Sports and fandom

Today is the Super Bowl.

Although I grew up in a sports household (I was named after Ricky Henderson, who set the league record for stolen bases the year before I was born), I never was that into sports. I enjoyed playing sports, but I never was into watching them as much, as I couldn’t control the outcome.

So it’s no big deal for me to boycott the Super Bowl, as I don’t really care.

But boycott I shall, as it has proven time and time again to be a racist institution that profits off the lives of the predominantly Black Americans who play in it.

Regardless of your feelings about Colin Kaepernick, kneeling during a national anthem, or your feelings about people getting paid huge sums of money to give themselves brain damage to make larger, astronomical sums of money for the franchise owners – I wanted to talk a bit about what it means to be a fan.

I’m don’t want to criticize those who are super fans of sports franchises, or of other things, but I do want to question the need to wrap up our own self-worth with something we have very little control over. In a world that is getting increasingly smaller, we’re going to be in contact more and more with people who cheer for different teams, or like different musicians, or have different taste in films.

It’s fine to not like something – after all, our likes and dislikes are what make us unique, but I’m questioning the need to both hype up our own team as the only solution as well as attacking things that other might like that we disagree in.

As a competitive skee-ball roller, I want my home team of San Francisco to win, and rollers from SF to win. But that doesn’t mean I talk smack on rollers from other cities. I get cheering for your home city, but attacking others is a big league no-no.

All in all, no one is perfect, but we should all strive to remember that people are messy, and that in their own mind, given their own experiences and lives, no one is acting foolishly.

Let’s start moving more towards empathy and compassion and infinite games, rather than divisiveness, competition, and zero-sum games.

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