Saturday, June 12, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The (Soccer) Ball is Round"

Belmont Club » The (Soccer) Ball is Round

Americans have a hard time understanding Japanese baseball, where the goal also seems to be not to win.  Sport is supposed to be a sublimation of combat, in a subset of the pop analysis that reduces everything to sex. English villages invented progenitors of Rugby to head off inter-village conflict. The theory being that getting sweaty followed by getting drunk makes men less likely to kill each other. Independently the Iroquois invented lacrosse and the Pashtuns? Invented Polo in the hope that beating the hell out of a ball could substitute for using a human head. The Toltecs seemed unclear on that point, as the Ball Court reliefs at Chichen Itza show. That may explain why despite their achievements in mathematics and engineering the peasants preferred to fade into the jungle before the Spanish showed up.

BTW, regarding the Ball Court, here is a pic of the carvings showing what happens to the loser. He is the guy kneeling on the right with blood spurting where his head should be.

While the battle of Waterloo may not have been won on the playing fields of Eton there are valuable lessons learned from sports. These include teamwork, planning, decisiveness, flexibility, and persistence.

Consider two events that happened on this date. 148 years ago on June 12, 1862 J.E.B. Stuart lead his cavalry on a raid that brought him clear around the Union army. 146 years ago U.S. Grant followed up his defeat at Cold Harbor by moving the Army of The Potomac to the South behind Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The two movements exactly two years apart roughly parallel each other. Each demonstrates principles associated with Sports. These include decisiveness and aggression. The ultimate triumph of the Union effort, as compared to the valiant but ultimately futile Southern gesture, demonstrates other sporting/military principles. These include planning in that the Union effort showed not only immediate technical competence intended for combat operations but also the result of following Hamilton's advice and organizing society over decades according to a Capitalist commercial and industrial model that best prepared it for war. Successful sports programs also reflect major investments over a period of time. The Union victory after Grant moved South also showed the qualities of calculated persistence and aggression. While both sides possessed these for the South they were insufficient, they were unable to sustain forward movement after Stuart's raid, as they were unable to sustain forward movement after Antietam and Gettysburg.

Defeatism was always present but the Union persevered. Victory happens when you defeat the enemy on his own ground. We can only win when we identify our enemies and defeat them. While we must persist and defeat domestic defeatists, as Lincoln did. We can only win by taking the fight to the enemy, as Lincoln, Grant, Bush and Petreaus did.

Two results of blogging by Bberry are missing paragraphs and typos.

It can reasonably be argued that having the masses paint their faces with national flags and occasionally engage in drunken brawls while they cheer teams, composed largely of foreigners, kicking balls around is preferable to recreating the horrors of the Somme. It may even be possible to prefer the Eurovision song contest to the siege of Verdun. What is less certain is that having the few thousand members of the aristocracy suit up in tin cans and slaughter each other was worse than the modern popular entertainment culture. That is the price of Democracy.

For the record I support country sports like fox hunting. I also enjoy watching Polo. Once I tried Water Polo but the horse didn't like it.

Note that 36 minutes after I preemptively ridiculed the point our latest emissary from Kos Kiddie land without a hint of irony raised the sports as sex issue. We need better fodder.

PA Cat and Bob,
Thank you.

“what kind of military will we have?”

Something on the order of the Dutch or Belgian military I would think. An inadequate general service tied down by unionization and political regulation, with a very small special forces cadre for use when the politicians need something to save their rapidly Islamifying bacon, and never to fear an augmenting "Civilian National Security Force, just as strong, just as well funded."

Thank you for the kind words.

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