Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Here We Go Round the Prickly Pear

I awoke Tuesday morning, took a nice walk in the brisk Fall air and returned home to enjoy morning coffee with a recap of the day's news. Little did I know that the world had ended the previous evening. It seems the football contest in Seattle concluded in such a way to cause immense weeping and gnashing of teeth in the nation's sports pages, blogosphere and social media outlets.

Of course, I found a clip of this latest example of the Decline of Civilization. My conclusion: yes, someone blew the call. This is not the first time an official's ruling has changed the outcome of a game. I can think of at least two examples from baseball: the Denkinger fiasco in the 1985 World Series and the non-fan interference call on Jeter's hit to the fence in the 1996 Playoffs (from which the Orioles have yet to recover). I am certain that there have been similar examples from football, but none spring to mind.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of pro football, finding it soulless, money-grubbing and entirely too time-consuming. As these are but my opinions, I agree that they are not intended to be factual statements. Still, I find this amusing.

It seems that the root cause of this situation is that the pros are using substitute officials, as there is a dispute with the organization representing the league's regular officials, resulting in a lock-out. The number I have heard bandied about is a $3 million difference between the league's position and that of the union. That, too, may not be a factual statement.

The lather continues its foment, with all sorts of people screaming for this strike/lockout/outrage to end. True confession: I am no fan of organized labor, due to my own life experiences. I will concede, however, that some good has come out of them and they do perform a critical role in certain fields of employment. This morning, I read that the governor of Wisconsin, perhaps the most famous foe that labor has at the moment, has come out in favor of settling this strike. Irony has a new face and its name is Scott Walker.

I will speculate that the onus of settlement rests upon the owners, hardly known for radical thought, social engineering or income redistribution, unless it results in padding their already hefty slice of the national income pie. Therefore, if fans of the game want the regular officials to be allowed to return to work, they should apply some pressure of their own and hit the owners with language that they understand. Some suggestions:

1. Don't go to the game this Sunday. I realize this is foolish, since most of the tickets have already been purchased, especially in those cities that traditionally sell out every game.

2. If you have to go to the game, carpool and park somewhere other than a stadium lot. Most owners receive a cut of the parking gate as a condition for gracing each city with the presence of their respective teams.

3. If you actually go into the stadium, don't buy any concessions. No beer, no hot dogs, no whatever it is they vend at stadia nowadays. Again, since owners get a cut of this revenue, this might take a bite as well.

4. Don't buy any beer that advertises during the football telecasts for a week or two. Hit the advertisers, they will put pressure on the owners.

I do realize that people will not give up the habits that have sprung up around the 12 minutes of action we are blessed to witness on Sundays. Even if they did so, it would probably have as little effect on the outcome as my decades-long boycott of Exxon. As for me, well, I just won't watch any game until they settle the thing. That'll show em.