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Tales of Ultimate Fighting, weenies and Tiger ...


For a guy who doesn’t mind being linked to the odd childish and silly things – I do edit a magazine about baseball cards, after all – you would think I would take great pains to avoid sounding like an old geezer,

Maybe I do at that, but I don’t hesitate to offer observations like this: There’s no place in our ostensibly civilized society for things like Ultimate Fighting or competitive eating. Odd linkage, sure, but there it is.

To be consistent I probably should include boxing in the pronouncement, since many more people have died in the squared circle than in those grotesque Ultimate Fighting stages. But I also know that boxing is called the “Sweet Science” for good reason, and that though it shares many of the same barbaric elements as Ultimate Fighting, there is a good deal of beauty and even majesty to the sport at times. In Ultimate Fighting, I see only the barbarism.

And I concede I am stupendously late to the dance, this question of the suitability of this “sport” seeming to have been debated and decided long ago. Swell.

All I know is that when I watch it – a result of compulsive channel surfing, not by design – I cringe at what I am seeing and I come away convinced that a civilized society ought not put official sanction to it.

Such horror is not precisely what I feel when I watch somebody shove 60 hot dogs down his throat in 10 minutes, but I do feel embarrassed that I live in a society that decides such monstrous excess constitutes entertainment of some fashion.

This is not an anti-weenie thing, either. I love Nathan’s franks, which I can’t get out here in the Midwest, and frequently settle for Hebrew National, which is not the same thing. I’ll go to great lengths to get a great weenie – try a Clare & Carl’s Texas Red Hot in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and you’ll see what I mean – but that’s not the same thing as rooting on the sidelines as we exult gluttony at these freak shows.

I don’t think my old friends at Clare & Carl’s will object to my views on competitive hot dog eating: they encourage having the extra Red Hot or two, but nothing so excessive as that Nathan’s debacle.

As for my friends at Topps, which makes Ultimate Fighting cards, I assume we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Off Topic: I saw where Tiger Woods player in a pro-am event in Ireland after the AT & T PGA event where he never contended, and I got a kick out of a reference in the story about a little Irish girl from County Cork in a pink windbreaker and a red ribbon in her hair.

Six-year-old Ava Mulhall – from the same county in Ireland as my great grandparents – scooted under the security rope and onto the fairway and planted herself in front of Tiger. As is his custom – and probably understandable given his situation – he had studiously avoided signing for fans, but cornered in this fashion added his name to a souvenir program that already included nearly two dozen other golfers.

My God, doesn’t she know that she’d have been better off getting Tiger’s signature individually rather than mixed in with the PGA riffraff?

At the end of that Associated Press story, it noted that Tiger has struggled with his short game, repeatedly hitting the ball too softly or hooking putts wide. And then this: “He also accidentally struck a spectator with his tee shot on the par-5, 551-yard 12th.”

Really? It’s come to this has it, when we are writing about the disgraced Woods? A writer felt a need to add the qualifier “accidentally” when alluding to one of his 300-yard bombs off the tee?

Silly me, I would have just assumed it was an accident.

Shameless Plug – If I can take the space to try to sell Clare & Carl's weenies, I probably better accord a bit of salesmanship to our some of our literary morsels as well.

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