23 August 2009

Sixteen possible explanations for the continual failure of American relay teams to avoid disqualification

We're all familiar with the impression that socio-cultural factors have on the way sport is practised in a given country. For instance, the success the Dutch have had in reclaiming land from the North Sea has given their footballers the arrogance which periodically leads to members of the national team not talking to each other, and telling each other they're not talking to each other. And Prof. Sapir-Whorf showed us how language has shaped the playing styles of the world's great footballing nations.

Using this method, and following yet another relay disqualification for the US ― this time for making a changeover outside the designated area ― can we look into the soul of America and figure out what keeps going wrong? Here is some, like, way true stuff about the States which may explain things.

* Imperial arrogance: They feel like they don't have to learn the rules like the rest of us, is that what it is?

* Those damn Frenchies (I): The judge was French! Okay, Belgian. Whatever. Same difference.

* Those damn Frenchies (II): The word 'baton' is French. USA Track & Field petitioned to have the name changed to 'liberty tube', but this was rejected by the IAAF. Now American runners drop the baton once a year in symbolic protest.

* Invasion impulse: They just can't help venturing into other people's lanes.

* Manifest destiny: Moreover, it is the right and duty of every American to venture into other people's lanes.

* Wanton abuse of the English language: If they can't educate themselves to speak the Queen's English, how can they be expected to carry a stick around a running track? Why can't they just leave it be? Stop being so innovative!

* They're just too damn fast to get the changeover right: That'll be the steroids.

* Americans are all, like, soooooo fat: Their chubby digits can't grip the baton properly.

* Some of the athletes probably come from the Deep South: So they probably lack opposable thumbs, if you know what I mean! You know, on account of them sticking to their own? Know what I mean? Eh? Eh?...What do you mean, "are you Marcus Brigstocke?"? I really don't know what you're talking about...Okay, here's a joke about Lily Allen. Ready? (Clears throat) I'd like to punch Lily Allen right in her stupid face! Well? What did you think of― Hey! Come back...

* Lack of compulsory health insurance: The athletes can't run in a straight line, what with their rickets and all.

* All that "teamwork" and passing the baton from person to person: Doesn't that seem a bit commie to you?

* The athletes are sick of hearing the national anthem so many times already during the week: That'll be the steroids.

* All the times American teams did manage to avoid disqualification were faked in a Hollywood backlot: Before every championship, USA Track & Field try to get the organisers to run their fake footage instead of the real thing. This year, the Germans refused, in retaliation for the cancellation of NFL Europa. They loved that thing.

* Americans are all, like, soooooo stoopid: Duh.

* Karma: It's "football", you idiots!



Elliott 23/8/09 4:10 AM  

The saddest part about this post is that I ran the 4 X 400 relay in high school and the baton dropping issues/disqualifications were pervasive in track. We have too short an attention span and are not a detail-oriented country.

Collateral damage? Waaay too long a word for me to care. I got bored at "lat" and the rest kinda mumbled together.

NickDunmore 24/8/09 12:48 AM  

Oh God. Brigstocke. I could hear his voice.

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