December 6, 2007
The Deep Blue G
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Director has made a living writing TV scripts, and given that doing so is generally more lucrative than writing books, or writing for a newspaper, Director will most likely continue to do that for as long as they let him. But I wish that weren't the case.
On some level, "I Dream in Blue" is also about a world in which Director might use writing a book to create a new life for himself. That lets Director return to who he once was, not only as a Giants fan, but as a writer; that allows him to write not about imaginary dramas, but instead about the drama of being himself.
I asked Director whether his restless-leg syndrome had improved since finishing the book. It had not. And I asked whether the child inside him, having had another season in the sun, had been put to rest. Director confided that he had thought that by revisiting with him, he would exorcise him. But the opposite was true; "I haven't been able to get him to go away," Director told me.
That Director's personal saga had no tidy, happy ending made me ponder the difference between our own lives and those we imagine to occur between the covers of a book, or on a sports field, for that matter.
The more I pondered this gap, the more I wondered: Why are sports hailed as "the national pastime"? Why do sports continue to be the most highly rated entertainment programs and such media company profit centers?
"I Dream in Blue" led me to the following theory: People are passionate, obsessed, by sports because they are events whose outcomes can not be determined -- while the games themselves are punctuated by moments of grace, beauty, brute force, elation and victory, as well as boredom, frustration, depression and loss. They linger with the viewers for a moment, and sometimes forever. The statistics, strategies, arguments and conversation arising out of sports are but efforts to know the unknowable. And as such, are endlessly debatable, and for some, endlessly fascinating. But games end, as do seasons.
We admire the athletes not only because they stand in the arena in our places, doing what we can not, not only literally on the playing field, but also metaphorically regarding all those unknowables we seek to avoid. They act as unreflective as we imagine our childhood selves to be (although their reality, like ours, even in our childhoods, are far more complicated).
More importantly, they fascinate because they go on, from defeat as much as from victory, and even after their careers are over and despite their imperfections. They have the capacity to move on, and change even as we are stuck in who we are. That is why we fixate and freeze athletes and sports teams in their moments of greatness. At some fundamental level, they are able to treat what others care so deeply about, as a sport and a game.
We wish and dream (sometimes in blue) that we could do the same.
Tom Teicholz is a film producer in Los Angeles. Everywhere else, he's an author and journalist who has written for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Interview and The Forward. His column appears every other week.
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