Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Games People Play

I'm not much of a sports fan.  It's not because I don't appreciate competition, I totally do and totally get it.  The problem has to do with the dual nature of competition.  A game is worthless if the outcome isn't important.  I don't mean in a "change the world" way, I mean people care about who wins, losing matters.  I've never liked football.  But when I heard the Patriots had run into a major snag in their quest to be the best ever, I took a sudden interest.  Maybe it's because you want to see someone win, maybe it's because you want to see someone lose.  But the excitement and drama all derives from caring about the outcome.

To this end, you do whatever you can to win.  Some do whatever they can within the rules.  Others just hope they don't get caught.  This is cheating.  Let's be honest -- people like cheaters.  They like the outlaws, the ones who can stay a step ahead of the authorities (a theme I'll be exploring in another post).  Baseball's unofficial motto is, "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying."  Football, cheating is almost required because of the risk to life and limb of the game.  I used to love basketball, and I was enraged when Dennis Rodman came to the Bulls.  Rodman was a flop artist -- he could be on the other end of the court from the rest of the players, go flying into the fifth row, and draw a foul.  Legends speak of an auto racing team that figured that, the lighter the car, the better, rebuilt a stock car to 7/8ths the size of the real thing and got away with it.  The line between taking advantage of your opponent's stupidity and violating trust is strange and shifting.

Cheating is supposed to be part of the game.  But that's the problem.  It makes the game uneven.  Like the steroids scandal.  Not every player had them, just the few with the connections to know how to avoid getting nailed.  As a result, they had an edge others did not.  There was no fairness.  And that offends me.  Without honesty and keeping things even, sports is no better than professional wrestling, where the only thing that matters is the interest in the popular ones.  Actually, wrestling is a step ahead -- I may not like pro wrestling, but you have to admit, they know how to put on a show and give the fans what they want.

I mention this because of the newest member of the Dipshit Club.  Hello, Gilbert Arenas.  Arenas is a basketball player.  Like a lot of ego cases, he has christened himself with his own chosen nickname, kind of like how street ball legend but pro ball washout Stephon Marburry wanted everyone to call him "Starburry".  Arenas calls himself Agent Zero.  I understand how Marburry arrived at "Starburry," but Agent Zero?  What-fucking-ever.

On Tuesday, his team, the Washington Wizards, were playing the Atlanta Hawks in a preseason game.  Arenas said he had a knee injury and couldn't play.  Once the game was over, he announced to the press he lied -- he didn't have a knee injury, he faked it so teammate Nick Young could get more playing time.

It doesn't help that the NBA has a reputation for gambling and fraud.  You start wondering about players doing things to, say, help the spread.  Or all those suspicious calls the refs make.  And now, you have a player blatantly admit to it.  He thinks he was helping a teammate.  Maybe he was.  But if I can't trust that you are genuine, that what I'm seeing is real, why should I care about what you do or what the outcome is?  Does it really matter?
Tags: destroying childhood memories, haven't we suffered enough, important life lessons, infernal gall, stupidity, wtf
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