Sports Scandal Everywhere

In an effort to contain my savage joy at Michael Vick’s guilty plea yesterday*, I went looking online for information on my favorite spectator sport.

Sumo.

No, honestly. Sumo has a lot going for it. It’s got the huge-men-pounding-each-other aspect of football and the pedigree of a religious ritual. (According to some sites I visited, sumo originated as a performance for the gods, and before matches the combatants stamp around the ring to dispel evil spirits. When was the last time you saw Brett Favre do that?) It’s also uniquely suited for those with a short attention span for TV sports, since a really long sumo match between wrestlers is about 90 seconds. I no longer have cable, and I don’t think ESPN2 is showing Sumo Digest anymore, so one way and another I’ve missed a few years of sumo.

And that may be a good thing, since I stumble onto SumoTalk.com just in time to find that a high-ranking wrestler, Asashoryu, appears to have completely lost his shit. Asashoryu is a yokozuna, the highest rank one can achieve in the sport, and was initially accused of faking injuries. As the news articles wound on, however, it would appear that the poor guy has bigger mental problems than he does injured-elbow problems.

I hope he gets better soon, and not merely because he’s one of about four names I recognize on the roster anymore. It’s probably foolish to hope that a sport’s spiritual origins protect it from the various syndromes common to professional athletics in the U.S., but you never know.

*It’s a long, whiny story.

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