Saturday, June 12, 2010

Soccer Bleu

Speaking of Soccer: There are a great many things that lots of people love and others, well, don't. Everyone has their list, and that smorgasbord quality is one thing that I really love about life as we live it. So my friends Fran and Dr V are avid soccer fans. And I use soccer as a metaphor for traffic on Joppa Rd, the main east-west thoroughfare in our zip code. Right around Spring Av (Google Joppa Rd & Spring Av 21234, and the chances are great that you'll see a police car in the picture) traffic slows down in Pavlovian response to the speed enforcement areas set up. It is a residential area, but the fact that the road is 5 lanes wide at that point tends to make some drivers confused and think they are in Indianapolis. The dearth of Peyton Manning jerseys ought to be a tipoff there. Or maybe they think it's next August, and they are on the qualifying lap of the Baltimore Gran Prix, where cars will race in the streets, and we expect throngs of people who like to stand on sidewalks to come to our town and do just that.

Here's where the soccer allusion comes in. Morning, noon and night, motorists who are wise to the ways of the local gendarmerie slow down to the speed limit as they pass through this section. But inevitably, just as there is always one joker at an REO Speedwagon reunion tour concert who hollers "FREE BIRD!," there is always some unaware person from out of town who breaks out of the pack and zooms along at 45 mph - or more! - only to drive right into the awaiting arms of radar. This is what reminds me of soccer, especially as played by the youth of our nation...the game resembles an eddying mob or an amoeba, expanding and undulating and breathing and moving en masse up and down the field, until suddenly the ball squirts out and there's a shot on goal.

That unsuspecting driver, operator of a Green Hyundai, is that ball suddenly zooming out ahead of the surging mob.

The police officer is the goalie, and you can bet that very little gets past him or her.

Speaking of police: no one in full control of their faculties thinks it was right or justified or proper for an off-duty cop downtown to shoot a guy outside a nightclub at 2:30 in the morning. This fracas started when the victim, a Marine veteran, may or may not have touched or groped the buttocks of the cop's date, a situation that, whatever really happened, led to words of anger, and bullets being fired, and so on down the road we go...again and again and again.

And when I tell you nothing good happens after midnight, especially outside of one's own home, it's because it's true. This country, in my humble opinion, needs direction and purpose, and maybe it's time to keep our
guns in our holsters and our hands to ourselves and our tempers in check and our eyes on the prize. There are people and problems and hunger and illness and the Gulf of Mexico is filling up with crude oil while we argue and bother and fight with and shoot at each other.

I just thought it needed to be said.

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