Against Sport

Human sport, or buttock repose, is for the purpose of observing the motion of others.

It is a staccato activity, almost entirely static except for brief, explosive vocalizations from the blowhole in the front of the head and occasional twitching actions of the torso, limbs, and central digits.  Its purpose is to thwart the natural tendency of humans to play, and to redirect excess energy into the service of nationalist cohesion and consumption.

Even leftists who understand how brutal nation-states are and how thoroughly they lick corporate cockamamie will, in a desperate bid for a bit of street cred, toss World Cup nation names around.  ‘Oh please notice me, I can say England and Argentina and I know that the international word for soccer is football.’  Pathetic.

Because sport requires from the subject a high range of immobility, the subject must be compensated by audicles and spectacles of a vividness sufficient to secure the subject’s complacence.  Bold colors, product fetish arousal mechanisms, dynamic cheerleading, and the movement of a small number of young humans constitute the compensatory display.

The young humans are called players, presumably because of their willingness to adorn themselves with corporate logos.

It is a testimony to the elasticity of the planet’s still-dominant trade language, English, that the same word, sport, can be applied as well to extreme, widespread immobility as to extreme, occasional mobility.  In this regard we might note words like inflammable, which denotes the same as its apparent opposite, flammable.  Or a hyphenated word like tree-planting, which denotes an essential part of the process of destroying a very large tree and replacing it with a miniscule token seedling, the same word “tree” serving to indicate entities of such astonishingly different biomass.

A tiny sapling left at the site of a stolen tree, a taunt left by the thief, invites the observer into a sort of complicity that we might call a language game.  A sport, if you will (as long as the players do not move too much).  Easy to play.  Consider a tree so massive that it is not only the guardian of its local ecosystem but actually supports a variety of niche systems along its length and breadth.  This hoary giant and its neighbors and ancestors have been in a complex interaction with their watershed over thousands of years.  If you are willing to have this area destroyed and replaced with a monoculture devoted to the profit of a few human beings, you need not bestir yourself even to the point of purchasing a product.  Your consent can be registered much more easily with a linguistic trick.  Just call the taunt-seedling a “tree,” and you can be enlisted in the community of consenting subjects.

So it is with sport.  You can endorse the whole sad treacley audicle even before opting for an object from the product line, merely by consenting to refer to the web of lies trapping the subject into immobility with the word “sport.”  Once the word game is lost, the rest is easy.  Knock over a few more trees, excrete a parking lot and Roman-games style stadium out of your machines, and you’re in business.  All that’s left is to convince the working class and a few academics that their interests lie in expressing their fealty to the phony “choice” of this or that team, and the energy to resist is nicely diverted.

Someone knocks over our woods and leaves a fucken golf course with Tiger Woods on it.  That’s not even a consolation prize.

Is that Tiger guy a loser or what?  When I was his age, I was cleaning toilets, skiing off cliffs, and working as a gravedigger.  At least two of these activities count as sport.  But hitting a one-inch ball into a three-inch hole?  That’s not play, its foreplay.  Try deep-sixing a full-size stiff if it’s a transcendent moment you’re after.  Plop it in the hole, seal it up, stick a stone on there for return address, and away it goes to forever.  The whole time you’ve got Billy shooting bayonet couplings at me with the compressor that’s now a gun, while I run for cover and a good place to read my Calamitous Fourteenth Century.  Maybe your gravedigging will be different, but this is me.  Next day Billy and me in yet another hole that never seems big enough for Billy And Me to be hitting each other with spades called shovels while the old guys with steel plates in their heads stand around the rim of the grave and lay incantatory bets on us.

I’ve been told that some famous basketball player never uses his muscles for anything other than the game.  Supposed to be the greatest player of all time or some such.  That’s a rigged game.  Let’s get all humans to use their muscles only for that same sport, billions of people not emptying the dishwasher or grubbing at the landfill for banana peels to eat, just playing basketball all day, and see if this one nearly omni-incompetent guy is still the best basketball player who ever lived.   On that googly they showed me a movie of this guy cheating at dunking a ball using a hundred cameras in a circle or something, but I had to run off and move my body before I could sit still for another boringass minute.

Imagine the great athletes playing in a society of players rather than performing for a society of spectators.

Imagine a billion basketball players, actually playing.  Get back to me when there are ten billion football players.

Imagine hockey (can we call it hoxing yet?  Hokey?  Hoax?) not as a place for clueless bullies beating each other up—not to mention what happens on the ice—but as a skill sport played on everybody’s lakes and streams.

Amongst other signs of the death of the left we should surely include the wholesale slutting out of the left to the spectacle of the empire and its approved sports lineup.  We recommend, by contrast, the society of poets, the company of vigorous people who are willing and able to smash the machine in word and deed, trained equally in the lines of parkour and poem, the meter and timing of jumping, skedaddling, and disappearing.

We’re getting out.  We’re getting in the way.  We’re people in powerchairs who can do a proper wheelie, kickass cycle fuckers not restrained by your stupid bike lanes but coming at you in your rearview where objects are closer than they up here, no over here, and we live in a world where pickup’s a game, not a truck, and a truck’s something on the bottom of a skateboard, not the top of a cyclist’s bloody body.  With you, flagwaving F-series urban cowardboy, we have no truck.

We’re on the move.

DAVID Ker THOMSON has written against bike lanes, birth, democracy, farmers, leaders, and work.  “Against Canada” remains the most popular in the “Against” series, of which this article is the eighth.