I’m sure I’m not the only Classicist who gets some of his sports news from the Bleacher Report, but I might be the only one who caught not one, not two, but three Classical references in Bleacher Report items over the past while. Back on May 21 (sorry … it’s been sitting in my box for a while), Brandan Fahey opened his commentary on the Magic-Cavaliers game thusly:
Orlando just stole our Helen—home-court advantage.
In a stunning loss, the Cavaliers were dominated by a juggernaut. They were beaten and beaten badly.
Shooting 55 percent from the floor? How nasty is that? Not in our house—well, actually it was in our house. Orlando’s young princes Hector and Paris (Howard and Lewis) ran away with the most coveted thing that Cleveland posses—home-court advantage. Its what we played the last 82 games for. Aaaagh!
Oh well, as Homer put it, a thousand Greek warships descended upon the waiting Trojans. Orlando, unlike the real Trojans, do not have a wall to hide behind. Or at least, I don’t think they do.
However, Cleveland does have and Odysseus—and an Achilles on their side.
On the same day, Greg Caggiano was pondering NHL trade rumours:
One of the greatest thinkers in human history—the historian, the epistemologist, the philosopher. The man known as Socrates. Although he died around four-hundred B.C, I’m pretty sure that he knew what was coming in the later centuries to come even though the sport of hockey wasn’t even an idea until thousands of years later.
Of all his great achievements and works, Socrates is perhaps best known for a quote that said, “All I know is that I know nothing,” and that is how our Greek friend relates directly to not just trade rumors involving the NHL, but for all sports.
More recently, on June 12, Dayne Duranti was pondering the question of why Americans need football, inter alia:
I believe human beings are inherently violent. It’s not anything that we can control. It is subconscious, it is dark, and it is real. Football pleases our subconscious violence in a way that no other sport can quench.
Like the Romans and the Lions, the coliseums are packed every time. No one can (or wants to) really answer why we have this inner need for carnage, to see a grown man unload on another, nor do we care. It is pleasing and soothing during troubled times.
Outside of the cliche involved in the latter reference, I wouldn’t mind seeing more Classical references in the sports pages besides Achilles’ injuries …