Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sounders 'til I die

Dear Hannah,

Political bumperstickers may be more annoying than bumperstickers about sports, but in terms of insanity they lag very far behind them.  I've never understood why anyone would place a bumpersticker for or against gay marriage on the back of his car, because it implies it was the only opinion he thought was worth telling me.  Religious slogans I can understand.  If you've only got a single chance to deliver a message to the wayward Child of God behind you, it might be a good idea to remind them about Judgment Day -- or maybe, if you don't feel like going this far, about the fact that we're all about to die.  This would at the very least sober him up. 

Then there are people who skip politics and religion and post something about how much they love the Seattle Sounders.  And if you're really interested in going the extra mile in support of the Sounders, which I would argue you already have by choosing to say it more than anything else, you might even go so far as to pledge your fidelity to the sports team in writing.  I saw it earlier today on somebody's SUV.  The message was plain and simple: Sounders 'til I die, which means that whoever this is considered the possibility that a younger and sexier sports team might come his way in the future -- but have no fear.  His fidelity is undying.  He will not leave.  He's in love and he's hear to stay. 

The only thing this left me thinking is that I'm sorry I missed the wedding.  I'm sorry I missed the moment when he tied the knot to a group of men he's probably never met, who probably never pledged their affections to him in the first place because they never met the prerequisite of knowing him at all.  At the very least it's gay enough for a Seattle suburb; and I'm guessing that the hopeless act of throwing yourselves into the arms of a soccer team has a backward kind of romance about it.  I've heard of many men pledging their undying affections to women who didn't love them, which is tragic; and I've heard of fewer men pledging their affections to women who didn't know them, which is usually embarrassing (and occasionally Indian).  To pledge it to a group of unknown jocks can only be hilarious.  Has the driver never had a country?  Or a woman?

Professions of athletic fidelity are something so backward when you think about them that they can only escape our notice by being ubiquitous.  A pledge of devotion is too dramatic a turn of events to go without either censure or approval.  An oath before God and strangers to strangers probably without gods (for basketball players especially are the most godless of mankind) requires a reaction -- which most usually comprises a shrug, if anything at all.  The only thing worse than our mindless pledges is our indifference to their mindlessness.

But if we took sports fidelity and wrote it off as completely ridiculous, I think we'd be missing the point.  Sports fidelity is still fidelity.  And there's a kind of honor in supporting something whether it wins or not, because supporting something whether it wins or not may be the only kind of support worth praising.  An eternal fidelity means we've finally found something we couldn't do without.  The problem isn't that people give their undying support to something.  It's that they feel they can only express it in sports.  It's that marriages aren't romantic enough and patriotism and religion are too "uncivilized" and dangerous to speak about in a society policed by easily offended women. Our problem is that we're terrified of expressing our virtues virtuously.  We've given up all the great things and been forced to fight for anything, because men will always need to fight for something.  Sports are the last refuge of a dying masculinity.  Professions of athletic fidelity are proof that a man never lived for anything worth pledging himself to.

Your father,

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