Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Silent Elephant In The Room - Angelo Lawford - 6/22/2011

The Silent Elephant in the Room
Written by: Angelo Lawford
Date posted: 6/22/2011

Houston is on the cusp of yet another world class soccer event set to take Reliant Stadium by storm. Yet there has been a seemingly deafening decibel of silence in promoting this event on our big 4 local sports radio stations. Picture it, Sunday June 5th, game 3 of the NBA Finals is being played as the Dallas Mavericks host the Miami Heat. This game touted to the be the biggest sporting event of the weekend in the country if not the world.
Enter the CONCACAF Gold Cup kick off game Sunday June 5th. The game being played in the exact same city and being played at the exact same time as game 3 of the NBA Finals. Mexico vs. El Salvador is the tilt. The Dallas, Texas wonder stadium known as "Jerry World" is filled to it's capacity in facilitating this event. There is a sea of Mexico green and red in the stands. It is a virtual home game for Mexico's El Tri. Mexico delights their fans with a 5-0 victory over the opponent. El Chicharito proves why he was so highly coveted by Manchester United with a hat trick worthy of the highest praise. The sports world behemoth that is known as soccer states its case as to why it reigns supreme on the sports totem pole. Order had been restored. But it fell upon mostly deaf ears and blind eyes in regard to acceptance by the majority of the local media.
Mexico vs. El Salvador 
On my local sports stations that provide me with my supposed sports information daily, there was not a peep to be heard about the greater game played in Dallas on this Sunday of June 5th when it came to the following Monday morning weekend review commentary. Even though I understand that it may not be priority for much of the general public according to their "perceived" demographic in our Houston market, to be sports knowledge professionals and sports aficionados and not reference such a high profile game for the most global of sports when actually played on American soil and in our case, right up I-45 seems to lack a bit of professionalism if not the inclusion of nepotism.
I know that the majority of the American sporting media has a continued ability to choose not to grasp or wrap their head around what makes soccer the most recognized sport globally. In fact, with the likes of Jim Rome and his national and local radio host minions, they have managed to convince a good portion of the general sporting American public that regardless of soccer being the world standard in sport, it should not even be considered to be a sport on our side of the pond. So there is no need for coverage because theoretically, no one cares. That obliviousness, ignorance, and arrogance would be comical if it weren't so dangerous.

Maybe the intent in suppressing the coverage of the sport is to throw the public off of the scent and disguise the fact that most of the sporting media has limited knowledge at best of the important figures and events of the sport . Which would in turn compensate for their possible lack of being well rounded professionals. It is a go to technique. How serious can you take a sports knowledge professional that knows nothing about the most important of the sports in the world wide market place? You wouldn't vote for a politician whose knowledge of The Constitution doesn't include the Bill of Rights would you? If you don't have knowledge of the most basic and obvious of principles, you can't be considered to be a serious candidate or in media terms, a well rounded professional.

What makes that philosophy seem to be so sinister outside of its possible "harmless" intent is that it is an extension of a philosophy that has plagued our culture from its very existence. Our culture has a history of using defamation and oppression as the backbone for promototing perceived superiority and eliminating the presumption of inferiority. Maybe it is a bit of an over reaction to say the defamation of soccer in our society is the same as considering a slave to be 3/5 of a person when it came to the right to vote or Jim Crowe. After all, soccer is a sport and it is not essential to the survival of life. BUT, the philosophy is a branch from the same tree. The tree of social stagnation and slowness of change and fear of anything that can disrupt the comfort of the current status quo. Especially when you consider the fact that soccer is a foreign soil dominated game. Is there a statute of limitations or a boundary of what avenues of life this sort of negative philosophy can't be applied? In this case we are lucky that it is just sports.
It is not necessary to promote the upcoming Gold Cup semi finals that Reliant Stadium will host on Wednesday, June 22nd. The multicultural and diverse flow of the city has already guaranteed a sell out for this double header event. Which will be in spite of the dominating silence that is the standard for our local sports programs. Reliant Stadium will be full to the brim. Mexico will host Honduras and the Mexican contingent will call Reliant home for this night and bring forth their traditions in the finest glory. Hondurans will do the same. Team USA will host Panama and the American red, white and blue, will make it feel as if Reliant Stadium was built solely to host world class soccer games and not NFL games. It even isn't necessary to promote the individual players that will play come Wednesday. There will be more Chicharito and Marquez and Donovan and Dempsey jerseys than anyone can count. Neither is it necessary to promote the nuances or the intricacies of the game. It is not necessary to force the game on anyone in any capacity. But what is necessary and what must be promoted, is the thought of an open mind and escaping the idea of making choices by way of other people's subtle limitations. It is absolutely necessary to promote the fact that perception is not always equal to reality. For what ever the situation may be in life, don't deny yourself the opportunity to experience something or not experiencing something based on hear say or by way of someone else's dictation.

As Lamont would say, let me wrap it up. For many of us, the media doesn't only relay the message of the experience, the media is the experience. The media facilitates the flow of our relationships and direction of our experiences and choices. So we spend a good portion of our actual life experience living vicariously through the biases and misconceptions of stereotypes and agendas that the media presents and feeds us at the table. We it socially, ethnically, religiously, and politically. In this case, it is sports. If you can look past the preconceived notions of the sport and bring an open mind to the table, you might find it to be an experience worth having.

Angelo Lawford

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TyMo said...

let me start by saying I agree with your premise. There is a definite bias in the big media against soccer, and it mostly has to do with ratings and unfamiliarity with the sport. That said, I know it will sound nitpicky and probably a little bitchy to point this out but your execution in this post was flawed. There were several things that took me right out of this post because they were inaccurate or mis-used.

I'm not clear why you chose to use the term 'nepotism' to describe the omission of soccer coverage from major sports media outlets. Nepotism is favor given to family or close friends in a business or political setting not favoritism based on familiarity or interest, which I believe to be the case with hosts largely ignoring soccer.

Your sentence: "Is there a statute of limitations or a boundary of what avenues of life this sort of negative philosophy can't be applied?"
Doesn't really make sense to me. A Statute of Limitations is the amount of time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. Are you suggesting that there is a set amount of time that soccer can be ignored and then all of a sudden the media at large will begin to pay attention to it?

Last, and probably most egregiously, your understanding of the 3/5 compromise is lacking as well, and your post would've been better served by leaving out your reference to it and slavery in general. Considering a slave 3/5 of a man had nothing to do with the voters rights of freedmen or Jim Crow. I think your instinct was probably to leave out this comparison since you preface it by saying it's an over reaction and you probably should've let the side of you that wanted to dump that line win. There's never really a good outcome when you compare something, especially something as trivial as the coverage a certain sport receives, to slavery. It just smacks of sensationalism and detracts from some of the good points that you made. After all, I agree with you and it's pretty much all I can think about from your post.

robnemar said...

I appreciate the feed back of your comment. I thought "Neptosim" was appropriate even though I was hesitant to use the word. But it just made sense to me since the point I wanted to prove was that there is a bit of favoritism to their comfort zone as far as sports go in how they choose not to respond to what the facts show about the sports world regardless of what they think our Houston sports market demographic demands. Anything they reference that regards the world of sport never includes soccer. Whether it is discussion about a player or a coach or anything in regard to sports and soccer is what I would call the pinnacle..... It was hard to not let my emotions get in the way of conveying my message. But I don't think I would take back anything that I said. I believe in what I said. Thanks for taking the time out to read what I wrote.

Greg Koch said...

Done with this blog. Don't make any of the top threes and now I don't seem to know anything about football. I believe that while there is alot of complaining about ass-kissing over at 610, the authors of this blog need a long look in the mirror. Out. GK

HMW said...

Greg get that trash out of here, there's a consensus of you being one of the football minds or minds period in this town. Craig and I were rapid firing the TOP 3 and it was an omission on my part nothing personal. We are currently updating the TOP 3 to add some we didn't get