What I Mean When I Say I'm Not A Sports Fan
I live in the Seattle area, so I'm surrounded by rabid Seahawks fans, literally everywhere I go. I LITERALLY cannot escape it.
As I was relating to a couple of friends my struggle to find a place to eat that would NOT be showing today's game, I was asked why. Was I just not a Seahawks fan? Did I not like the noise? When I said I am not a sports fan, I was asked to elaborate further, and the analogy I used was, "When I say I'm not a sports fan, it's like Richard Dawkins saying he's "not really a religious man", and for many of the same reasons".
Now, I do try to keep my mouth shut about how I feel about Sportsianity. I like to treat other people's religions with the same respect I'd like my own to be treated with. But for these past couple of years, living where I do during football season makes it hard not to let it out.
So why am I not a sports fan?
Opiate of the Masses:
Karl Marx referred to religion as the opiate of the people ( "Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes" ). There can be little doubt that pro sports serves the same purpose in American society. Racial injustice? Environmental degradation? Rape culture? Who cares, there's a playoff!
Domestic Abuse: The past year has seen serious questions about how the NFL deals with domestic and child abuse among it's players. The questions remain. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising from a game where men violently slam into each other. Like other high profile, lower level sports cases sch as Penn State and Steubanville, one can easily feel that a player or coach can have a blind eye turned on them or get a mere slap on the wrist if the teams' performance is at stake.
Brain Damage : Again with the slamming together. Football players of all levels have a high level of concussion risk: the NFL last year paid out $765 million to settle cases against former players who suffered lasting effects from these concussions. This is such an issue, that the question has been repeatedly raised about the ethics of watching a sport so detrimental to the health of it's players. (Christians, read this also.)
Disrespect of Indigenous Culture: That team from the other Washington. Enough said.
Disproportionate Pay: IN 4/5 of our states, the highest paid employee is a coach. This makes coaches the mega church, gleaming mega pastors of our country.
This doesn't seem quite right to me.
In support of giving a ...care
It's a current trend to not give a ...care. Care is not the word people use, but I work in children and youth ministry, so I watch my language. Not giving a ...care is seen as a good thing, a thing we should admire. I know my visceral, negative reaction has something to do with my image of the person who doesn't give a care as a rude, sweatpants wearing slacker. I've tried reading essays on the subject-I really have- but they lose me with their language usage.
I did get through enough of one essay to hear that , at least in the words of one writer, it's not about indifference, but about not letting the little things get to you.
It still seems a bit dispassionate and unenthusiastic to me.
For me, I'll risk caring too much.
I'm sure in the eyes of some, I care too much, about too many things, and about things not worth caring about. But that's OK. I wouldn't trade it, because I have an an energy and enthusiasm that comes from giving cares. (Or I may just be implacable). I'll keep caring.
Noise is wonderful- a reflection
I know some people hate noise- such people count among my family and coworkers. I love noise, and I'm reflecting on why I love the noise today.
Right now, in my house, the dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, and heater are running. So is the fan in the bathroom where I just took a hot shower. There's noise from the game system we can provide our children, and just minutes ago noise from the vacuum cleaner I used to make our room clean. We live in an area that has at least one power outage a winter, and I am grateful when I can be surrounded by this noise again. May I never take it for granted.