I was listening to the radio today — NPR, if you must know — and a sports report came on.
As you may or may not know, sports coverage on NPR can be slightly different than perhaps other iterations of the form. As but one example, one of the main NPR Sports correspondents opens and closes his program not with something from Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, or Guns n’ Roses, but with the following rather fine slab of athleto-centric gospel from Sister Wynona Carr:
Life is a ballgame
Bein’ played each day
Life is a ballgame
Everybody can play
Jesus is standin’ at home plate
Waitin’ for you there
Life is a ballgame,
But you’ve got to play it fair.
Amen Sister Wynona, amen!
Anyhow, as I was saying, sports coverage on NPR can be a tad different at times, and this morning’s effort was no exception. The correspondent on this morning’s program was discussing the impending arrival of Rutgers and Maryland to the halls of the Big Ten, and was in fact rather bemoaning the circumstance. In fact, he described the situation a tad starkly, in that he referred to it as being symptomatic of “a big money grab.”
Which is an altogether cynical stance, it seems to me, to say the least.
Which is really neither here nor there, as far as I’m concerned. What interested me far more was what he next said, which was essentially that, if sports matter at all, it’s because they matter in our imaginations, and accordingly, anything enacted that disabuses our imaginations of their passions cannot be a good thing.
Meaning, essentially, that overt and transparent displays of commercialism and profiteering in college sports are deeply disappointing, because they rather harshly puncture the elevated zeppelins of our imaginative lives.
So, to reiterate, he said that sports matter in our imaginations.
And mind you, he did not say this cynically!
Which accordingly makes his statement, then, a rather extraordinary statement; one clearly in defense of — nay, in praise of! — our imaginations.
Because what he actually said was, in effect, that our imaginations matter.
Which is exactly why wine matters.
Wine matters in our imaginations, and our imaginations matter, thus, wine matters.
This is the geometry of oenophilism. Wine matters in our imaginations, and our imaginations matter, thus, wine matters.
You see, seen from the cynical side, it’s actually just fermented grape juice, right? Just another alcoholic beverage? Isn’t it just another product, sold at a profit, in just another store, to just another consumer?
Or is it?
Ask the father who bought Monte Bello from his daughter’s birth year. Ask the sister and brother who return to Monte Bello every year to toast the anniversary of their mother’s passing with a bottle of Estate Chardonnay. Ask the new fiancé why he proposed over a glass of Geyserville. Ask Thomas Keller why, if it was his last meal on earth, he’d want it served with Lytton Springs.
Ask your imagination.