Articles

Fanatic

In Life on January 22, 2013 by thebetweenthoughts

It was a good weekend to be a Bay Area sports fan in New York City.

This past Saturday, the 2012 World Series trophy visited the East Village…and I waited in line for nearly three hours to see the trophy for barely five minutes (and pay $40 for a print and digital photo).  While in line, I chatted with old school Giants fans whose allegiance to the team started with their New York incarnation and visits to the Polo Grounds.  I saw multi-generational families braving the cold.  I saw faces of every age and ethnicity whose only connection was the orange and black that they boldly wore.  If you couldn’t already tell, I thought those were three hours well spent.

It’s odd…this bond that sports produces in people.  People from completely disparate backgrounds and perspectives can be united in a trivial game where wins and losses, successes and failures…have only the slightest relevance to life.  It’s a shared experience though.  A community event, where we can experience trials and tribulations as something greater than our normal lives.  I guess that’s what makes sports so powerful though.  We are able to share this experience with others and transcend our daily experiences.  We become part of something greater.  We experience communal emotions, and as one heart we celebrate or grieve.  Is there any question, why some people are obsessed with sports?  It’s the connection in life that we’re constantly searching for.

[Random aside (although isn’t this whole blog a random aside): As a Bay Area sports fan, I’m spoiled.  I had the greatest football team of the 80’s and 90’s to root for.  I’ve had numerous iterations of competitive baseball teams.  A decent basketball team (okay…decent might be a stretch for the Warriors).  I wonder if my sports fandom would have existed if the Bay Area didn’t have this success though.  As kids, we’re drawn to winners.  And we eventually tire and bore of losers.  Success breeds adoration.  I mean, who wants to root for a loser?]

Interestingly, the “live” Bay Area sporting event that I experienced on Sunday didn’t have the same impact as the World Series trophy experience.  I watched the 49ers win the NFC Championship Game with a few New York compatriots.  None of them were Niners fans (nor were they fans of the Falcons), so it was a fairly clinical or academic sporting event for them.  They had no skin in the game.  They had no connection to the players or the team.  They were spectators…not fanatics.

Watching a game with a roomful of neutral fans makes you realize how irrational your feelings toward a team are.  This is a team that doesn’t know you…that will never feel your adulation or praise…will never hear your scorn and admonishments.  They are 40, well-payed, beasts of men whose motivations are only slightly aligned with yours.  Yet as a fan, you feel invested in their lives.  You feel that you have the right to criticize them when their shortfalls appear and the right to take some credit for their triumphs.  You feel that your adulation is payment enough for a stake in the performance of these players.  What a completely idiotic sentiment…

Yet, I am a fan…an irrational fanatic.  Since childhood, my mood has hung on the successes of the team and my heart has been broken with missteps on the field.  Every second of the game induces gut-wrenching fear, or anger, or joy, or confusion, or happiness, or recrimination, or euphoria.

It’s rarely a pleasant experience…and I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

;P

(Go Niners!)

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