In sports we trust: A thief disguised as pride

We have put the emphasis on winning and not healthy competition because we love things to be neatly packaged into simple categories we can easily understand.

In America, everything is a two party system. We have always had Good vs. Evil, Democrat vs. Republican, Us vs. Them, Winners vs. Losers. The over simplification of these categorizations is the downfall of understanding each other. We are currently frustrated as a society because too many people are challenging the norms of the simple categories we’ve become accustomed to. The way we usually say this out loud is, “Everyone is offended by everything now-a-days!”

But, let’s relate it to America’s biggest passion; Sports. We don’t like a tie, there has to be a winner or loser. Many Americans say they don’t like soccer because there are too many ties. Sound familiar? You may have said this yourself.

There were two ties in the NFL last year and an uproarious and often cantankerous stampede of fans and pundits created quite a cacophony.

“Nobody likes a tie. I really believe the league has to look at this.”

Jimmy Johnson

As sports have become more popular in society, especially the NBA and NFL, we have put more onus on the athlete, less on management, more onus on winning, less on the actual competition. We will stop at nothing to identify with a winner and do anything to shame a loser.

I have never seen the vast amount of Golden State Warriors garb living in Western New York as I have lately, even from adults. This mindset is certainly nothing new, a great example being the Dallas Cowboys explosion in the early 1990s.

But the importance of sports and more importantly, winning in sports, and being associated with that particular winning team has reflected into everyday life, going as far as effecting our political system. You were either for Trump or against, Trump v Hillary, no grey area. (Take notice towards the end of the video when the “winners” start chanting a song popular at sporting events)

If you are with us you are a winner, if you are against us, you are a loser. Plain, simple, boxed, easy to understand two party system; for or against. There is no in between and there will be no compromise.

Sports As Entertainment, Not A Way Of Life

 

Sports play a significant role in society as entertainment and healthy debate. It’s meant as live theater, something that dates back to the Romans and beyond, people afterward congregating to discuss the prolific points of interest they had noticed. No doubt there were many arguments, but it was before money ruled our minds and so the argument was not taken any more seriously than the play itself. It was meant to enliven, not to embolden.

But as time wore on and millions and then billions of dollars were entered into the equation. Our hard earned dollars becoming the fuel for the fire, a strong yet erroneous sense of entitlement has washed over even the casual fan. The athletes, the owners, the coaches, the managers, the city itself owes us a win, a title, a championship, a moment of happiness, a lifetime of false achievement.

“It’s not whether or not you win, but how you played the game” is an age old adage lost among the ravenous, the hungry, the desperate for a win in life, the downtrodden by management, and the spiritually crushed by corporate reality. The answer has been to look to a simplified version of life, to the categorized winners and losers, to inject your dreams into the colors that represent something bigger than you, the fan, the dreamer, the seeker of truth and happiness.

Stop Taking Everything So Personally, It’s Business

 

Sports and politics have become the same spirit-crushing corporation that most of us work for. It’s a business like everything else, and the ones at the top of the ladder show little care for those who cling to the bottom.

As much as they understand that the bottom rung holds the ladder together, it will never fall, for if the bottom rung cracks, the ones clutching breathlessly to it will cling together and hold the ladder tall. Oklahoma City just went through it, and they made the playoffs this year. They considered it a win, Kevin Durant becoming the loser, even if he was the eventual winner.

The emptiness we feel from vacating the dreams of our youth has been filled with the ephemeral gust of pride our team winning an important game provides. We escape our normal, corporate-stylized lives to fit into two boxes; winners vs. losers when our sports teams play, preyed upon by yet another corporation, leading us to believe that vacating our money will somehow replace something we have already lost.

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