Football is king. Baseball is boring to watch on television, but the in-person experience is immensely pleasurable and trumps all others. Strangely, football is usually better on television.

Shouting Thomas said...

The mythology of basketball in Illinois and Indiana for small town boys is based on the teeny-tiny town high school teams that won state championships.

In Illinois, that would be Hebron, a town of about 1,200 that won the state title in 1952 behind future University of Illinois stars Paul and Phil Judson.

In Indiana, that would be Milan High School in 1954. Milan was the model for the movie "Hoosiers."

The mythology is that any boy from any small town can grow up to be a star on the state champs. Every father in Illinois and Indiana tells his sons these stories from birth... along with the stories about Honest Abe. Abe rode the circuit near my home town.

Meade said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
Maybe it is because basketball has rules!

"That no one pays any attention to."

Not true. Why, just yesterday I saw a double-dribble call. And also a traveling call. Too many steps. It was like 17 or so.

Saint Croix said...

Althouse says she likes watching runners in shorts.

No way!

"I'm not a bigot," says Althouse, as she flips the channel to some long pants athletic competition.

Strelnikov said...

You have just summed up why I do not care what women have to say about sports. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "When I've heard from the last man about sports, I'll be ready to hear from the first woman."

Strelnikov said...

"as a resident of Southwest Florida, I'm pulling for our local school, Florida Gulf Coast University."

GO EAGLES!!!!!

Jay said...

Watching ESPN hype the Women's NCAA tournament is comical.

If you think the men's game is unwatchable, turn on a women's game for 5 minutes.

Meade said...

@Shouting: well said. Growing up in West Lafayette, once every 12 or so years, the WL Red Devils would gut out a win over the mighty perennial juggernaut of Lafayette Jefferson HS in the sectional. Our tiny school would then shut down for the rest of the year and do nothing but watch replays of the big game's shining moments.

Strelnikov said...

"So what about Ice Hockey?"

Ruined be transplanting it in desert/subtropical locations. No town should have a hockey team if there is literally no way for it to be played outside, as per its invention.

Meade said...

@Clyde: very exciting indeed! I hope you totally filled out a homer bracket.

jacksonjay said...


Too urban! Too much trash talkin, struttin, chest thumpin, crowin, tattin, cock-a-doodle doin, foulin, free throwin, fightin, skorts tuggin and adjustin, Obamain .....

edutcher said...

Meade said...

But would you enjoy "Survivor" if the women were all wearing big baggy T-shirts and big loose pants?

And in that one shining moment of the argument, I knew... my season was over.


Meade is the only man who can make not convincing his wife of something sound like the Battle of Midway.

Shouting Thomas said...

Didn't the ladies once call them "culottes?"

I think those went to the knee.

bagoh20 said...

We are not just pieces of meat, Althouse, put here for your gawking.

Kit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthony said...

You're just raaaaaacist because they are mostly black players.

Never cared much for b-ball. I even declined to feign much interest while chatting up the head b-ball coach's daughter who also happened to be a cheerleader at a Large West Coast University. Maybe it goes back to childhood when all the uber-jocks were into basketball and I was just a lowly nerd. Whatever, I don't care about the tourney; if it doesn't interest me sufficiently to watch during the regular season, what's the point of suddenly taking an interest at the end?

Lance said...

Not true. Why, just yesterday I saw a double-dribble call. And also a traveling call. Too many steps. It was like 17 or so.

Meh. Let me know when they start calling fouls (all of them) again. Oh, and lane violations as well.

Seems to me the only rule they enforce anymore is the number of players/team allowed on the floor.

ndspinelli said...

Holy Week must be when Annie pontificates about Italian cuisine, sports, and other topics on which she's clueless.

Meade said...

"We are not just pieces of meat, Althouse, put here for your gawking."

Bags has a point. Maybe it's time for a men's liberation movement: consciousness raising groups, consensus decision-making, jockstrap burnings. We'll publish a bimonthly magazine - On Our Backs!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

bagoh20 said...

We are not just pieces of meat, Althouse, put here for your gawking.

Who is this we you speak of?

Shouting Thomas said...

@Ignorance

I agree.

I was put on this earth for women to gawk at. I'm not as pretty as I was 30 years ago... but...

Gawk away!

Nonapod said...

For me watching a basketball game ranks with doing my taxes and cleaning gutters, tedious activities that I try to avoid. As far as I can tell there's little strategy involved and the only part of the game that's worth watching is the last two minutes, and even then only if the score is close.

Meade said...

@ Ignorance and Shouting: I know what you mean - it isn't easy being a 60 year-old man trapped in the body of a 20 year-old, right?

GT said...

Ann's theories are interesting, but none of them explain why she enjoys both football and baseball.

Tibore said...

There's no real reason to analyze a sport if it doesn't appeal to you to begin with. I love football and basketball due to the implementation of strategy and the witnessing of the tactics taught in practice actually being executed against a real, live opponent. So therefore I should enjoy "futbol" (soccer) quite a bit, right? Well the truth is that I don't, even though I respect the sport. And I'm that way even after a foreign ex-roommate tried to teach me some of the basic broad strokes of strategy in soccer.

It's an aesthetic thing. Lots of people can't stand auto racing, and even within the sport's fandom some cannot stand certain forms (i.e. open wheel vs. stock car, road vs. oval, etc.). Why question it? It's just that sports just appeal in different ways to different people, and if roundball doesn't catch the professor's eye here, well then it just doesn't.

This isn't to criticize Meade, however. I agree that there are many cases where if only people knew a certain set of details about sports, it could potentially appeal to something within some person's makeup. For example: Football comes off as just sheer physical brutality, but a lot of people miss the tactical matchups and strategic scheming that goes on. And on the individual level, people miss a TON of the mental effort, pattern recognition, and instant analysis put into what any given player does. Yet football comes off as a brutish sport when it's anything but. So yes, Meade is dead on about non-obvious, intrinsic merits being inherent in sports but missed by the general public. It's just that the next step isn't always love or even appreciation. Again: Learning a tiny little bit about soccer has given me a respect for it, but it just simply doesn't light my fire like basketball and football does. Sometimes some things just simply won't appeal to a person.

Ipso Fatso said...

Who says you have to like all the same stuff? It sounds like you two have plenty of other things to enjoy together so focus on that. As they say, that is why they make chocolate & vanilla.

edutcher said...

I have to give Ann and Meade a lot of credit as a married couple, each trying to enjoy the other's favorite things.

I try the same with The Blonde, but I refuse to watch those Lifetime Women's movies.

traditionalguy said...

Some sports require a history of personal participation to really appreciate.

Friday night I got a text message from my son, "Turn on ESPNu" which I was already glued to. The NCAA Wrestling Tournament semis was on live. Neither of our wives can understand why we watch, but it is our secret shared passion.

Rocketeer said...

And yes, there's too much subjectivity and favoritism in the officiating, and the first three quarters feel meaningless while you're watching.

Quarters? Well, there's your problem right there. Apparently, you're watching pro basketball, which isn't basketball at all.

Go Cards!!

Rocketeer said...

Pro basketball = wresting in skorts. NASCAR writ on a small, wooden, 98 foot round track.

College ball, now, well, that there's compelling. Kind of the open-wheel racing of basketball, if you will.

I'm thinking this is all just sour grapes because the Badgers proved how hollow they were in the tournament.

Astro said...

Basketball is an ok sport ruined by the excruciating final two minutes, which can sometimes take 25 minutes to play.
It's way worse than football in how a fast paced game can suddenly be as much fun as watching paint dry. (Pardon the cliche.)

Tibore said...

"edutcher said...

I try the same with The Blonde, but I refuse to watch those Lifetime Women's movies."


But... but... they're so compelling... ;)

Tibore said...

"College ball, now, well, that there's compelling. Kind of the open-wheel racing of basketball, if you will."

Yay! Someone with something positive to say about open wheel racing! I swear, I'm well within an afternoon's drive to Indianapolis, yet I still can find more NASCAR fans than Indycar ones... drives me nuts...

virgil xenophon said...

The problem with college BB (which I love) is that it has become too much like the pros. Calls for Palming/carrying the ball are a thing of the past. The "rule of verticality" has gone the way of the Dodo bird. And the college game has adopted the pros "restricted arc" in the lane where the defense cannot block to take a charge--ostensibly "for matters of safety"--a tacit admission that the refs have lost control of the game (ala the pros) and that, along with the demise of the rule of verticality, "position defense" is a thing of the past. Brawling and brute force is now OFFICIALLY condoned--just like the pros..

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann's theories are interesting, but none of them explain why she enjoys both football and baseball."

Baseball really does have a uniform problem. Some players do better than others. I like the knickers-and-socks look. I loathe the pajamas look.

One thing that makes baseball attractive to me is that the players don't just rush around in a crowd. They have their positions, quite far apart, and they come to bat one by one. This let's you see a lot about each one as an individual.

I do have a problem with all the scratching and the chewing!

virgil xenophon said...

PS: Let me put it this way. If they eliminated the restricted arc and called fouls/violations as they are still written on the books, well over half of today's players couldn't play the game--and by this I mean ABSOLUTELY. COULD. NOT. FUNCTION.

Rocketeer said...

Don't get me wrong, Tibore, I can enjoy NASCAR, too - and will enjoy it more in direct proportion to the extent that they return design considerations to the manufacturers and become more "stock" in differentiating the cars. But I grew up an Indy/F1 fan, and I still prefer open wheels.

ndspinelli said...

edutcher has just flown south of the pathetic line heading toward sickening.

ndspinelli said...

Everyone scratches and chews.

SOJO said...

You should try watching the beautiful, graceful man sports - extreme snowboarding, skiing, surfing, paraskiing, base jumping, that kind of thing. I love them. Paragliding too, although that's not really a spectator sport.

(I understand that some people aren't as mesmerized as I am, but I don't quite get how they can't be. :) )

Check this out. (keep watching this for the surprise ending): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwbP9WLX3fY

And the grace of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6oTKHj8WJQ

I completely disagree that women aren't into male beauty, but it's just different. It's usually not in the same way that guys are into women or gay guys are into beautiful gay guys. Think of all the girls over the decades who've gone crazy for poets and rock/rap stars. It's just that not all that many guys are good-looking, so you kind of make do, whereas a ton of women are good-looking and those that aren't do their best to fix it.

But even when women aren't all that into extreme good looks, they can still get sexually grossed out by repulsive looks. It's just that we're trained to be nice in a maternal way and overlook these things to be kind.

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

"Basketball is okay in the second half when there's a lot riding on the outcome of the particular game, play-offs, etc.

Otherwise the game is diluted by too much scoring, subjective calls, whistles and time outs."


That's my view. Too many points. An engineer would say that basketball has a "d.c. problem".

I guess that's why I like hockey more.

Original Mike said...

Watching Pro basketball is the most excuriating activity on the planet.

ndspinelli said...

Original Mike, That's racist!

Original Mike said...

Pro basketball needs a 12 foot basket and a larger court.

Same is true of pro hockey (which I don't loath, but don't like as much as college hockey). The pro players have outgrown the small rink they play on, both in size and skill. They should play pro hockey on an Olympic size ice sheet.

Kirk Parker said...

Football has strategy, purposeful movement, advance, retreat, etc.

Baseball has class, leisure (no clock-based time limits), and nothing beats sitting in an outdoor stadium on a warm, sunny day.

Baskeball is just brownian motion writ large. (So is soccer, for that matter, on a somewhat larger plane and with more melodrama surrounding the collisions between the particles.)

ganderson said...

Original Mike- John Mariucci (who played both football AND hockey for the Gophers) is credited with saying that "watching basketball is like watching old men fish." I agree.

Original Mike said...

I don't often praise the gophers, but they do have their priorities straight. The hockey team plays in beautiful, new Mariucci Arena, while the basketball team plays in an old barn.

Shana said...

Calf muscles. Like football, I prefer NCAA to pro.