Big storm Thursday.
The wind came up and the rain came in sideways and the gutters filled and the streets flooded and the thunder and the lightning cracked and fired, and, 10 minutes later, the alarms sounded to warn us about it. Then, the wind died and the rain came straight down hard and heavy and gray as lead shot.
The rain and the wind kept on like that in succession until everything in the city was clean and exhausted. A good night to watch television. The Rangers won and Jimmy Howard hung on for the Red Wings and somewhere they were still talking about LeBron and what might or might not have been better done about him for 2.2 seconds.
Across two or three hours and a couple hundred channels, there was gardening and cooking and "reality," shopping and comedy and drama, news and music and movies. There was "Safety Last!" on TCM, "Richard III" on DVR, Murnau's "Sunrise" on DVD. There was "American Reunion" and "Savages" and "J. Edgar" and "The Tree of Life." There were thousands of hours of content, of an impossible richness of variety, but to a casual observer of television, all anyone seems to write or talk about lately is "Mad Men." Maybe "Game of Thrones." Success begets coverage begets success.
Same with sports, really. There's a sense that the cultural monopoly sports -- the NFL, mostly, but big league baseball and basketball and hockey in their turn -- suffocate thought and discussion and crowd out more exotic/less bankable pursuits.
Superficially at least, this is so. Same with certain single teams and certain single-topic debates and certain single-name-above-the-marquee stars like Peyton or LeBron or Tiger. Even Brian Urlacher or Michael Phelps can crack the news cycle only 60 seconds at a time. Otherwise it's all Yankees and Patriots and the Eternal Question of Race In Sports™.
So, yes, there's a terrible homogeneity to the coverage of mainstream sports in this country. Just as there is in our coverage of news and of politics and of the arts and of everything else at all times. And by disseminating it all faster and more widely, technology has made that problem worse. That's the bad news.
The good news is that you set out to write a few words about unloved and underloved sports -- sports out of that mainstream, sports left underserved and undiscussed, sports overwhelmed by the number of words and hours and images devoted to those we obsess over, like football -- only to discover there's never been a better time in history for lovers of unloved sports. There's a platform on cable or satellite or online for every sport on earth. A dozen platforms. And the tyranny of the market and the majority is undone by an explosion of new expertise and new understanding and by the new freedom to publish. By sinking every barrier to entry, the Internet lifts all boats. Thus, as lazy sports writers so often remind us, it is simultaneously the best of times and the worst of times.
So while "Mad Men" or Dan Brown or Gatsby or Daft Punk are thick as kudzu -- however briefly and predictably choking out the sun -- there's a whole bright garden of diversity out there if you choose to look for it.
Nine kinds of boxing. Sixteen flavors of futbol. Motocross and college bowling and wild turkey hunting. Sports as business, sports as metaphor, sports as work of art. Bicycle racing. Pro gymnastics. Track and field from every conference. Rodeo and Major League Lacrosse. UEFA women. UEFA under 17. Rowing. Curling. Sailing. If horse racing is dying, why do I have -- unbidden and unexplained -- two channels devoted to it in my cable package?
For the past two weeks I've watched the Giro d'Italia live every morning from the point of view of a pillion seat on a fast-moving motorcycle, the absurd beauty and color and order of it microwaved out of Tuscany or up from the Alps to a helicopter and then to a truck and then to a satellite and then down to me.
That Sergio Garcia can conjure a week's worth of talk radio and TV coverage, tweets and message-board posts from his own stupidity seems a small enough price to pay for that.
And long or short, there's never been more good writing about sports. And there's never been more bad writing about sports.
Whatever you love, and however inexpertly you love it, there's more of it available than at any time in history. There's a surfeit of it somewhere online. Kabbadi? Buzkashi? Kirkinpar? Sepak Takraw? There's a whole world in here.
And there's a whole world out there, too. Infinitely wide and infinitely deep, it requires only that we look up occasionally to see it.
Or maybe the problem isn't that there's too much, but too little. We bridge the hours and the days between sporting events with sporting nonsense. With moralizing gossip. Fake debate. Are you looking for a way to fill your head -- or to empty it? The limits, as the limits have always been, are only those of the imagination.
It is the best and worst of everything everywhere, all at once.
Anyway. Big storm here last night. Then quiet. Around 9:30, there were fireworks over the river.