Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Of Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Butts
Ah, Fall has fallen and the season of serious butt-patting by men has begun. I noticed that the other evening whilst watching the World Serious (as my Dad used to call it) and Ohio State Football simultaneously with my friend Lil. At the end of every good play, some guy's tush got touched -- often multiple times.
I know this is a sports phenomenon, but I still find it interesting (though I participate in it little since I'm too old for most contact or semi-contact sports and golf is not a butt patting sort of game -- "Great birdie" pat, pat). I mean, here we are in the good old US of A, still one of the most homophobic places around (other than Iran, where they don't have any gay people -- alive!) and our television screens from now until, well, forever, since it never stops, are filled with posterior patting professional athletes. It's just that autumn seems to be high season of heiny hugging as baseball, football, and basketball are all in full swing -- or pat.
This is not something that you see outside of sports. My boss does not tap my tush when I write a great grant report and I don't low-five the guy who changes my oil. To do so, would probably result in my personal oil being changed by a slap up the side of the head. And yet, it is completely natural -- expected even -- in sports.
What makes it even more remarkable is that football and baseball, especially, are dominated by Evangelical chapel services and chaplains. These players are not, for the most part, members of the United Church of Christ (open and affirming) or any other more mainline or liberal faith. Rather they tend to be pretty conservative and yet go around bopping each other's bippies like there's no tomorrow.
And even those of us who don't play any more, spend hours watching hot, sweaty men straining in tight uniforms and then pressing the posterior flesh. What is that about?!
I don't have any great thoughts on this -- just wonderment that the last hold out of acceptable homo-eroticism seems to be college and major league sports.
Excuse me, I have to adjust my jock strap and get ready for the next game.