Where Did The Week Go…
Is nothing sacred anymore? For years the old men in my family have complained about the notion that sports are no longer about the game, but about the money being made. “Sports have become a business,” they would say and as I heard this as a young, naive teenager, I would ignore it and continue enjoying the fun of sports.
But the older I got and the more cynical I became, I began to notice and understand the “business of sports.” Watch a Nascar event and you’ll see cars and driver’s uniforms plastered with logos for soft drinks, retail stores and fast food restaurants. Just this morning when I was watching the British Open, I noticed the purple shirt Graeme McDowell was wearing had patches for MasterCard and Verizon on it.
Of course these are sports that rely heavily on sponsorships to drive their business. International sports, particularly soccer, have been doing this for years and it’s also prevalent in American soccer. Take a look at Portland’s soccer jersey’s and you’ll wonder whether the name of the team is the Timbers or the Alaska Airlines. New York’s professional soccer team has apparently skipped a step in the sponsorship process and just named the team the Red Bulls.
But in America, where our four major sports are football, basketball, baseball and hockey, we’ve been able to avoid the “corporatization” of our uniforms. A few years ago during the Baseball All Star Game, Sony wanted to put webs on the bases to help promote a Spider-Man film. Fans flipped out and the idea was scrapped. But that’s baseball, our sacred, national pastime. You likely won’t see sponsorships on jerseys or on the field of baseball anytime soon, but in the sport I most love, not only is the idea of corporate logos on jerseys being discussed, it will become a reality in two seasons.
At a meeting of the NBA’s Board of Governors on Thursday, the owners discussed how best to implement jersey sponsorships. Following the meeting, word around the league was that in two seasons, NBA uniforms will have small sponsorship patches measuring 2.5 inches-by-2.5 inches on the shoulder area. They will feature the names of companies like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Kia.
The NBA estimates that the move could generate $100 million in revenues per season. Once you’re talking nine figures, it’s only a matter of time before the other three major sports follow suit. Football is king in this country and baseball is sacred, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they give in. Hockey should have done this years ago. They always seem to be struggling financially.
Netflix Instant Pick: Following
This is a big weekend for director Christopher Nolan. The highly-anticipated third and final film in his Batman trilogy opens. Based on the response so far, it looks as if The Dark Knight Rises will be yet another success both critically and financially for the English director.
But before he wowed us with the thriller-in-reverse classic Memento, the mind-bending and mind-involving caper movie Inception or his dark and beloved caped crusader trilogy, Nolan gave us a hint of what he would eventually become with his first film, Following.
Released in 1998, this black-and-white neo-noir follows Bill, a young writer struggling to find inspiration. As the film opens, he sits with an older man and tells him the reasoning behind his sudden desire to start following random people. He has no intention of robbing them or harming them, he’s just interested in seeing where they work, where they live and what they do on an ordinary day.
This voyeuristic curiosity eventually catches up with Bill as he is confronted by Cobb, a smooth talking, suit wearing stranger who reveals to Bill that he is a burglar. Soon the young writer starts following in his new mentor’s footsteps, learning more and more about people in a closer and more personal manner. Eventually he falls for one of his victims, a mysterious blonde, and ends up way over his head.
Much like Memento, Following is told in a non-linear form. This is at first a little confusing and disorienting, but like most of Nolan’s work, the plot moves at a quick and edgy pace. The fiendishly intricate structure has more than a few twists and turns and by the time it’s over, your left thinking about the surprise ending and where it all went wrong for Bill.
At a very lean 70 minutes, it’s apparent that Following is a first film for a young director. Though it lacks the experimentation and energy of Darren Aronofsky’s first film, Pi, it more than makes up for in originality and unpredictability. There may be a few too many “movie coincidences” to move the story forward and the acting — done mostly by non-professionals isn’t the strongest, but it’s a good rough draft for a director that today is one of the best in the business.
Dirty Dash comes to Oregon
Saturday was a day to get down and dirty as the Dirty Dash came to Eugene. Featuring a sold out group of more than 5,000 people, the dirty race put mud-loving runners to the test by testing their endurance up chain-linked mountains, through obstacle courses, down trenches full of brown stuff (we hope is mud) and finally down a slip-in-slide. The race was a four-mile course at Buford Park in the Mount Pisgah area.
This popular event which has sold out five times this year in various states such as Washington, Idaho and Utah, allows people the excuse to have a good time, get some exercise, get filthy and raise money. The event sponsored local organizations such as Eugene YMCA and the Springfield Education Foundation.
Saturday was the first Dirty Dash to be held in Oregon and organizers intend to come back next year. The next Dirty Dash, which has already sold out, will be on August 25 in Boise, Idaho and additional races will take place through September.