One City

I’m a buddhist, yeah, but I’ve been a sports fan longer. And as uncommon as sports talk seems to be among buddhists, I’m gonna indulge.
I know, I know, everyone tunes out and goes to the cushion, thinking lofty thoughts about literature and politics. But what illustrates the moment-to-moment flow of physical existence more vividly than sports? What illustrates the impermanence of glory more viscerally than a last-second field goal? Remember the Inner Game of Tennis? Remember Chevy Chase in “Caddyshack”? ’nuff said. It’s ESPN time in One City.
The Curse of the Bambino. Nineteen FOR-ty. NINEteen EIGHTeen. . . .
These are references, not all that arcane, to two of the most famous “curses” in sports history: the 54 years between New York Rangers Stanley Cup championships in hockey (1940-1994), and the 86-year exercise in futility (1918-2004) that was the Boston Red Sox pursuit of a World Series championship in baseball.
Those curses passed away. A new one arises. Impermance, thy name is sports. This week, that bastion of appearance vs reality, The New York Post, revealed a heinous deed.
A construction worker buried a Boston RED SOX jersey in the concrete at the new Yankee Stadium being built in the Bronx. He said he buried a David Ortiz jersey in the concrete, and has the cell phone pictures to prove it, in order to curse the Yankees for 30 years
The articles regarding the shirt curse have been suitably lurid. Here’s one, with pix of the deed:
the infamous Red Sox jersey being buried
link and photo from NY Post
Luckily, Sunday’s Post revealed that two other construction workers have led stadium officials to the cursed spot, and thanks to several jackhammers, the jersey — and the curse — has been removed.
The whole silly affair made me think about impermanence, of course. And the power of thought and projection. Things happen, like failing to win the World Series for 86 years straight. (ha-ha). And humans want to believe there is a reason. They come up with a storyline, a narrative. They try to use their thoughts to affect reality – they wear lucky shirts, they don’t wash, they shave or don’t shave. But the reality is that . . . the Red Sox lost. Then they won. Then they lost. Whether or not the shaving, or washing, or lucky shirts were done, worn, or not.
Attachment and aversion, hatred and passion — they seem to get most of the press, buddhism-wise. But there’s such a human impulse for confusion! Not to diss attachment and aversion, greed and hatred, but let’s here it for the third pole, the third cause of suffering. There’s so much confusion of cause and effect, of how karma works, in the stands at Rangers games, under the concrete of Yankee Stadium, in everyday life.
And in my own mind, of course. How many times have I come up with a storyline – “She hates me because I laugh funny.” “He’s jealous of my job.” “That client is evil.” “That bus driver is an a**hole, because he saw me and he didn’t stop. He must hate women.” “We didn’t win because I didn’t try hard enough,” and billions of other equally ludicrous thoughts about how the world works.
As ludicrous as burying a jersey in concrete, cursing the Yankees? Yeah. just as ludicrous.
Sports: An unexpected laboratory for buddhism?
Who knows. I’m gonna go watch a game. . . .

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