Sports fans love war metaphors. The gridiron is their battlefield. Supporters don their war paint before the big game, gnaw on grilled red meat, chant their bloodthirsty songs. We drape our athletes in combat virtues; we laud their bravery, sacrifice, ingenuity, brotherhood.
Strangely, I can’t recall the last war that had a time limit. Perhaps the penalty shootouts in soccer recall a classical era in warfare, when armies lined up, met in the middle, and cut each other down to a man. Unfortunately, times have advanced considerably.
For sports to earn their combat metaphors, we must update the rules.
Let’s abandon time limits completely. For any team or athlete to win, the opposition must submit. Games will continue indefinitely until players cannot continue due to exhaustion. Fan supporters may join the game as their players wilt, an amateur reserve of weekend warriors.
Games of soccer would last for days until the coach throws his tie onto the pitch. Basketball games would end with scores like 3856 – 505; yet another crushing defeat for the Knicks.
And, crucially, fans of both the Dodgers and the Giants would shake their heads after a grueling 5 week marathon ends in mutually agreed detente. What was the point, they’d ask themselves.
What was the bloody point?