Although the Super Bowl turned into a very good game, it couldn’t steal the show from Beyoncé, whose electric halftime performance apparently knocked the Superdome lights out. Clearly the best athlete on the field, her 12-minute gig exceeded the 11 minutes the football was in play. And she hardly looked winded. But the most telling game last week was not the Super Bowl but a high-school basketball game in Chicago between Simeon Career Academy and Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, two national powerhouses, each featuring one of the country’s best players. Never mind whether The New York Times should have given 27 column inches to a high-school game. Far more remarkable was that the reporter didn’t even get to the score until the fourth-to-last paragraph. The story focused on the massive police presence and security precautions in the wake of an earlier game, which had ended with an on-court brawl of players and coaches, followed by a fatal shooting outside the arena, one more pointless, violent death in a city that endures almost 10 murders a week. Appearing on national television in warm-up jerseys saying “Shoot Hoops, Not Guns,” the young players embodied the gladiator role that now defines spectator sports even at this level.
Big-time sports isn’t a game for the players anymore; it’s mass entertainment to keep the people tranquilized, to sell them stuff and to promote betting. And not only here: European football just uncovered a massive match-fixing ring run by organized criminals from Singapore
Oh, Simeon beat Whitney Young, 44-41.