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What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

sports and food

The NFL season is about to start, which means I'm bound to gain weight. For me, football means finger foods: chips, salsa, guacamole and bean dips, pizza, and hotwings.  The thought of my imminent expansion, leads to another thought, and raises the question. Which sports are best for foodies? Humm? Let's begin with The Big Three: Baseball comes first. What else do you do between pitches, walks, check-swings, strike outs, and balks? Watch the third base man scratch his you know what? No, you call for another hotdog, your third box of popcorn, and second ice cream sandwich. At home, watching baseball is not quite as fun, since baseball was designed to be played or eaten in the outdoors, but it is more economical; you're not going to charge yourself for your second bowl of Fritos or cheeseits, are you? It's too bad I'm not a fan, I could become grossly overweight if I watched baseball as much as I do other sports.

Football follows baseball. Every time teams change from defense to offense and vice-a-versa, it gives the foodie time to pop something delicious into his or her mouth. I'm thinking tortilla chips and casos. The sport itself is designed to move slowly from huddle to snap, allowing more time to eat. As a dedicated foodie, I am delighted with the new kickoff. rule. Now there are hardly any opportunities for runbacks, which creates additional space from kickoff, to kneel-down, to huddle, to snap for me to consume...No, I don't think I'll tell you how much. The season has only started; there is no telling.

As for basketball, there is less time to eat except at halftimes, time-outs, or when a player is shooting freethrows, and freethrows can be significant especially if the game is tight, so you don't want to be distracted by eating. Now, there are certain foodies who will not allow something like watching the game interfere with their food intact. In Oracle arena you can find them in the halls loading up their food trays, talking with friends, on their cell phones, talking or texting, while the game is going on and trying to catch a snippet of the action on the television screens on the walls. These are not really foodies; they are entertainment gluttons.

OK, let's move on to the next tier of popular sports in America. Golf is probably the next most popular foodie sport. There is a lot of whispering going on, which lends itself to eating. In the old days before TV turned on its smarts, golf was so slow, it clearly rivaled baseball for most eating time allowed. But today, the camera switches neatly and quickly from hole to hole that an avid golfing fan and devoted foodie finds he or she must make a choice between dipping the chip in the guacamole or missing a spectacular chip from the sand trap onto the cup for an eagle. Watching on the course itself, you could consume a lot of food that is if the club allows picnic baskets or pizza deliveries.

If I was  hockey fan, I'd lose a lot of weight. The puck is moving too fast and the action is too intense for much food consumption. A foodie could get an ulcer trying to watch hockey while eating. Weight Watchers might want  to look into sponsoring hockey.

You can eat watching tennis, but you do so at your peril. Here's the problem. Just as you're about to cram a hotdog into your mouth the ball changes direction. Naturally your head follows, (this is called the follow the ball rule for spectators), and so does your mouth. The dog does not. It collides with your cheek; mustard and relish dribble down your chin and onto your white shirt. (There used to be a wear-white rule in tennis.)

Soccer is a sneaky sport. It's extremely hard to eat while watching soccer because the action is continuous, and there are no time outs allowed. However, recognizing the need for their fans to swallow a little beer and take a bite of whatever it is they bite on in those foreign stands, the players accommodate them by faking injuries. Even so, soccer fans to do not take advantage. In soccer food plays a secondary role to the chanting and swaying of arms. You can hardly eat while your arms are linked to your neighbor's, and you're singing at the top of your lungs.

There are lots of other sports to consider, water polo for example and luge. People who watch the Polo of the horsie kind wouldn't be caught dead eating while watching a match. Perhaps a gin and tonic or two, but certainly nothing as vulgar as hotdogs. Events such as track meets lend themselves to eating, but you don't find many foodies attending. Like the athletes competing, track fans have that lean and hungry look Shakespeare was talking about.

What sport did I leave out? Boxing. Too violent. Blood does nothing if not curb the appetite. Can you imagine trying to eat and watching that cut above bozo's eye opening into a canyon. Volley ball, same deal as tennis unless it's beach volleyball in which case the food issue becomes a gender issue. Male foodies know that they will not eat much while watching women players. It's the bathing suits. Ditto female foodies watching men. So it's stick to your gender if you want to eat.

I shouldn't forget bowling, the problem is that there are never enough seats in a bowling alley to seat enough foodies. So most foodie bowling fans simply pass on watching and head for the chips and peanuts in the bar. Race car devotees can't really be considered foodies as they do not eat anything that is not deep fried and arrive at the event already overweight. Watching a bicycle race does not count, although generally speaking it provides a foodie fan time to make reservations at a restaurant close to the racing venue, to eat, drink, and still have time to saunter out to the road to see the pack sail by. At that point, the foodie is able to return to the restaurant for desert, or if in France for a slice of the local cheese, a pear, and a petite verre of port.

Badminton and table tennis? Bad sports for foodies. Watching these faster-than-light sports is like watching humming birds. You can't get any food in edgewise.Now, fishing, that's a foodie sport.

Fishing in Winter    by Ralph Burns

A man staring at a small lake sees
his father cast light line out over
the willows. He's forgotten his
father has been dead for two years
and the lake is where a blue fog
rolls, and the sky couldn be, if it
were black or blue or white
the backdrop of all attention.

He wades out to join the father,
following where the good strikes
seem to lead. It's cold. the shape
anything else - rise on a small lake,
the Oklahoma hills, blue scrub -
a shape already inside a shape,
two songs, two breaths on the water.

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