The Rules

I welcome rational, reasoned debate here. That means you can't rely on "I feel..." or "I think..." with no support. If you are going to the trouble to express yourself, please feel free to do so, but understand that I expect everyone to ground their arguments in empirical data rather than emotions, so explain why you're thinking or feeling something.

Furthermore, if you make personal attacks or are overly insulting, I will warn you, and if you persist, I will delete your comments. Call it censorship if you must, but I'm really not interested in promoting the prevalent culture of entitlement, ego-gratification, and irrationality... I sincerely had hoped that the title of the blog would've tipped you off to that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Decline of Western Sports Fandom...

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"
--Winston Churchill

It's funny- 'Fan' is short for 'Fanatic', and fanatic is defined as "A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasmbut up until recently, sports fandom in general didn't seem to me to be so... well, unreasoning.  I freely admit that the human mind does tend to idealize the past; after all, Philly fans certainly have a long history of being exceptionally zealous and of course 'football hooligans' overseas are nothing new, so maybe this isn't as new a phenomenon as I perceive it to be, but still...
It seems like sports fans are getting more and more pants-on-the-head crazy at an accelerating pace.  Fans leaping out of the stands to attack coaches, parents at little league games assaulting other parents, the coaches, or the officials, a Phillies fan intentionally vomiting on an 11-year-old girl, and of course, the poisoning of the trees incident at Auburn.
Is anyone going to be surprised when a fan kills a fan of the opposing team at a sporting event?
This has been on my mind a while now, and those thoughts intersected with the comments section over at Seth Emerson's excellent Bulldogs blog... ah yes, the comments section.  The last bastion of erudite discussion with fellow fans...  (no, I couldn't keep a straight face as I typed that.)
The post in question detailed the University of Georgia Men's Basketball team blowing a 14 point lead in the second half (with less than 8 minutes left, actually) to lose to Alabama in the second round of the SEC Tournament.  It is a loss that seriously impairs UGA's chances of getting an 'At Large' bid to the NCAA Tournament.  In the comments section, there were a slew of Anonymous posters calling for the firing of Mark Fox (the Head Coach, if you're not a UGA fan).  And all I could think was 'whu...? Wait, what???'
We're talking about Men's Basketball here.  Now I understand being upset at such a brutal loss, but UGA has never been a power in Men's Basketball-- UGA is a football school and always has been: to the tune of 1 regular season title and 2 conference tournament titles in Men's Basketball ever.[source]  That means that Vanderbilt has more titles total than we do!  VANDY!  (I'll let that sink in for a moment.)
To compound that, Mark Fox is only in his second year as head coach, following Dennis Felton, who, I believe it is fair to say, left the program in a state of disarray.  By my line of thinking, any increased success would be welcome.  As long as the team is trending upward, or setbacks can reasonably explained and addressed, we should be happy and hopeful for the future.  After all, we're talking about Men's Basketball, here.  I would like my Alma Mater to be successful in all her sports, but given the history of the program, it's very easy to see that it's not going to be a quick-fix.
And yet, there seems to be a segment of UGA fans who believe that they are entitled to be instantly gratified with championships in any sport, just because they're fans of the school. That they somehow magically know more than professionals who have been coaching their entire careers, just because they watch 40 minutes of basketball.
The mind boggles.
I have to wonder where this sense of entitlement comes from.  Is it from the instant gratification culture that Western society has fostered, with the Internet, Fast Food, on demand entertainment, etc.?  Or perhaps the Boomer parents who coddled and pampered their children to the point of excess in some sort of guilt-ridden rebellion over how strict their own parents were are at fault.  Could it be laid at the feet of the bleeding heart liberal educators who push their 'everybody is a special snowflake' Utopian pablum and try to abolish winning and losing (and competition in general) as somehow 'evil' because somebody's feelings might get hurt?
Whatever the root of the problem, it is huge and it is vexing.  The truth is, these jackasses need to realize that they are not the center of the universe, stop braying like a whiny three year old, and learn that there is going to be adversity in life, and how you are measured as a person will largely depend on the grace with which you handle it as well as the intelligence and fortitude you use to overcome it.
Why do I say they 'must' do this?  Well, laying aside the fact that are going to spend a lot of time disappointed by life if they maintain that absurd sense of arrogance and entitlement, the truth is, rational, reasonable fans of the University of Georgia cannot help but be associated with them by the simple fact of the colors we all wear.  And when they act like petulant, spoiled dumbshits, it's embarrassing to anyone who bleeds Red and Black.
I personally hate it-- I know every school has its share of fans who act like retards and fools, and I certainly can understand that percentage going up in the heat of the moment, during the games.  But on the Internet, days later?  I would completely understand an impartial observer reading the comments on an article over at (which I avoid like the plague, so no linky...) and thinking "wow, Georgia fans are all either batshit-loco or whiny little bitches."
One more comment and I'll stop ranting and raving... for now, anyway.
In regards to Anonymous posters, well, this cartoon by Penny Arcade pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter:
Copyright 2011 - Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
Penny Arcade is a gaming webcomic (thus the Unreal Tournament 2004 reference), but this really does ring true.  If you're going to say something, at least have the courage of your convictions to put a name to your words-- hell, it's the Internet, it doesn't even have to be your real name.  But at least validate your beliefs by having an identity (even a fake one) associated with them.

Posting Anonymously just makes you look like a coward. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Rules

You know, I'm not a person who is big on blogging. Honestly? I think that most bloggers are the kind of people who are just babbling because they fear silence. Now that that's out of the way... Let me say this first: I DO NOT THINK that I am better than you. I DO NOT THINK that my opinions are more valid than yours. That said, I expect for you guys and gals to present logical and cogent arguments when you're debating with me. If you're one of the 'madding crowd' who just spews off what you heard/read in the media, and seems to be incapable of rational, independent thought, then be prepared to enjoy the full extent of my scorn, because you are, as the kids say, weak-sauce. Now, just to make things nice and sparkling clear: I usually won't debate you on Baseball. I definitely won't debate you on Basketball. I doubt you'll find me involved Hockey arguments... My expertise is Football. My father was an All-American tackle at a Big-10 university in the 50s. He played Professional Football for 5 different teams across 7 years during the 60s. (Both on AFL and NFL teams if you were wondering.) I was an unplanned child, with two older sisters, so- as you can likely guess- I had a football in my crib from <15 minutes after I was born. I was a pretty decent football player, but I don't like to talk about it. Let it just be said that an injury ended my career, just when it was most promising. Regardless, the point is: I've been living and breathing football pretty much since 15 minutes after I was born. Does that make me better than you? No. Does that make me always right? Certainly not. But it does mean that I'm not just going to 'take your word for it'. You're going to have to come up with some fundamentally sound and factually grounded arguments, because I'm fairly certain that I've got a stronger background in football than 99% of the football fans these days, regardless of how strident they may be. So, bring it. I love to have people question me, and I'm more than willing to invest the time and effort in coming up with a response to someone who presents a solid intellectual challenge to what I have said. But if you can't come up with rational arguments?? Be prepared for me to mock you, because I don't have time to waste on people who try to puff themselves up as experts, when they are really just irrational fans.