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The Super Bowl is the mansion high on the hill overlooking the beach, floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides, eight bedrooms, each thoroughly mirrored, hot tubs inside and out, big screen, high def tvs blinking lasciviously at each other across expansive, indoor vistas. Air Force jets streak overhead, mechanical thunder across the sky.
The NBA Championship? It’s the sunken living room, circular beds upstairs…all the circles extra long, extra wide, if that can be said of circles, jet skis for everybody in the cavernous garage, six-foot speakers throbbing loudly enough across the first floor to shake the rattling balls off the half-dozen billiard tables in the subterranean rec room.
The World Series is the Victorian house with the lace curtains drawn. The stairs creak. Former occupants split it up into oddly-shaped apartments, and its repair and updating are incomplete, though the graphics guys are on it. On the last rack of the wine cellar in the poorly lit basement, there are dusty, vintage bottles bearing labels dated 1894, 1912, and 1927…grand World Series years, gone and largely forgotten before the NFL achieved even novelty status, before the jump shot made its first appearance.
The Super Bowl is a great and growling SUV, loaded. Nobody involved in its maintenance can tell you how many miles it gets to a gallon. They don’t care. At its approach, the other cars on the highway scatter and seem to cringe.
The NBA Championship is a whippet of a car, a red Ferrari, perhaps, or a Maserati, sleek beyond futuristic, the embodiment of cool. Gas? Forget it. This one runs on dreams.
If the World Series is a car, it’s a four door Chevy with a manual transmission, and you still have to adjust the side view mirrors by reaching out the window to twist them. But maybe it’s not a car. Maybe it’s a train, and not the express. It stops at every junction, wheezes loudly, and rolls on down its track, just as it has been doing since before Calvin Coolidge threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The old people remember when the whistle in the autumn distance meant the only sports event that could claim the attention of almost everybody was about to arrive again.
Maybe it’s worse now. Maybe it’s better. Certainly it’s different.
This program aired on October 22, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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