Friday, September 08, 2006

Sports is Just Reality TV With Uglier Hosts

Anyone who knows me will tell you that, aside from pro basketball, I am a sports fan. I have season tickets to UM football and I am always the guy saying “You wanna go to the Marlins game this weekend?” I listen to sports talk radio, watch ESPN and enjoy discussing and analyzing the various aspects of different games. But the difference between me and a lot of other people is that I really don't care. It is all fun and a diversion from daily life, but at the end of the day whoever wins and whoever loses really makes no difference to me. I root for and against certain teams, but as soon as the final whistle sounds, the result of said contest matters about as much to me as who got kicked out of the house on "Big Brother."

What I don't understand are people who take sports so goddamned seriously. Like they actually are in a bad mood if "their" team loses. Look, pal, you didn't lose anything. A bunch of black guys who would hate you if they knew you lost, so stop sulking around like you just lost your job. The game was meaningless, as are pretty much all games in the grand scheme of things. Save for maybe 1980 US Olympic Hockey or post-9/11 baseball, the outcome of a sporting event rarely affects the world in which we live. So don't give me some attitude or go and beat up your girlfriend because you couldn't live vicariously through a bunch of people you don't know.

If you want to celebrate your group of mercenaries beating another city or school's group of mercenaries, fine. I will not rain on your parade. Whatever makes you happy makes you happy and I won’t bring you down. But for the love of God, don't act like you are better than me or try and get in my face if “your” team wins. A little friendly joshing is fine, but don't act like you did anything. You didn't do jack shit to win that game, and I did nothing to lose it. So if you want to be happy, be happy. But remember that you contributed absolutely nothing to that victory so you have no place telling anybody else that you are better than them. Again, maybe if I was dumb enough to bet money with you on the game and lost you could call me an idiot for making a stupid wager, but otherwise shut your mouth.

Athletes, for the most part, have zero loyalty to fans. Free agency pretty much eliminated that. And, unless you play for the Marlins, a typical pro athlete makes roughly 100 times what the average American does, so you can't relate to them either. This isn't the old days when the Dodgers backup catcher worked with Vinny and Mikey at the garage during the off-season. Athletes, even in college, are for the most part held up as Gods, so why should they care about us when everyone will love them no matter how they treat people? Similarly, since they have no loyalty to me, I have no loyalty to them. They win? Great. They lose? Who cares? I still have my job, but that wide receiver who dropped five passes may not. So if Hines Ward wants to cry after losing a big game, he is totally justified. But if you are in the stands crying because he lost, you really should examine your own life to see why you get so emotionally involved with a bunch of people who couldn’t care less about you.

Maybe it's because I've never lived in great "sports towns" (aka cities with no other recreational opportunities) or maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in the era of free agency and 9-figure contracts, or maybe, as my roomate suggests, it's because I'm from the West Coast where we really don't care much about anything. Any way you cut it, who wins and who loses doesn't affect me at all once I leave the stadium or turn off my TV. I watch sports like I watch movies: I root for somebody, and if they win great, I feel good for about five minutes and if they lose, that's too bad. The sun comes up tomorrow. I still have my friends, my job and my family, and the accomplishments and failures of people more talented than myself holds no real meaning to me. But it is still damn fun to watch.


At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, this makes me respect you a hell of a lot more.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

I take it you were never much of an athlete.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some people, sports is their job...bookies, gamblers, etc.

At 1:03 PM, Blogger T. said...

Great post, I always had this issue with people. I lived with 2 roommates from Boston, and I hated how annoying they were about the Red Sox. I know people say Yankee fans are obnoxious, that they are, I won't deny that, but the Red Sox fans are more obnoxious because they seem to care more about seeing the Yankees lose than seeing the Red Sox win. They follow what the Yankees do religiously, waiting for the moment the Yankees mess up to gloat. "You guys lost!!" Uh, no. A bunch of millionaires, most of whom aren't even from New York, lost. I didn't do shit. When the Red Sox won the World Series, I remember Johnny Damon sitting in the ESPN studio and a Red Sox fan called in and told him, practically tearing up, "I feel like I can finally walk down the street and hold my head up high." What a loser!

And Ryan - I think athletes who played for a team should be allowed to have blind loyalty to that organization because they contributed to its greatness at some point, they have a personal stake. Dade is talking about people who never did anything for a team who somehow act like they contributed to its greatness.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a racist idiot. "a bunch of black guys...". Just admit that your sister is your wife and that due to inbreeding you lack a functional brain. And once again you repeat things that you have written before that are not funny. Get a real job.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Ashburnite said...

wow, can't write about anything without getting hate comments.

And I get a little disappointed when Penn State loses, but I get over it quickly. this post is the exact reason I hate Pittsburgh teams so much- they are some of the most hard-core, obnoxious fans out there. I'm always happy when they lose.

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said.

now, updates on the girlfriend, please.

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

T, I see where you are coming from and I agree with White Dade that there are millions of goons out there that have way too much blind interest in sports teams. Furthermore, what really gets me are the people who have never played a particular organized sport (middle school doesn't count), yet think they are experts ("Dude, the Dolphins should have gone four vertical in the third quarter to stretch the Steeler's D!")

With that said, there are also millions of people out there that HAVE played organized sports there whole life or at a high level of competition, and do know a little something about their particular game. I've played competitive organized football and basketball most of my life, and thus have a passion for those games. Moreover, as a competitive athlete your goal is to reach the highest level of your sport. It is only natural then, when one has that much passion and vested interest in a game, that they may be zealous fans and supporters of athletes and teams that play at the highest levels of their respective sport.

Lastly, I think sports is successful in ways rarely matched at unifying a community. Is this a good sign for society, that million dollar athletes unify a community better than more substance-rich entities? I don't know. But if you experienced the joy and unity in New England when the Pats made their Super Bowl run in 2002, or when the Sox came back to beat the Yanks in '04, or when UCONN blazed through the NCAA Tournament in '04 - it is something special. Even the Heat and Marlins runs recently unifyed an extremely fragmented metro, even though it was emphemeral.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger T. said...

Ryan, I think you misunderstand me and that me, you and Dade actually agree more than you think: I love sports, but like you I appreciate the level of competition, the intensity, the drive, the you say:
"It is only natural then, when one has that much passion and vested interest in a game, that they may be zealous fans and supporters of athletes and teams that play at the highest levels of their respective sport.

I totally agree with that sentiment. My problem (won't assume to speak for WD, just myself) is people who don't care about the level the sport is being played at, just the fact that it's their hometown team and that said team validates their self-worth. Fans like that don't care about which team or player is the best, plays at the highest level of competition or is the most skilled, all they care about is that "their" team wins and that they can say "we" did it.

For example I love good competition and high caliber of atheleticism, therefore I currently can't stand watching my hometown team the Knicks even though I loved them growing up. They have horrible sportsmanship and just play ugly. If I was the fan Dade is talking about not only roots for the Knicks regardless of whether they deserve it, but acts like he personally contributed when said team wins ("We won!") yet disassociates himself from the losses (You guys suck!").

Hating that type of fan is not the same as hating sports. I think sports constructively channel aggression and competitiveness, teach people who to win and lose graciously, build character and build teamwork and discipline as well.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger T. said...

Sorry for any horrible grammar and typos above, I was in a rush.

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

I think you summed that up fairly well, T. By the way, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is my favorite book.

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous nicole said...

I'm just as baffled as you. Unless they're getting paid by the team owner I'm not understanding why people need to take their team allegiance to such ridiculous levels.

As a sidenote, I heard that some men become more abusive to their wives when their teams win rather than when they lose. Not really the point of your post but I find that pretty frightening.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger imaginaryconversations said...

I agree with pretty much everything, but I must say I'm impressed that this is all coming from a guy (cause I've seen way more guys being incredibly stupid about sports than I've seen girls. Girls usually pick other things to be stupid about.). I think those people are just living vicariously through the teams and have very few accomplishments of their own to be proud of. My two cents: I hate how when a major competition is on (like the soccer World Cup) people keep beeping their car signals when their team won and just go nuts on the road. It's simply dangerous. And I'm also annoyed by all the beeping when I hear it from my balcony.

At 1:31 PM, Blogger copyranter said...

what are you talking about?!? Tony Kornheiser is total Himbo.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger White Dade said...

Anon - Okay. Thanks I guess.

Ryan - No, I wasn't. But I am in better shape than 95% of the people I know.

Anon2 - Yes. And for them, they have a vested interest. that I can appreciate.

T - Agreed.

Anon3 - Yes, how racist to point out that the majority of elite athletes are black. T, Johnson, Ali,Patrice, you guys offended?

Ash - That is a healthy attitude.

Anon4 - I tell you what, just email me and I'll let you know all you want.

Ryan - You are correct in having passion for the games you play, but, agian, how many of theose people giving death threats to the lady who hit ben Roethlesberger were elite athletes? I'm guessing not too many. But you make some very valid points, although I think you are in the minority of overzealous sports fans and not really the group that i was criticizing.

T - yes, again you make my pouints for me. thank you.

Nicole - It has actually been proven in Oakland. gotta love those raider fans.

Inaginary - Yep. That pisses me off too. I nMiami, any time a country wins any kind of soccer tournoument you can expect some sort of parade of honking ohrns somewhere.

CR - Yes, he is. solid point.


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