Saturday, October 29, 2011

"No, I am your father." (Quotent Quotables)



"It's like the last plane out of Saigon."
-- Sean McAdam,
comparing the Boston Red Sox' emotion after their loss on the last game of the regular season keeping them out of the playoffs to the day the United States realized that it had spent the lives of thousands of young men needlessly in a global chessmatch, and abruptly cut and run, abandoning to a brutal communist regime the civilians it had promised to protect.
Also,it was a helicopter, so way to go on the history.

"If you're a Rangers fan, there were 3 or 4 times you thought you'd won the World Series. That's got to be brutal today."

-- Paulie,
on The Dan Patrick Show, displaying for listeners just how easy his life has been in that he thinks someone else losing a game is brutal.

That quote from Paulie was about game six, by the way -- so the Rangers still had a shot. But this may be a particularly appropriate post in light of the fact that the Rangers now actually lost the Series last night. I know that from Twitter; I haven't read any of the stories about it because I (a) don't care and (b) would probably just get mad, in re this post's subject.

Here's how long you can be sad after a team which you don't play on loses a game:

Regular season game: 2 minutes.
Post-season game: 5 minutes.
Championship: 10 minutes.

That's it.

Let's get a sense of perspective here, can we? It's a game. It is a... game... that has absolutely zero impact on anything that matters. It is entertainment, and it is no more important or worth mourning than any other thing you watch on TV, see in a theater, or look at in an art museum or play in an XBox. Crying, being upset (more than momentarily), being angry about sports is like being said about Degas' The Absinthe Drinker:



Or maybe more ridiculous, in that The Absinthe Drinker, a painting that was panned when it first came out and then generally ridiculed (one commentator called the woman in the painting a whore, which really shows the difference in cultures between then and now. Back in 1893, a woman could sit in full dress in an absinthe lounge and be seen as a threat to the morals of society. Nowadays, Courtney Stodden gets kicked out of a pumpkin patch and ends up on Dr. Dean, which, is he really a doctor?)

At least The Absinthe Drinker was saying something important about society -- it was said to represent the decline of Paris although the subject matter was deemed vulgar (back then, the Parents' Councils had to boycott paintings, I bet). Sports don't say anything more important about society than that we have enough money to pay Ryan Fitzpatrick a guaranteed $2 million per win so far but not enough money to, as a society, pay for treatment for Nikki White's lupus so that she wouldn't die of a treatable condition.

Even if those quotes above are taken as joking, or as referring only to a sports kind of brutal rather than a brutal kind of brutal (you know what's brutal, Paulie? A Texas man in 2010 was sentenced to 99 years in prison for having locked three kids in a hotel bathroom and starving them to the point of brain atrophy while he raped the eldest one. That went on for 9 months. Or about as long as the baseball season. How long do you suppose Rangers' fans felt bad about that?) they're still overblown, because sports are entertainment and while it's all right to root for a team or teams (as I do) and against Tony Romo (as I do) you've got to keep it in perspective. These guys are millionaires. They don't care. If they cared about winning championships Aaron Kampman wouldn't have left Green Bay the year after they made the playoffs and before they won the Super Bowl to go to Jacksonville.

So they don't really care, but you care, which is fine, provided that you care no more than you ought to, and here's how I measure how much you ought to care and how I came up with those numbers in this post. Remember that quote in the headline? It's from The Empire Strikes Back, which is generally regarded as the best of the Star Wars movies by everyone but me (I prefer Star Wars).

Well, what happened in Empire? Nothing good for the good guys, who kept getting the tar beat out of them. Han Solo was frozen in carbonite. Chewie and C3PO might never have consummated their love (thanks, Lisa Pepin!). Luke was attacked by a Wampa, crash-landed on a swamp, saw his greatest fear, and then had his hand cut off while learning that he was related to Dick Cheney. At the end, the Rebel forces were scattered and Lando had the Falcon back. The only movie that was more sad was Schindler's List.

But people didn't rend their garments, gnash their teeth, and beat up their wives after Empire. They loved it because even though the good guys kept losing it was exciting.

Sports aren't real. Don't be an idiot. Hope for an exciting game and if your team wins, great. If they lose, too bad. Then it's over and grow up and move on.

3 comments:

Rogue Mutt said...

Well you know how Red Sox fans are. They're like a bunch of spoiled 3-year-olds. So are Yankees "fans" for that matter. If everything doesn't go their way they whine and bawl like it's the freaking Hindenburg.

I'd be pretty bummed if I were a Rangers fan. They had that thing won and then let it slip away. What's really got to hurt is those Games 6-7 would have been in Arlington if Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson hadn't given up a home run to Prince Fielder in the All-Star Game. How stupid is that system in baseball? I could see in 2002 after the tie where it might have mattered, but it's been 9 freaking years and it's an EXHIBITION game anyway.

Also, how stupid do the Phillies feel? If they had let the Braves win that last series the Cardinals never would have made the playoffs, let alone beat them and gone on to win the World Series.

And just to prove there's no justice and probably no God, Mark McGwire gets a World Series ring as the team's hitting coach. Though on the bright side, Worst President Ever's team didn't win, so we got that going for us.

Rogue Mutt said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with sports mattering to people. The Tigers matter to me. I know it's a bunch of millionaires playing a child's game, but I don't care about that. I have a deep connection to the team from the games I watched with my dad and brother (including two at old Tiger Stadium in the '80s) and we listened to on the radio when it was still Ernie Harwell broadcasting the games. Over time there's an emotional connection that doesn't really change despite how the team itself may change.

Similarly in Empire I was invested in the characters and their struggle. (Also light sabers are wicked awesome, but that's another discussion.) So I cared about their story. Far less so in the prequels when all of the characters seemed contrived to sell action figures.

Anyway, the point is, real fans care about winning or losing because they have an attachment to their team. Especially when times are hard, it's nice to have something to rally around.

Then there are the whiny bandwagon fans who only cheer for the team because it's trendy. Those people suck. But if you really are a longtime fan of the Rangers and are invested in the team then it's OK to be bummed out. Or if you're a Philly fan you can be bummed out because your team stupidly won those games against the Braves and inadvertently set up their own demise. D'OH!

I'll probably expand this into a blog post. Beware!!!

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