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Friday, December 11, 2009

If poker, why not MLD?
Posted by Jill | 9:10 PM
As if it weren't bad enough that ballroom dancing is now an Olympic "sport", there's a push towards including poker in the Olympics. Yes, I'm talkin' poker -- that game played by guys in John Deere hats on ESPN, a spectator sport that to me is right up there with golf (pre-Tiger Woods scandals), Punkin Chunkin and Tractor Pull in the realm of Why The Hell Would Anyone Waste Their Time Watching This-ness.

But if poker can be mentioned in the context of the Olympics, then I think a game which epitomizes the joys of his holiday season ought to be considered as well.

I'm talking about Major League Dreidel. If you watched the Lewis Black Christmas Special on (for some reason) The History Channel, you saw MLD in action. But it's for real, and it's going on at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn this weekend, Saturday night at 7 PM:

This year's third annual MLD competition will take place Saturday at Knitting Factory in Brooklyn with 124 contestants vying for the longest spin on the new specially designed game board that Pavony calls "the Spinagogue."

"Not only did we reinvent the dreidel for tournament play, but we also now have a game board so you can practice at home," said Pavony, who calls himself the knishioner of MLD. "It also comes with a dreidel baseball game and skee-ball game."

The Spinagogue ($39.95), like No Limit Texas Dreidel ($19.95), is available on Rivlin Roberts' Modern Tribe site, along with a slew of other Hanukkah-related items, including a holiday album by Gods of Fire, an MLD-related band that will perform at Saturday's event.

"What we're trying to do is renew these traditions and make them more recognized and relevant," said Pavony, who hopes to introduce his game to Hebrew schools in the future. "But we're also about fun and competitions. As we say, 'no gelt, no glory.' "

OK, it's not the sort of thing that'll make you as badass as, say, joining the Israeli army, but you have to admit that there's a certain Jewish gonzo about the idea of Major League Dreidel -- a concept that sets the old joke about the world's thinnest book being one about Great Jewish Athletes on its ear, Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg notwithstanding.

So why not take Chanukah, which starts tomorrow night, away of the forced festivity that comes when you take a minor festival characterized by lighting some birthday candles, frying up some potato pancakes and eating cheap chocolates wrapped in foil that will cut your fingers every time, and set it up against the 800-pound gorilla that is Christmas (or, if you prefer, Yule, Now With Added Jesus). I'm not knocking latkes by any means; I enjoy a patty of crisp fried potatoes, onions and matzo meal as much as the next person. But when you think of all these people in mixed marriages talking about how they're going to "raise the children with both, and let them decide", what do YOU think they're going to pick? The hype-filled ubiquitous thing that involves unlimited presents brought by a creepy old childless fat man who comes down your chimney and doesn't even ask you to get in the car, cookies and candy and a big turkey dinner.....or eight presents, latkes, a little bag of cheap chocolate, and a top.

Lewis Black explains just why Chanukah is so lame when you're a kid:

So whether you think it's possible for anyone to take the little tiny top that is called dreidel and make it cool, you can't knock the purveyors of Major League Dreidel for trying:

Well, then, maybe you can.

(Note to the humorless: I am allowed to post this under the It's Ok To Knock Your Own Team rule.)

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Anonymous mandt said...
Major League Dreidel. Now you're talking! The spin is endless..lol