It’s not everyone who gets Ga-Ga about sports, but lots of us do. I’m not sure why. Here are a few suggestions:
- we have nothing better to do
- competition boils the blood
- a proclivity for getting attached
- community pride
- love sports like professional wrestling and hi alai
- the spectacle and pagentry
- we miss the gladiatorial days of blood sport
The Houston Astros are in the World Series with the Washington Nationals. Houstonians thought we would smoke the Nationals four games to none. We didn’t.
The Nationals came to Houston and won the first two games, and the second game was a total blow out. The sporting world was stunned. I was. It was crazy. The Nationals were unbothered by our Hall of Fame pitching and unfazed by our rowdy Texas crowds. They flew back confident that with three games in their home park they would win the Series. They didn’t.
It was Houston’s turn to stun the sporting world by winning all three games. Two of them were total blow outs. The Astros return to Houston for the final two games. We believe one is all they need, the next one.
People get a little nuts in professional sports playoffs. They throw things at the opposing players. They boo. They shout profanities. They yell ugly words and say tacky things. Wow, tacky things, sounds rough.
It’s all in fun, right? Sure it is. Of course it is because it’s only a game. So hearing people shout, “Let’s kill em,” shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
People get carried away when they are upset, angry and jealous. In France they shouted, “Off with his head, off with his head.” In the old west the crowd shouted, “Lynch him, string him up.” In more modern times, “Gas him” or “Give the Chair.” In ancient Rome the crowd voted for death with a thumbs up or thumbs down.
In Jerusalem, with Jesus on trial, they shouted, “Crucify him, crucify him.” Was it all in good fun? Only a game? Was the crowd just a little rowdy?
No, they were genuinely riled up. Not for sport, or politics, or food or human rights. It was about religion. The craziest stuff of all happens when people are consumed with religious hate and bent on religious violence.
Riots, ethnic cleanings, genocide, inquisitions, violent crusades, murders, and lynchings are but a few examples of religious fanaticism.
In crucifying Jesus his opponents believed they delivered a total blow out. They didn’t.
I like fan fanaticism. It makes the game more interesting, the sport more appealing, and the playoffs more intense.
Religious fanaticism? Well, no thank you.