Genetic gifts

I seem to have rolled out of the ranty side of the bed every morning this week. First I was peeing on the eighties and now I am cranky on account of a particularly stupid thing that was said to me about basketball.

Viz, “I can’t stand basketball. It’s just a bunch overpaid genetic freaks running around with a ball. Who cares?”

As I had just been talking about the joys of my season tickets to the New York Liberty, I clearly care, and you, Mr Shorty Bald man, were being very rude. I poke my tongue out at you!

But that’s not what’s raised my ire, nope, it’s the phrase “genetic freaks”.

So, what are you supposed to do if you’re naturally good at a sport? If you’re built with extra long legs and arms, super-quick reflexes, or extra-big capacity lungs, and happen to enjoy working hard at the particular sport your genetic advantages suit you for? Huh? Work in a circus? Become an accountant? Cut your legs off so you don’t freak out people who are shorter than you?

Show me a professional sport that doesn’t have freakishly talented people playing in it. That’s what pro sports are about: talent (genetic freaks) and hard work. Cause you can be the tallest person in the world but if you can’t run up and down that court, or handle a ball, or get your shots to sink, then you are not going to be playing pro ball. End of story.

Besides show me exceptional people in any field who aren’t in some way genetically gifted. Doesn’t being super smart also mean you won the genetic lottery? Why don’t the top physicists and mathematicians and philosophers piss you off? Aren’t they genetic freaks too for being massively smarter than you the way basketballers are massively taller than you?

And anyway there are pro basketballers who are shorter than you, like Nate Robinson, Mugsy Bogues, Debbie Black and Becky Hammon. (Though maybe Becky’s a little taller than you. My bad.)

Okay, I feel much better now. Why couldn’t I think of any of these responses at the time? Stupid slow brain.

Yours rantily,



  1. Rebecca on #

    ranty goodness, that is. and as basketball is one of a few sports i actually know something about (and sometimes enjoy watching), i second your rantiness.

    and speaking of which…. PLAYOFFS!!!!

  2. Veronica on #

    Heh. I tend to go with “pituitary cases” instead of genetic freaks. Because indeed, all pro athletes are genetic freaks.

  3. auditor/accountant on #

    Accountants have to have talent to;). Case in point: Enron.

  4. Eric Luper on #

    It’s interesting that people refer to people who are different as “genetic freaks.” The way natural selection works is that we all come out a little different and the ones that are more suited to the environment thrive. We should be celebrating these differences rather than condemning them.

    But don’t take my word for it. Ask Charles Darwin.

  5. Veronica on #

    Oh, I think that the genetic freaks who end up playing pro ball are pretty well celebrated, don’t you? They often get gobs and gobs of money, and fame, and hero worship. The fact that cranky geeks like myself call them nasty names is a reaction to the general veneration of athletes.

  6. Aaron on #

    Natural selection isn’t moralistic. A person who’s a ‘genetic freak’ shouldn’t be celebrated for being ‘more evolved’ or anything.

    To me, the answer is that I find something beautiful about watching Amare Stoudemire move with his absurd combination of grace and power. (I don’t watch the WNBA, but I love watching Essence Carson, too, if it makes you feel better) Those genetic freaks are freakish in a specific way which I find aesthetically pleasing. But I don’t expect everyone to see it that way. Not everyone has the same aesthetic sense that I do, and they may not find beauty in a 7 foot tall man with superhuman agility showing off his abilities in a competitive setting.

  7. Justine on #

    Eric: Exactly!

    Aaron: What you said, too. I do watch NBA games—especially during playoff season—even though they ain’t quite as pleasing to me as the WNBA. But I second your Stoudemire admiration. Ben Wallace too. Incredible!

  8. Dess on #

    i think they should make a sport for short people who have no coordination and a very (emphasis on very. cant do caps.) short attention span. i need a sport designed for people like that.(me)

  9. bryant on #

    dess, i’m pretty sure you’ve just described the marketing campaign for “lawn darts.”

  10. Ally on #

    hey justine, its a ittle off topic but I was wondering if you were considered an american citizen since you live here half of the year..or just a “visitor”..probably an aussie all the way

  11. Dess on #

    lawn darts? never heard of it. hmmm… there may be hope for me after all! *goes to google to find out what lawn darts is*

  12. Dess on #

    aw this bites! lawn darts is banned in the us because it can cause skull damage if not done correctly. it looks like something along the lines of horseshoes. only with darts. too bad it’s banned. there goes my chances at a sport i can play. 🙁

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