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Even if you didn't watch last night's Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins playoff game—for that matter, even if you're not a hockey fan—this post says a lot. And notice how even the writer had to apologize for something he wrote in his original post:

(Out of bounds)



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
But it's not just sports. The internet seems to foster this kind of stupidity.
Jun. 2nd, 2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly. People have been shouting all manner of unpleasant things about "the other guy," whether it be "other" in religion, race, gender, geography, income, sexual proclivities, arbitrary side taken in a sport, or any one of countless other traits, for as long as there have been people. We'll take any excuse.

But the Internet's so new people haven't learned yet how to behave on it; they treat their social media like a phone call, a living room, shooting the shit over a beer with their friends. We behave as if no one other than the people we regularly interact with can hear or see us, when of course the whole world can. And thus people organize riots as Facebook events and the local police sign themselves up as "attending." A woman bragged on Twitter about hitting a cyclist when she was driving, clearly never dreaming that in so doing she'd get herself arrested and fired for making her employer look bad.

Obviously it'd be better if people didn't harbor such nasty thoughts or inclinations. But they aren't specific to sports, and I'm not even sure the internet makes them more prevalent, just better-known.
Jun. 2nd, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
Holly, you're right about people shouting at people based on religion, race, gender, geography, income, and sexual proclivities—and, sad to say, it's never going to go away. But that's all Serious Business. People have been hurt or even killed based on those traits. But do games and entertainment rise to the level of serious social concerns? Of course not. The fact that so many people take sports so damned seriously is a real sickness in society.
Jun. 2nd, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
You're right: It's not just about sports, but I wasn't trying to address anything else. And public stupidity seems particularly out of place when the stupidity is directed toward something with so little to do with anyone's day to day life.
Jun. 2nd, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
Insensitive, cruel, hateful, and stupid remarks are indelible…and there is not one of us that has not experienced the pain as either the deliverer of such remarks or as the recipient. Words can often be forgiven...but rarely forgotten Holiday
Jun. 2nd, 2013 11:58 pm (UTC)
You're right: the "forgotten" part is nearly impossible; the "forgiving" part is relatively easy.
Jun. 3rd, 2013 01:39 am (UTC)
Was it a sickness when 19,000 people packed an arena and sang the national anthem together two days after the bombing?

I've seen sports bring out the worst in people (especially fans in a certain city on the eastern half of Pennsylvania). There's the "it's not just sports" argument, but there are also examples of sports serving as an outlet, even a catalyst, for expressions of the good that lives in people.

A few examples:






And it's not just extraordinary acts. What about families huddling together on Sundays to watch the NFL together? Or kids from different neighborhoods flocking to a playground to play some pick-up basketball?

Again, yes, there's a lot of ugly in our sports culture, but I don't think someone's admittedly arrogant blog post on Boston.com is a fair, complete commentary on what sports/entertainment can - and do - mean to people.
Jun. 3rd, 2013 02:16 am (UTC)
And it's kind of a moot point, but I think a major penalty on Cooke was a little excessive. Cooke didn't have to hit McQuaid that hard - especially with the microscope he's playing under - but I don't think he was anticipating McQuaid turning toward the boards with the puck. It was an ugly play, a dangerous one, but I thought it wasn't as dirty or as illegal as it could have been.
Jun. 3rd, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
It was dirty enough and dangerous enough. Cooke no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt. Having said that, Marchard should have received a major too.
Jun. 3rd, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
No, it wasn't a sickness that people packed the arena, but let's think about what their singing of the national anthem is a symptom of: the increasing link between sports and our military. The national anthem is sung at every sporting event, which raises the question of why sports are so important that we should treat them as such a vital fabric of America? Think of that the next time you see jets fly over a Big Game in an outdoors arena.

Then there's the massive, cynical exploitation of "student athletes," who are nothing more than cheap labor that allows the NCAA and, by extensive, the sports television industry to make billions of dollars a year through the athletes' toil. This is a national disgrace. The system profits massively and then spits the students out once they can no longer contribute to the piggy bank.

Look at cage fighting and boxing. Look at football. All are organized forms of mayhem that can take terrible human tolls. For example, look at Muhammad Ali today. How about Derek Boogard? How many NFL players have been left in permanently crippled conditions, all so they can contribute to the dollar machine that is the NFL? One could argue these athletes are doing what they do willingly—but is it worth it?

Look at the salaries college football and basketball coaches command. Is our hoops coach really worth twice as much to our university as the president? In the A10, we have the smallest athletic budget—but I'm told that in terms of the athletics budget to the total university budget, we lead the conference. How did that make your life better as a student in terms of the courses, equipment and faculty that those athletics dollars might have paid for? Is sitting in a packed arena a dozen times a year for some (largely) alcohol-fueled camaraderie worth what you pay for it?

In how many states is the head coach of a major football program the highest-paid state employee? Look at Penn State: a situation that appears to have been at least partially enabled by a look-the-other-way jock culture. Or the situation with the Notre Dame student who killed herself after an ugly, sex-related intersection with ND's grid culture.

I've watched my share of football with the guys in a bar, and I certainly played a lot of playground baseball and sandlot football and driveway hoops in my life. I used to live on that stuff in the summer. It kept me lean, in shape and, most important, out of trouble. In short, sports made my life better. But I would argue that sports' excesses occur at the some of very highest economic levels of our culture, and that fact alone dwarfs the good things we can link to sports. Were the guys who posted hate mail about Boston a wide-ranging enough sample of the jockistocracy? No. But they were just one symptom of countless symptoms that say our society is way, way too impressed by sports, at the expense of thousands of lives.

One more thing: The more sports we get, the more we want. How many ESPN stations are there now? How many other sports-related networks and channels? Are people better off if they mindlessly watch a football game because "there's nothing else to do," or might they be better off reading an article in The Atlantic or doing something that might actually force them to think?
Jun. 4th, 2013 02:13 pm (UTC)
Give the people what they want
Jun. 4th, 2013 03:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Give the people what they want
The first two paragraphs of that entry sum up the situation perfectly.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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