clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pastime to Present

Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite
and furthermore always carry a small snake.

One hundred years ago, Barking Carnival would have been blogging enthusiastically about America's three obssessions: baseball, boxing and horseracing. Blogging back then largely consisted of standing on a street corner crate shrieking incoherent opinions about immigrants while backed by a bevy of Irish toughs wearing bowler hats set at a rakish angle; which, incidentally, is exactly what I was doing when I was discovered by the Barking Carnival talent scout. He gave me a keyboard, all the Crystal Lite I could drink, and paid me in chits giving me access only to the overpriced perishable goods in the company store. Why would I consent to this? You see, a pimp's love is very different from a square's love...

I digress. Back to baseball, boxing, horseracing. These sports ruled the American sport consciousness and were embraced equally between rich and poor. Quicker than one of Pac Man's entourage can say,"Oh my Ga, Uncle Boo got shot!" our sporting interests have schismed like a Protestant Revival church and evolved like JKocurek's landlord's hate when he tries to pay him with a sock full of arcade tokens and a hastily scribbled IOU on an Arby's napkin.

In 2008, other than King Football and Prince Basketball, the niche sports all jockey for position across myriad geographical, demographic, and socio-economic markets: MMA, extreme whatever, beach volleyball, tennis, cycling, hockey, backgammon, bullfighting. It's a good bet that if you ask someone their favorite three sports, they'll reply with two mass market traditionals (football, basketball) and one exotic. For me it's Football, Basketball, Mixed Martial Arts. For Henry James it's Extreme Embroidery, Napping, and Competitive Sarcasm.

This Jack Johnson scored more white strange than the current Jack Johnson.

In 2008, my passion for boxing is shared by bilingual swarthy guys pouring concrete and the elderly. Quick - can you name the heavyweight champion(s) without aid from Google? Any red blooded male who couldn't name the heavyweight champ between 1900-1980 would have been hooted at, if not outright gaybashed. Now, we both shrug at each other and agree that it's some fucking Moldovian or Ukranian. Nations whose primary exports are sex slaves and bogus heavyweights. Somewhere a weeping Bert Sugar drives a cigar into a lamb's eye.

People used to care about this. No, really.

Horseracing, once the passion of the common man, is the now the sole province of a handful of elites and degenerate Vegas types - the fat Armenian guys clothed in muu-muu starter jerseys and rolexes betting on Australian Rules Football at 2:43 am in the Hooters sportsbook, pissing themselves when Adelaide doesn't cover against Melbourne. The Kentucky Derby is revered primarily as a spectacle rather than an actual sporting event and it gets national coverage to the extent to which women tune in to look at pretty horses and to see what Jessica Simpson is wearing on Millionaires Row. "I wish I had more events to which I could wear big hats!" they lament with a sigh before slipping on their faded Team Aniston t-shirt and heading to Spin class. Dog fighting has a bigger following than horseracing. Maybe they should have Big Brown fight a rock-wylla to raise public interest. Jockeys, like celebrities, are all mean pill-popping alcoholics who are far shorter when you meet them in person. Like all has been celebs, they need a reality show to draw interest. Show them fucking up a McDonald's playscape. Equine interest is as dead as Barbaro.

The great Cy Young shown here stacking Dianabol. He'll smooth that stack with a little HGH around Week 4 and then top it off with baboon tranquilizers.

Though baseball has not been completely overthrown in the national pantheon as the two aforementioned, it was for a century the only team sport that mattered. Now it's solidly #3 behind football and basketball. Wrestling on TNT has more relevance at the average American water cooler. Like horseracing, baseball's pleasant atmosphere counts for more than the sport itself. A baseball game is a way for guys to catch some sun together without the shame of asking another dude if he wants to go lay out. The events on the diamond are secondary. I'll have baseball fans debate this point, but the American enthusiasm for this game is currently an inch deep and a mile wide. Baseball is facing an 0-2 count with Popular Opinion on the mound and it possesses a fastball that makes Bob Feller look like Tim Wakefield. Watch out baseball, faggy soccer is breathing down your neck and say what you will about it, but it really does have amazing hair.

Now the question is simple: one hundred years from now, what sports will rule our lives? MMA? Soccer (think demographic shift people)? Will football still reign as undisputed king? Will rugby rise from obscurity? Or will we all just devolve into secular hobbyists: mountain biking, snowboarding, jetpack races?

My personal opinion is that if MMA were a stock, you should be backing up the truck to buy.

Who wants a Zrrrrbbbbbtttt?

Tell me: what does our future hold?