Over the last decade, I have read several sports commentators lament what they call the “N.B.A.-ization” of school and professional sports. By this, they mean the multi-media, flashy entertainment and commercial complex that has been built around the games, where athletes have their own theme songs, various plays have their own large screen “whoosh” animations and soundtracks, and the atmosphere at the ballpark or stadium resembles more a tacky, low brow yet epic brawl of the World Wrestling Federation than an old fashioned match between talented athletes who excel at their particular sport. Indeed, George Will must weep every time M.L.B. plays “We Are the Champions.” What happened to sports as sports?
Maybe, that is why golf and tennis have become more mainstream. It was not simply that Tiger and the Williams sisters made their sports more accessible to the younger and darker colored. Rather, golf and tennis remain some of the few remaining sports where the spectator experience remains focused on the sport. The “N.B.A.-ization” process has reduced athletic competition to the maturity and aesthetic level of adolescent boys and left everyone else behind.
However, in a Hemingway sort of way, I have some sort of perverse respect for the vicious who take their vice to superlative levels. So, allow me to share a few game opening videos of the Alaska Nanooks hockey team. They are a masterful pandering to the American teenage boy’s soul.
A.D. 2007-2008 season:
A.D. 2009-2010 season:
I have read elsewhere that the creator must be a Michigan alumnus, given the targets. Maybe. Anyway, the baser part of me loves these bears—funny, ridiculous, over the top, and . . . totally awesome!