Raptors defeat Warriors

There is a children’s game that is played on this continent, and apparently on others. It is called “basketball,” and the object is to put an inflated ball through a hole, or hoop, that is inconveniently raised above normal human reach. Two teams bounce this ball back and forth on a court of some kind, towards the “basket” at each end.

The game was invented by a gentleman from Almonte, Ontario, and resembles an Aztec sport in which players had to use hips, not hands nor feet, to manipulate the ball. This must have made it very difficult to score a basket. Only one goal was necessary to win, however. The match must have been quite dull to watch, but some spectator interest could be derived from the post-game ritual, in which members of the losing side were put to death.

“Blood sports” — those involving human sacrifice — were a feature of pre-Christian societies from Meso-America to gladiatorial Rome to the farthest reach of Asia. A more encyclopaedic account may be found elsewhere; this is not the place to discuss the long history, for it is very long, and I am rather tired from having been kept up through last night by car horns and firecrackers.

It would seem that a basketball team of grown men from Greater Parkdale won some sort of continental championship. I have yet to consult the Toronto Scar to see if there were riots as well, as often happens after a major professional sports team wins or loses a deciding match. (I noticed from the same newspaper that our home crowd were wildly cheering the injury of a star player of the visiting team, in the previous game.)

Well, I assume they are cleaning up now.

Recently I was mocked for belonging to a tribe (Catholic Christians) whose primary sacrament involves (according to my correspondent) “symbolic cannibalism.” A typical liberal, he had the rest of his facts exactly backwards. The Judaeo-Christian tradition, culminating in the Mass, actually achieved the substitution of bloodless for the bloody pagan immolations of old. It is with the decline of Christianity that we may observe and expect the return of what might be called the pornography of violence. (The pornography of sex is fully restored, already.)

Humans, and bonobos (dwarf chimpanzees) for that matter, are notoriously given to this sort of behaviour. But while the bonobos are almost impossible to tame, humans can be improved by religion. It has to be a good religion, though.