14 February 2006

The Accessability of the NBA and MLB As Indicative of Stages in American Social History

Because I love sports, specifically baseball and basketball (I can take or leave the rest), I tend to roll through fifteen or twenty sports blogs a day (sad). Most of these are devoted to Major League Baseball generally, and the Red Sox specifically. There are a couple NBA-centric places I make it a point to read as well. Among these, FreeDarko is by far the cream of the crop. Dwelling as much on popular culture and race relations as crossovers and winning percentage, FreeDarko transcends --- with acuity --- the facile appelation "NBA blog." To wit:
The truth is, baseball just plain lends itself to that simpler, more optimistically charged time than any other pastime. I neither have the time nor the qualifications to rhapsodize about the elegance of the game's aesthetics, but it certainly evokes the contours of pre-Vietnam America-and accommodates the era's near-epic assertions of race, identity, and justice-better than the dizzying action of basketball or the feudal likeness of football's minions. And before you either jump on me for romanticizing the American past or call MLK an adulterer, read up on Jackie Robinson's abundance of antagonistic style and militant politics; beneath the storybook version of things are contradictions that succeed only in bolstering his broad-stroke cred. As in, risk-taking, dissent, and even folly were part of being man enough to ultimately pull off the obvious. Somehow it's gotten lost to history that Rosa Parks was making moves for the Birmingham NAACP before she refused to move to the back, as if that somehow lessens her accomplishment. A streamlined Civil Rights movement might be a borderline racist one, but there's no reason that complexity or process need undermine those emblematic moments. In fact, it's what delivered them.
I would love to write a lengthy post on this topic, but no explication I've attempted has been able to match the eloquence and vigor of the above. Read it in its entirety.

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