Writing for Rodney – Day 20

Sports are so weird. People get so worked up about them. And I don’t fully understand it. Even though I participate. To a degree.

There were two huge games today for the NFL. Both had a lot of penalties. The officials seemingly stole the NFC championship game from New Orleans by filling to make a pass interference call. Pass interference is a tough call to make, because early in the game officials seem to not let any transgression go, whereas late in the game they tend to let more stuff go.  But this was just EGREGIOUS. The LA Rams player full on tackled the Saints player while the ball was in the air.And it wasn’t called. Im surprised DJ  didn’t come on screen and say “The NFL doesn’t care about New Orleans” like he did in 2003 during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Int he second game the New England Patriots bested the Kansas City Chiefs in an all time classic that went to overtime. So much has been made of the referees playing favorites with the Pats, but they had a bunch of calls go against them as well. In the end, In have to ask, who really cares… and why?  It’s a game, right? But it’s a game tied to your CITY, so all of a sudden people get so tribal. People who seem to have very little civic pride in much of anything tend to get all worked about about sports. When, in reality, you aren’t even rooting for a city. You just happen to be rooting for the same laundry that most of the rest of the people in your city root for. Really, you’re rooting for a rag tag bunch of mercenaries, who are only playing on the team that’s based in your city because your city’s billionaire is paying them more than any of the other city’s billionaires.

People don’t seem to get that. Sports was a business. You’re rooting for a god damned corporation, with a billionaire CEO. Long gone is the era of sports teams being staffed by people from that city. Sure, back then, I get it. The bears were amazing because Chicago was a rough guy city. You had to be tough to endure those long winters. And it felt great when the big grown beef fed midwestern came to town and beat the mamba pamby New England chowderheads. 

But now? Everyone on the Bears might be on the Patriots next year. Or might hav e already been on the patriots. Hell, even the tram owners don’t have any loyalty to their cities. Many teams aren’t owned by natives of that city, and so many owners threaten to move their teams if they don’t get some crazy new stadium which will be funded by taxpayer money. Which is almost never a good thing, as ALL the research shows.  Stadiums never throw off the tax money and jobs they claim to, and certainly never revitalize neighborhoods. Most everyone drives into the stadium on game day with the cars full of all the goods they need, and then disappear after the game, turning the area into a veritable ghost town on the 358 days a year that nobody is playing football there. The most economic benefit most people who live nearby can hope for is to charge people $10 to park on their lawn on game day.  Whooooooo!

Where else is this blind loyalty shown? Nowhere that I can think of. Especially in entertainment, which is what sorts really is. Think about it… People will continue to love a sports team FOREVER, regardless of if they win or lose. And actually, when a team is a perennial loser is when a lot of fans double down and love them even more. Look at teams like the Cleveland Browns, the NY Knicks, NY Jets, NY Mets, the Buffalo Bills etc… Teams who haven’t been competitive in eons, and have abysmal track records of getting things done in the big championship games. The fans of those teams wear it as a badge of honor. They profess their love for their teams specifically BECAUSE they never win. Like their suffering makes them martyrs of some sort. Imagine doing that with music. Sure I LOVED Bon Jovi for a long time. But then they started making crappy records, starting in the late 2000’s at which point I continued to love going to see them live. Even though they started putting on pretty much he same show year after year. Very little variation on the set-lists and even a lot of the same banter. It began to grow tired. And they they started introducing VIP meet and great packages for as much as $5,000. And it dawned on me that maybe by this point, they were only in it for the money. And then Jon fired Richie. And that was the start that broke this camel’s back.  I haven’t been to a Bon Jovi show since, and Im not sure I ever will. Unless maybe they hire Richie back, but even then, I’ll know Im not seeing the real Bon Jovi, I would equate that to going to see an Old Timer’s Game at Yankee stadium.

Thats a totally typical scenario in rock n roll. Band are. Putting out great records, and you love them and you go see them live. They stop with the great records and you still go see them. Until one day, you realize they are no longer relevant so you stop going to see them altogether. Or maybe you keep going to see them for nostalgia purposes. At least as long as there are some original members in there.

Winning games, and being competitive in a your league, is the sports equivalent to putting out good albums. Once a team hits a hard losing skid, why do people continue to support them? Nostalgia? I can get with that. But what about when there aren’t any players left from the good era. Then it’s really an entirely new team. Why get excited about that? You’re just rooting for laundry. And filling the pockets of a billionaire who doesn’t care about you.

Sort of reminds me of religion. Something you back because your parents told you to.

So weird.

Rodney didn’t like sports. Or religion. But he did support a lot of rock n roll bands long after they stopped having hits. So Im not sure this was a good example. But I loved him every day, no matter what. Like so many other people love their sports teams. I guess we are all a bunch of weridos.