"It's just a bunch of big guys smashing into each other."
You're absolutely right, and Baryshnikov was just a skinny Ruski who pranced around the stage in tights. The physical precision required to play sports at a professional level, and play it well, is at the very least admirable, and at it's best, can be astonishing. The grace of running backs dancing through their competition, twirling on the head of a pin to avoid collision. The balance on display as a 225 lb. linebacker tiptoes along the sideline after an interception, narrowly staying in bounds. The control and body awareness when a wide receiver times a perfect leap to catch a touchdown pass, and knows, within fractions of inches, where he will place his feet upon landing. Not only is this athleticism a joy to watch, but excellence in these traits is something towards which all great actors should strive.
Not to mention that all of the action in question is specifically motivated by one objective. To score. To stop (the other team from scoring). Sound familiar? How many times have you broken a scene down into it's simplest terms by determining what you wanted, what your obstacle was and how you were going to get it. Wow, wait a minute. You mean I can actually watch all of the theories about finding action from intention and changing tactics unfold in real time executed by real people. Yes, you can. It's called football.
"How can you be interested in something so pointless?"
I don't know. How could I invest so much of myself in something that provides absolutely no tangible return on m-oh, hold that thought, 30 rock is coming on. Listen, I'm not an unreasonable man. I understand that at the end of the day football is just another form of entertainment. The thing is, like any long-running television show, if you invest enough time, it becomes very entertaining. The wild personalities of TO and Ocho Cinco, the heroic stoicism of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, the evil genius of Bill Belicheck. Take it even further and we can find the epic. Willy Loman becomes Brett Favre, the aging man holding on to his youth for one last chance at his legacy. Eli Manning is Eliza Doolittle, evolving from an uncultured youth in over his head to the poise of a man who knows how to carry themselves to success. Drew Brees, too short to be drafted, replaced by his first team, the ultimate underdog, leads a team to revitalize a city.
It's no accident that when the Greeks created what we now know as the theater, they were also inventing the Olympics. Sports and drama go hand in hand. If only our artists friends were open-minded enough to see past the surface of something and fully investigate it.
Or, at least very least, please, please, please just let me watch the Super Bowl in peace.