Up on Hawthorn hill by Richard deRosa: A few modest proposals

Up on Hawthorn hill
by Richard deRosa
A few modest proposals

A few modest proposals to get off my chest, fully aware of their never seeing the light of day.

I seem to start off every morning, usually in response to something I hear on the radio, with a remedy for whatever comment or issue has incited my pique.

My wife Sandy, the unfortunate recipient of these early morning rants, has suggested on a number of occasions that I air these suggestions in one of my essays. I suspect she feels such a public airing might do the trick, the trick being that once aired I might just keep quiet for a while, at least until bumping into new material that prompts my pique anew.

So, here goes.

I am a sports fan. Truth be told, I spend more time watching sports than I should. Among my favorite sports to watch are tennis, basketball, soccer and tennis. Having stumbled on volleyball during the Olympics and consequently become thoroughly mesmerized by the athleticism and skills displayed, it is now on the list.

However, I have two proposals to make that I feel would improve both basketball and tennis. At least from this spectator’s point of view.

The grunts and primal screams are irritating enough. They should be prohibited, but never will be. However, the game would be far more interesting — and entertaining — to watch if there were a speed limit placed on the first serve. Having watched too many matches where all the players do is ace one another, there is very little actual tennis played. Few players ever bother to come to the net, where a lot of the best skills are called upon. Most are content to straddle the base line and hammer the ball back and forth. Gets to be downright boring. If there were a first serve limit perhaps the ball would be in play far more and then ardent fans like me would watch more. As it stands now, I tape most matches that interest me. If after a fair spell it appears that service aces will dominate, I fast forward just to see who might have won. Not much fun in that. The antidote to this for me has been to watch more doubles — more interesting, more varied play, lots of nifty net play, and few doubles players offer up unreturnable serves by virtue of their mph.

Now for basketball: I suspect I am one of a slim minority who abhors the dunk, as well as the chest pounding that often accompanies it. Frankly, there are far more self-congratulatory antics displayed in many sports than should be allowed. Seems as if humility is a lost moral art form. I like the three-point shot as well as the traditional two-pointer. Why should a dunk be worth more than one point?
It would be a fair spread of value attributed to a physical act.

A friend suggests that some thought be given to raising the basket. I doubt if that will ever happen, as there is too much hoopla associated with dunking. For me, it remains an opportunity for a heartfelt yawn.

Now for politics, which used to be characterized, at least by some, as the art of getting things done together for the common good. Scrap that notion! I never used to be in favor of term limits; I am now. Aside from the embarrassing shenanigans both parties have displayed of late, both houses of Congress resemble gladiatorial contests rather than the mutually respectful houses of honest and open-minded deliberation on all of our behalves that they should be. I suggest that House terms be limited to two consecutive four-year terms. Senate terms should be limited to two consecutive six-year terms. That is it. Plenty of time to acclimate to rules, procedures, etc. Then, go home and get your haircut at the local barber, work out at the local gym, send your mail at the local post office, bowl at the local alley and, just maybe, relearn what it is like to live among the “working people” whose virtues you extoll at a comfy, abstracted distance.

Next thing I would suggest is that they sit together, mix it up a bit. Battle lines are drawn by virtue of how members of both parties are seated, both during deliberations and committee hearings. It is a designated standoff right from the start. Therefore, nothing at all resembling actual discussion or an honest sharing of views ever takes place. A country is not served well at all by a system that fosters enmity and sees the other as the enemy.

I doubt any of these modest proposals will ever come about. Thought I would throw them out and see how they might be caught. Were she here right now, Gabby would agree that some things are worth taking a shot at, no matter the consequences.


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