A majority of conversations about sports are like conversations about weather, wrought from a necessity to dissuade silence between individuals. Also, conversations about sports are initiated by the anxious as a means of lessening the blow of awkward silence.
This is how it starts. Not always. Some are genuinely interested in sport. The others, who have gained a passing, workable knowledge of sports use it in these regards. They are not to be blamed. Initiating a conversation about sports has more than one effect. It allows a listener of life to listen to his/her current socializing partner. That sort of engagement is admirable. It suggests an interest in the person.
Talking about sports lets people get to know each other. Allegiances to teams, schools of thought, and individual players are great fodder for subjective judgement which is how people decide who they like, contrary to the American myth that everyone is an objective, benevolent Samaritan. Friends are made and lost through sports discussions. It’s an ugly situation, but it happens all the time.
People who can talk about sports without getting mad at each other have an edge on life. Learning how to deal with someone’s infatuation with LeBron James or Lance Armstrong strengthens an individual’s ability to deal with greater, more important conflicts in life.
Not trusting someone based on the teams they choose to follow is like disliking or ignoring someone because they are a republican or democrat. The divisions between communities based on team-allegiance and party affiliation are remarkably similar. The mainstream media hasn’t helped with that, either.
In this corner, we have the blue donkey.
In this corner, we have the red elephant.
Note the colors, and the animal mascot. Note the intangibility of the dialogue, the failure of either side to achieve results.
If Obama doesn’t close Guantanamo, I’m not voting for him next year. Yet, Guantanamo doesn’t close and the voter stands by his party when election day comes.
If the Lakers don’t win this game, I’m done. I’m not watching anymore. Yet, the fan continues to watch, or runs the risk of being called a fair-weather fan.
We can all say we’ve seen more than one fair-weather constituent in our lifetimes. We’ve also seen the die-hard, incapable of the ever-important dialogue.
Like politics in America, where sports belongs it also doesn’t belong. Yet, we continue to struggle in our daily task of talking about both.
One of things that binds sports and politics: our willingness to take part in them. Sports needs fans just like politicians. They both need viewership. The difference is that once in a while, sports gives us something worth watching.
It begins as something to take my mind away from something. It ends as something that takes me away from everything. There is no excuse for it, or, I should say there are no excuses for it. It doesn’t happen to everyone. Some are immune to its effects, its mysticism, its contestability. I, for one have excused myself from any ridicule.
I voted for Bozo the Clown, this cycle. And, my team got swept in the World Series. I didn’t mind watching them lose.