Beem a winner, Nike loses
Rich Beem won the Professional Golfers Association Championship last Sunday, but George Handel and Nike were the big losers.
Please follow me on this, even if I appear to be somewhat acerbic.
Handlel’s majestic oratorio, Messiah, was first performed 260 years ago in Dublin, Ireland, and whether the composer ever heard of golf is problematic, although the game originated in neighboring Scotland.
Even so, he would be rolling over in his grave, probably to stirring cadences, if he knew to what use Nike put his work during the golf tournament.
The Messiah, performed thousands of times since Handel composed it in 1742, contains what my tin-eared judgment considers the most inspiring of all religious pieces, the oratorio’s Hallelujah chorus.
In what I consider close to sacrilege, the chorus was the background music while Nike advertised its golf equipment during telecasts of the PGA Championship.
Why do listeners stand during renditions of the Hallelujah chorus?
Because British royalty, which in those days didn’t deign to rise for anyone, rose during the chorus, despite its words, &uot;King of kings and Lord of lords,&uot; a phrase which Handel had feared would insult the royals.
During the golf tournament, when the chorus accompanied the commercial, I refused to rise from my lounge chair. Instead, the temptation was to slump even further at what I considered such a desecration.
Well, as long as the bitterness is upon me, there are some other hang-ups in sports that are offensive to me.
For instance, the San Diego Padres of the National League. Padre is the title for
priests, but it is doubtful how many of the team’s baseball players are that holy.
Then, the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. Given the antics of members of that team (not to slight those of other teams), both on and off the field, one wonders how many will be along when the saints go marching in.
Let’s not slight the Anaheim Angels of the American League. The Angels are in a war for the top spot in the league’s West Division, but it certainly is not a holy war, and there are precious few evidences of angelic deportment among the players.
So, you say, I’m being too critical.
Perhaps so, but it does seem rather irreverent to equate things holy with far-from-sacred endeavors.
The Bible advises us not to be judgmental, which is mindful of the cleric who was asked to deliver the eulogy for the town reprobate.
&uot;I preach them right up to the bank of the river Jordan,&uot; he said, &uot;and then leave it to the Lord or to Satan to take it from there.&uot;
Which brings us back to the Hallelujah chorus and Nike.
Nike, of course, was the Greek goddess of victory.
In my estimation, by using Handlel’s music to tout sports equipment, the Nike firm becomes the clipped-wing goddess of defeat to people who admire the notes of Handel and his Hallelujah chorus
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