I wish people could get as worked-up over actual issues as they do about losing Twinkies and buying Powerball tickets. I suppose the real issues are too stressful, so they tackle the ones that are easy.
I listen to sports talk radio during the day. Usually, it's a respite from the stress of the day. A chance to listen to people discussing mundane issues. Lately, the talk has centered around Eagles head coach Andy Reid and his almost certain dismissal. I hear fans screaming and complaining about the team's poor performance and gnashing their teeth over their 7-straight losses. I wonder (quietly to myself) if they would be as upset if their kid came home with a bad report card or threw a rock at the neighborhood cat? I'd guess not.
The relative anonymity of the talk radio caller is enhanced by the distance they are from the team they are criticizing. Often, we see a bad movie or television show, and either walk out in disgust or change the channel. Sports fans feel the need to gripe in public and pretend that the team is a reflection of them.
Eagles fans (or Phillies, Flyers or Sixers fans) are somehow representative of their city. Cleveland is a "City of Losers" because their sports teams under-perform. The Dallas Cowboys are "America's Team," for some reason. It's a strange relationship that I do not fully understand.
If I go to work wearing a shirt that bears the Orioles' logo, I am invariably greeted with questionable comments like, "Orioles?" and I am expected to justify my clothing choice. I can, however, show up wearing a shirt that has a Nike or Oakley logo and not get a second glance. There is something about the sports logo that inspires people to question me.
At this point, I'm burned out on sports talk. The babble is relentless: Fire Andy, trade the players and change the team's management. It all seems so important - until I realize that it's somebody else's job and only affects me to the extent that I allow it to affect me - which is not at all. Like complaining about the weather, I can't change it. It's not my business, and I have my own problems to deal with. Perhaps ... ah, no ... if I allowed sports to affect my life more, my life problems would seem less significant? No.
If sports didn't have America by the short hairs, there would be no demand for gambling, television, and the assorted magazines and fantasy games that sports fans participate in. There are Sports Bars, dedicated to nothing but showing games on big TVs while people guzzle lite beer and scarf chicken wings. Where are the Business Bars where people sit and watch CNBC and talk about the plight of Corning's stock? Where are the Politics Bars where Democrats and Republicans sit and hash-out the affairs of the day? The Science Bar, where global warming and the Chinese space program are debated? Nowhere, mon frère.
Fantasy football? There's a concept. A shame more people can't grasp it. Figure out reality first, then work on your fantasy game.