I consolidated the stories about Fred.


...long live, Hill Blocks View. I miss writing. But the thought of one more round of "welcome backs", or obsessing over stats, or thinking of the clever response to a comment, or the obligation to read everyone else's blog... not so much. So I'll try and write. No pressure. If you feel the need to respond, you can email me. I like email. flipaul@yahoo.com

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sports and Suffering and Existential Angst and Whatnot

Being a fan of a team is an odd thing. Only one team a year can win it all. That means everyone else is a loser, or even more pathetic, a fan of a loser. Even if "your" team manages to pull it off, and be the last team standing, the rush that you get doesn't seem to last as long or be as strong as the crushing feeling when they lose. After pulling for a team and having them fail, (over and over and over) and being devastated yet again, you can understand why some people are "frontrunners". The most common definition for a frontrunner is: someone who waits to see who is going to win and then is suddenly struck with the thought that winners are cool and that they want to be cool so they declare themselves fans. (OK, so that's not the most common definition, but who's writing this, you or me?)
     I was a frontrunner once. I didn't have a team, they had just won the Superbowl, and I liked the mascot. If there had been a team called the “Monkeys”, I might have been a fan of that team, but there wasn't. So I picked the Miami Dolphins. I was two. What do you expect? I didn't realize then that the colors were a little soft, and that Miami is better place to lay on the beach and be seen at super trendy nightclubs than it is to play football in. They haven't won many big games since I became a fan four decades ago. But, with the exception of the year that won only one game, (ouch!) they are rarely terrible either. Astoundingly mediocre, that's my team. I have stuck by them.
     But why? Why are we more loyal to our teams than to spouses, or places of employment? People will have three wives and four jobs and still be loyal to a team that has been a complete disappointment for their whole life. I understand if it is your home team. I live in Albuquerque, I am stuck with the UNM Lobos. But if you aren't, why put yourself through it? Why not just jump on the bandwagon of that hot team; change your team like changing styles? Because! That is the most unforgivable sin a fan can commit. A fan sticks with his team come hell or high water. Them's the rules.
     So I stand by my team. Even the Lobo football team, who have won an astounding two games in the last two years, (that's one a year for those of you counting at home.) It blows. I should probably just give up on watching sports altogether. Many of my friends tell me sports are time wasters and neanderthal-esque. But what about my friends? Even if they aren't a fan of a major sport, they are always interested in something with fanatical devotion. The Society for Creative Anachronism, (and their post-apocalyptic counter part) video game freaks, movie buffs, audiophiles, comic book collectors, and there are even sickos that like soccer. All second rate substitutes to real fandom.
     Plus, many brilliant creative types are also wacko sports fans. Stephen King, George Will, and Ken Burns are all die hard baseball fans. The last two presidents share something in common, (besides tons of people vociferously hating them,) they are both huge sports fans. So being a fan doesn't make you a knucklehead. Perhaps it is even good for you. Artists need suffering to create, right? Sticking with my sucky teams, makes me better as an artist. Yeah, that's what I'm going with. 
     BUT, what happens when your team wins? How do I justify winning, with my creative suffering premise? For instance, about ten years ago I picked the Red Sox as my baseball team. "B is for Becky" my wife told me, (Yes, her name is Becky) they also had one of the best rivalries in the sporting world, and they hadn't won in over eighty years. Nobody was going to accuse me of being a bandwagon fan. Then, after only a couple of short seasons, the bastards WON. What the hell?! I thought I was going to get a lifetime of Aaron "Frickin" Boone, and Bucky Dent; lots of opportunities to get depressed, miserable and be artsy. How did I feel? AWESOME! When the Red Sox came back from three games down and beat the Evil Empire, and then won the World Series, it felt ridiculously fantastic. Aside from marrying my wife and the births of my children, it was truly one of the best moments of my life. I was stupid happy. 
    OK, so ignore all that ridiculous touchy-feely crap about angst and suffering, that was written by a whiny loser. The reason that you stand by a team, is that if they do finally win it all, the payoff is amazing. And, the longer you've suffered the more special it will be. (until the next season, when your team gets swept by the hated rivals, and then MY LIFE IS OVER, MY TEAM SUCKS SO BAD!) So pick a team and stick with them, they might win. If not, maybe you can be the next Steven King, (he is a Red Sox fan) look how prolific he is. Have you noticed he wrote his best books before the Red Sox won it all? (If you ever read this Mr. King, I am sorry. I love you, and was only trying to make a point.) Hopefully next year, the Red Sox will battle for a World Series, the Dolphins will turn the corner and get into the play-offs, and the Lobo's? Well... they will always be there when I need a shot of suffering so I can create. Win or lose, I can't lose.