The University of Akron recently announced it will open a 5,200-square-foot e-sports facility for its varsity, club and recreational teams in October. On that same day, the school announced plans to phase out 80 degree programs because of declining enrollment numbers.
I mean, you wouldn’t convert the reference room at the campus library into a poker room because hardly anybody is reading anymore, would you?
WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?
The year that Couch Slouch was born – this was in the second half of the 20th century; I don’t recall the exact date – America reveled in Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Fats Domino, drive-in theaters, soda fountains, hula hoops, sock hops, comic strips, home-cooked meals and 25-cents-a-gallon gas.
We were happy.
There were no blue and red states.
There was no bullying on Facebook.
Bicycles were left in front yards, unlocked.
Father knew best (well, not really).
World Series games were a big, big deal, under the sun.
Middle America was a Norman Rockwell painting; in fact, Norman Rockwell was still painting. There were no mock drafts.
There were no antidepressants, because NO ONE WAS DEPRESSED.
(Okay, so some of this is airbrushed reality. There were problems; they just weren’t in your face every minute of every day.)
Then came the 1960s; protests.
Then came the 1970s; drugs.
Then came the 1980s; cable TV.
Nothing is worse than cable TV. We stopped reading, we stopped talking, we stopped growing. Heck, there was a 17-month period in which I stopped going outside.
Some time after this came the Internet, and that was that – game, set and match on civilized discourse.
(Social media? They should call is “antisocial media.” Sad!)
People don’t disagree anymore, they just disengage. We all crawl into our ideological foxholes; everyone lives in an echo chamber now. People no longer talk to each other, they talk at each other; if others have a different opinion, they must be imbeciles.
In the midst of all this, there no longer is right and wrong, just winners and losers; we keep score by money and muscle. Morals, gone. Standards, gone. Ideals, gone.
Sports, of course, reflect society. For starters, sports are oversized in our culture because we make it so. We prop up athletic achievement over academic achievement, then wonder how our educational levels have declined.
Parents scream at youth-game officials making $25 a game. Talk-radio hosts orchestrate daily electronic lynch mobs on issues large and small. Twit-wits tweet venom and hate around the clock.
The games should be an outlet, not an obsession. They should provide joy, not anger. They’re just games. Before we have another website dedicated to referees’ mistakes, shouldn’t we have one dedicated to, say, ways to improve transportation services for the disabled and elderly?
“Embrace Debate” is actually “Let’s All Shout About Nothing” and do it again tomorrow.
Nobody ever puts themselves in the other person’s shoes, which, in my case, are slippers.
Here’s my fair-minded, far-fetched solution:
I have always contended that if there were a law – and this law would never exist – that required everybody to marry out of their ethnicity, race or religion, we’d all be more at peace with one another and quality of life in these United States would improve by 23.8 percent within a generation.
Ain’t gonna happen? Okay, let’s start simpler – you can only live with someone who roots for a different team. Michigan grads can only marry Ohio State grads, Yankees fans can only marry Red Sox fans. And so on.
It’s a beginning.
Ask The Slouch
Q. Sports commentators constantly use the phrase “at the end of the day…” Could you please start using “at the beginning of the night” in your comments? You are a trendsetter. YOU can do this. (E.K. Trone; Annandale, Va.)
A. At the beginning of the night, I hit the mute button to ensure I’ll be stress-free at the end of the day.
Q. I read that Tiger Woods eats peanut butter and bananas on pumpernickel while shooting a round of golf. Is that Slouch-approved? (John Bernard; Terre Haute, Ind.)
A. I love peanut butter and bananas and pumpernickel, but not together. When I bowl, it’s Fritos and a Yuengling; when I get home, it’s a PB&J.
Q.Have you ever heard of anything as bizarre as Vontae Davis’s I’m-out-of-here-at-halftime routine during the Chargers-Bills game? (Mark Singer; Paramus, N.J.)
A. Actually, I can’t tell you how many times I have considered retirement during a “Column Intermission.”
Q. If I want to know what’s actually happening in a baseball game that ESPN broadcasts, what do you recommend? (Joe Salo; Latham, N,Y.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!
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