Friday, February 05, 2010

Oh, and About That Sports Bar

First, they make an excellent salad.  This is no small thing in a part of the world deeply committed to the rule of pork in its various forms, washed down with bland cheese and potent pickled cabbage.  "Salad" usually means a few slices of cucumber, off to the side.  It's good cucumber, to be sure, but it does middle-aged digestion no real favors.  So we have a short list of places that will sell us a big old American-style meal-sized salad.  And, defying all the stereotypes, the sports bar near church is near the top.

So we braved the unwelcome aroma of tobacco, and the only a bit more welcome glare of jumbo televisions, to sit in the sports bar, eating salad and reading the Tauchnitz Editions anthology of modern poetry from 1931.  (A favorite because it completely excludes the reprehensible Father Hopkins).

But jumbo televisions can be awfully distracting.  Not to mention educational.  Here's what we learned from one today:  that in the world of women's track and field, American competitors can be distinguished from their European sisters at a glance (even apart from the giveaway skin color).  The Americans are steroidally muscled, and wear businesslike spandex two-piece costumes, with what we're told are called boy-cut shorts.

The European women are slender, so slender that one wonders how they hope to run against the Yankee Amazons.  But what struck us most is that they have taken to competing in extremely small bikinis.  So small that the word "thong" passed our lips on more than one occasion.  During the long-jump, if memory serves.

We realize that to many readers this will seem offensively sexist, and we imagine that the indispensable Ms. Hogan will howl for our heads, but we feel bound by our Boy Scout oath to tell the truth:  track and field has just become a much more interesting sport for us.

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