Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stick and Ball, Stick and Ball, Stick and Ball

Wherein should it be "Moron Mike Seate" or "More on Mike Seate?" It gets so confusing

Before you read what's below, you must read Only mildly sports related at Fire Joe Morgan.


Let's not get sidetracked with the unfairness of HB 137 and twisting around the Death Race 2000 like statistics of highway fatalities; let's get back to celebrating the prose stylings of Mike Seate. This is a guy who uses the term "stick-and-ball" frequently and is not ashamed to do so.

Someone who not only uses his mid-market newspaper column to support and defend his hobby, but has written numerous books about this hobby. In fact, for Choppers (Drive. Ride. Fly), one reader was so enthused as to write:
"Seate's writing is lackluster at its best and painfully awkward most of the time, reading like the first draft of a work being produced on contract and on deadline. In three of the early vignettes in the book we are informed that "Colorado's Arlin Fatland has what you might call a wicked sense of humor," and that "Pat Kennedy of Tombstone, Arizona, is what you might call seriously old school," and that "Nothing about Kodlin's motorcycles is what you might call tradition- al." These excerpts are what you might call bad writing; the type of tedious template prose so devoid of creativity and enthusiasm for the subject matter that any editor worth the name would kick it back in disgust and demand another go. That's assuming there was an editor involved at all, and judging from the wealth of typos and awkward usages found in this book, there's little reason to believe there was. A truly ironic typo comes early in the going when in Seate's acknowledgments he pens this gem: "to Almetta, for never letting us forget the value of the wirtten word." Yes, folks, it says "wirtten." How's that for value?"

Damn fine value I say. People, let's stay focused.

And it's not just Mike Seate pimping (am I still allowed to say that?) mechanized competition over, uh, sticks and balls, here's NASCAR guy Gregg Leary:
Racing IS an amazing sport. Most stick and ball sports like baseball, basketball and football only require ONE ball. Racing, in most cases, requires TWO. As the T-Shirt says…”Racing…No Strikes…All Balls.”

Stick and ball sports only have TWO teams on the field at one time. NASCAR has 43 TEAMS on the same field at the same time. That would be more than the whole LEAGUE in the NBA, NFL, or MLB on the field at once.

Every race is like an All Star Game. The top athletes in racing compete against each other at EVERY event…not just once a year like in the stick and ball All Star Games.

In racing every RACE counts. There are only 36 so each one matters. In Baseball there are 162 games and in the NBA 82…plus the playoffs…so losing a few is no big deal. In stick and ball sports there is ONE winner and ONE loser in every event. In racing there is ONE winner and 42 LOSERS each race.

How insecure do you have to be to promote your own sport by denigrating another? Answer -- very. Minimum of 8.5 on a 10 point scale. Not this is rare, most arguments do take the form of "A is better because B sucks."

Both Gregg and Mike refer to football as a "stick and ball" sport. Unless they're counting the yard markers as the sticks I'm kinda thinking their sports knowledge is not well-rounded. So for future reference, here's a list of sports that may properly (even though we'll still laugh in your face for using the term) be referred to as stick and ball or stick-and-ball -- I'm agnostic on the hyphenation (feel free to discuss that) -- because...wait for it... they include a stick and a ball.

Stick & Ball Sports
  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Pool and billiards, variations of
  • Cricket
  • Rugby. What the hell is Rugby doing there? I think this is where I meant to write lacrosse -- because I initially skipped it and had to add it in -- but I apparently hit myself on the head and typed rugby while in a stupor. I apologize. In a misguided effort to save face I almost changed it to Australian Rules Football since it has those refs in the chester the molester raincoats waving flags whenever some scores a goal. Did I mention the flags were on sticks? Because without the sticks they could just as well be waving a towel.
  • Field Hockey
  • Polo
  • Bandy
  • Broomball
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Tennis (Does badminton qualify? There is a ball at the end of the shuttlecock)
  • Ping pong (Or table tennis if you're holding a ball with a stick up your ass)
  • Racquetball
  • Squash
  • Quidditch


Blogger XWL said...

If badminton qualifies, you could genearlize these into 'sports that involve a stick and some other object which usually resembles a ball, but not always'. I'd have to add shuffleboard and ice hockey to the list, and could even make the case for horeshoe tossing (which in essence is throwing the 'ball' at the stick, rather than the other way around). Even bowling could be argued as being a cousin to 'stick and ball' sports (hurling one ball towards a bunch of sticks), though no matter how broadly you define the category there is no way you can include football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, etc. to the list as those sports employ direct manual or footual manipulation of the ball without a mediating stick/racquet like device.

But that's just an example of how all attempts at developing taxonomies of any kind tend to devolve into maddening minutiae.

Hairs can be split at the atomic level, and if need be, even finer, right down to their quarks.

2/10/2008 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I gave much consideration to bowling and felt I should leave this one to the Stick and Ball World Organization. I'm leaning towards no, since the pins are targets and not actually used by the player.

Pucks, while they may roll are not spheres and cannot ever be a ball.

2/10/2008 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger XWL said...

Shockingly, the SBWO doesn't seem to have a website, so contacting them will be more difficult than normal.

If pucks are out, then I think shuttlecocks (heh, heh, he said birdie) should be out, too, I think.

And just noticed my spelling of 'horeshoe', I'm thinking now that'd be a great sport, Whoreshoe Tossing could be pretty awesome. It would be a mixed discipline event that would include tossing by hand for accuracy (say at a target shaped like a pimps head), as well as distance (measured in '75 Coupe De Ville lengths), and also by foot (the old, unhook the strap in back, then fling the clear plastic heeled monstrosity with just a swift leg kick).

There's even an obvious official drink and sponsor for the event.

2/11/2008 02:49:00 PM  

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