Rally the dupes

Why are sports fans obnoxious?

Taken individually they’re usually okay; they’re like anyone else with an enthusiasm you don’t share. But put them in a group and they usually become dicks; loud, rowdy, aggressive. This doesn’t happen with, say, fans of classical music, or Star Trek. The Trekkies may get a little weird, but they don’t go around shouting and chanting and getting in fights. You never hear of a riot in the streets after a city’s symphony orchestra wins an award.

So why is it that every commuter had to put up with a trainful of boisterous chanting jerks Friday morning, just so a bunch of hockey louts could come to the city, watch a “parade” (actually just a string of buses and someone holding a giant silver tub), and go to a rally? What’s the point of encouraging this?

I realize I sound like an old grouch here, but be assured, many years ago I was a young grouch about the same thing. Except for the scale, this is no different from the stupid pep rallies I was forced to attend in high school, to build our “school spirit” and get the jocks all pumped up to go beat the other team. Of course, the other team wasn’t immediately at hand, so they’d usually redirect their energy into beating the local nerds instead, and you see a lot of that type all grown up at the sports rallies too. At the time I felt like the rallies, and “school spirit” in general, were a cynical ploy to keep us all focused on manufactured rivalries and invented loyalties, to divert our energy and attention. And I still think that. Professional sports are a gigantic diversion, “school spirit” writ large, the difference being that pro sports have the additional effect of extracting hundreds of millions of dollars from the fans. You can keep people distracted and make them pay for the privilege – that’s America!

So, a parade in the streets and a rally in the park, bringing in lowbrows from all over the area to grunt and cheer because our local group of pro sports thugs successfully beat up the local groups from other cities? (And yes, I said “beat up,” not “beat,” because that’s what hockey is.) Ugh. Pass. Let me know when we have a parade and a rally for scientists instead – you know, the people who are curing diseases and inventing the technology that will save us from ourselves, instead of knocking each other’s teeth out with sticks. I’ll go to that parade.

Which means I’ll never go to a parade.

2 Thoughts on “Rally the dupes

  1. “…. put them in a group and they usually become dicks; loud, rowdy, aggressive. This doesn’t happen with, say, fans of classical music….”

    Hm. Am I wrong to remember getting shot down in flames when I pointed out that one is never kept awake in the small hours by people playing Bach or Palestrina, whereas aficionados of other genres (which I have been taught not to attempt to name) seem actually incapable of playing them only to themselves?

    Someone who lived under Soviet-style communism in its salad days said that the worst part was having to go to all the parades and celebrations and fake the enthusiasm. Funnily enough, CS Lewis said exactly the same thing about the English public school. Now there’s an unholy trinity for you: Red Square, the playing fields of Eton and the NFL.

    “…… manufactured rivalries and invented loyalties, to divert our energy and attention.” So, how many goals did our Long War team score?

    • dwasifar on July 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm said:

      “Am I wrong to remember getting shot down in flames when I pointed out that one is never kept awake in the small hours by people playing Bach or Palestrina…”

      I don’t know what you could possibly mean. :)

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