I think that we can all recognize that there is something a little disconcerting about sports enthusiasm in our digital, globalized culture. We develop deep, lasting emotional attachments to entities like a team, or a school, or to complete strangers whom we will never meet.
I get it. Sports can be a weird kind of thing. We invest hundreds and thousands of hours of our attention into arbitrary athletic contests that impact our lives in no direct, tangible way. We spend money to advertise for these teams on our bodies. We, the viewers, are the ones paying the billions of dollars that keep the sports industry running. Non-sports enthusiasts often ask me what the point is, what are we getting in return for that investment. What are we buying with all those hours, all those dollars?
The easy answer is catharsis, the vicarious engagement in a contest with a clear opposition in a culture that has so little clarity, so few opportunities to unabashedly be pro-US and anti-You. Another easy answer is community. We live in such busy, disconnected lives that a sports team might be the only reason I talk to my neighbor, ever. That community travels, also, as I might be in a foreign country, but if I see that red, white, and blue block A, I know that a "Bear Down" gets me a fist bump, and a friend.
I think one of the answers that gets ignored is the consistency. The world is a shifty, scary place. When I am struggling with the fact that the world doesn't work the way that I thought it did, when I am losing faith in my ability to control anything, I can turn on SportsCenter, and know exactly what I am going to get. Smooth and natural, they could have just legally changed Stu's name to butter, because that dude was always on a roll.
Thoughts on culture, community, and development.