Debating William & Mary, sports and culture since 2011. Updated every Wednesday.

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Beach

In Long form, Soccer on July 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm

The Saturday twilight, cold and fading,  shown through the plate glass window behind the offering table. The church was called the Star of the Sea and smelled of the salt air.

“A lot of you grew up under Vatican two, so you don’t remember how it was during World War One,” the priest said. It was the feast of Corpus Christi and the homilie was about a Russian priest in a Nazi concentration camp that would perform mass every Sunday. Before Vatican two, Catholics supposedly fasted for twenty four hours before receiving the Eucharist.

“Nowadays, you only have to fast one hour before receiving the Eucharist,” the priest said. “The catholic church saw how people were going to mass and sitting in the pews but were not getting up for communion.”

The parishioners looked well fed and tanned. Four sections of pews, two in the middle and one on each side of the alter, giving the alter a theater in the round feel, were filled with tourists on vacation. Adolescent boys in mesh shorts and cotton t-shirts sitting next to mothers with sun-baked rolls of fat gently spilling out of light pastoral blouses. Little girls with light, rubber flip flops making cluck-clack, cluck-clack noises on the baby blue floor tiles as they walked down the aisle to find their seats. Everyone’s hair stringy and straw-like, as if they just got out of the hotel pool or the ocean an hour or so before. Read the rest of this entry »

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Midnight in America

In Culture on July 31, 2011 at 5:38 pm

There’s a point during the recently opened Woody Allen extravaganza Midnight In Paris when Owen Wilson, embodying the idealistic protagonist, expels a brief, but passionate rant against the low brow of American culture. In a highly effective 15 seconds, he manages to harangue the cliched, mass-produced Hollywood movie climate, avaricious Wall Street corporations, George W. Bush, and the spread of the Tea Party all in an involuntarily-emitted discharge that laments the downfall of romance and nostalgia in our society in a clear us versus them dichotomy. The rant is not so much aggressive as entirely natural; it’s clear the lines come straight from the mouth (or pen) of Woody Allen and it’s as if he cannot even imagine a world in which he could hold back that opinion. With emotions spurred by the interwoven scenes of an idealized contemporary Paris, it’s likely that 90% of Allen’s audience(i) would be ready to join in those sentiments with a kind of culturalistic fervor.

Upon exiting the theater, I really had one and only thought to share with my companions: “Woody Allen really is turning into the new Michael Bay.” Read the rest of this entry »

Introduction

In Baseball on July 31, 2011 at 5:01 pm

In the past, I have written about gods and have sometimes done that here. I do not worship gods but I like to know they are there.”

— James Salter, Burning the Days

“Hey man, how are you?” Chris Tillman asked.

He was taller than I expected. I remember watching him on television when he was a rookie and thinking him sinewy and stretched out, like a liberal arts science professor. I remember taking off early from work to watch Tillman’s first start when he was called up as a rookie. Tillman, for me, represented the promise of hope.

“I’m okay. Hey would you be interested in being interviewed for a notebook I’m writing?”

It is surprising how little I remember from Chris Tillman’s first start. In my mind, I see him standing on the mound, tall and skinny in the Orioles’ home whites, preparing to throw a 94 mph fastball or a table-dropping curve to fellow rookie Matt Wieters behind the plate. I had forgotten, that Wieters did not play in that game. Greg Zaun, fossilized and forgettable, did. Read the rest of this entry »

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