Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Insanity of Sports

Today, I link Erica. I met Erica in Stats AP back at Burnaby North. Now she's working in a bank in Amsterdam for a while. And she throws great parties. Please note that she is a living example of how living in another culture or environment can really broaden our perspectives and understanding of the world.

An LOT event tonight at the Relish. Acceptable quality of food, and fair price as well. Perhaps I would be willing to go there again for special engagements. However, the owner's speech of how he started up the restaurant was a lot shorter than I originally expected. And an anonymous person almost killed me. I am still laughing. Heh.

Met Yvonne (of all people, who woulda thunk??) on the way back on the Skytrain. Haven't seen her for what, 2 years now? She's working at this company. And they need someone to design a database for them. I have offered my services. We shall see what happens. Minna thinks I am crazy.

Chee... my blog is starting to turn into a daily diary. I better make a noteworthy post but fast. I wanted to discuss the stupidity of sports mania going too far. But alas, I am tired. Heck, let's do it anyway.

I remember cramming into a motel with some of the male BASS folks in 2003. It was great. We grabbed these huge cheap (but great quality) pizzas from Granville and Pender, and watched the Canucks pound the Blues in Game 7. And it was great! :D We ran out of the hotel to Robson Street and screamed our lungs out. Total strangers were giving each other high fives, hugging each other, and singing the national anthem. Rick ran into the middle of the street to high five every single driver and passenger that was slowly passing by; the streets were filled with people all celebrating the series victory. The euphoria was amazing.

Contrast that with what happened in 1994, when the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the New York Rangers. Vancouver experienced one of its worst riots ever. I reminisce especially about the incident of the cop shooting a rubber bullet at a specific Canuck fan, and the ensuing controversy, because of the current controversy over the dead Red Sox fan. The investigation probably will come to some conclusion, and from my understanding, the fan wasn't actually part of a "riot". However, why do crowds need to act in such a way that the police feel that it is necessary to show some presence?

Passion obviously can be both exuberant and destructive. Passion in and of itself isn't actually good or bad, just like many of the things in this world. It's how the passion is shown and used that matters. Sports fans on this level can possibly be compared with religious fundamentalists. It's unfortunate that the actions of a few (or many) can tarnish the reputation of all (including the ones with constructive passion).

So the biggest question I have is why this passion drives certain sports fans to hate someone who used to be a hero. If it weren't for Paul McCallum, the Saskatchewan Roughriders would not even have been in the playoffs. I can understand if fans wish to no longer support McCallum. I can understand if they scream for McCallum to be traded. But I can't understand why any fan would egg his family's house, dump manure on his lawn, and scream threats at his family. Let's look up the word fan, shall we? For our context, Merriam-Webster Online defines fan as:
1 : an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as
a spectator
2 : an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit)

I can't see how vandalizers are enthusiastic devotees or ardent admirers. They're bloodthirsty for the Grey Cup and care nothing for the team that would get them it, so long as it is won. But perhaps the etymology can shed some light. Good old M-W says that fan is probably short for fanatic. Ooh, that's interesting. Is there a mirror image in the actual physical manifestation of a fan? Is a fan's root in fanaticism? Certainly that cannot be said for those of faith. Faith's roots do not lie in fundamentalism. I think if we trace the history of all major religions, that is a safe conclusion.

This fanatic passion is unfortunately cemented in North American culture. You know it's bad when Hockey Canada releases a campaign like Relax, it's just a game. I've heard enough about hockey dads killing each other, soccer moms screaming at referees, etc. I'm sorry Don Cherry, the culture is really like that. I've talked with people who coach and they can't agree more that a campaign like Relax, it's just a game is necessary. Heck, I played soccer for a few years with Cliff Avenue (bronze and silver levels) back in high school. Even at our lower level of competition, you still sometimes had a screaming parent.

Ultimately, I feel distraught that sports can have such an impact in igniting people's passions into loose cannons. Sports can unite cities (and even nations) like few other things. Go back to 2002 in Salt Lake and Gretzky's "They Want Us to Lose" rant. It's almost impossible to say that all of Canada did not rally behind this team, with pride on the line. What about the Summit Series? Heck, look at South Korea in the 2002 World Cup. You think Calgary had a Sea of Red? You ain't seen nothing if you didn't see South Korea's Sea of Red in the STREETS. Examples abound throughout history, these are just some of the more recent and prominent ones. Let's go back to the time when sports really was a way to unite humanity. Heh, like it ever existed? And the integrity of the Olympics gets worse with each scandal, doesn't it? Or perhaps it was already lost after it was necessary for all the corporations to get involved.

Currently listening to:
Puffy AmiYumi
Translated by: Sony Music

Such a muddy road: how far does it go?
You not only get dirty
But teacher's directions were different and
The last train gets farther

Rushing around and around and then stuck
It's still dark out, but morning comes

Let's play until it's disgusting
Let's play in a world that has everything
Let's play before you let it go
Come and catch me here: Let's play

The view through a donut hole
Alone, a curse
I don't seem to be trusted
Since I get jerked around

You don't seem to notice that the rails are twisted
I'm not waiting for you; I'll leave now

Let's play the way I like to
Let's play and get sweaty
Let's play while you're alive
Come and catch me quick: Let's play

The translation really doesn't do it justice... too bad.

1 comment:

  1. yeh.. ur blog is turning into a daily diary and a long one too! :D