Stop being a sports fan | Thoughts #33

I think almost all of us, regardless of how much sport content we consume, what category of it, support one team or the other for reasons either unknown, unacknowledged or justified. There is something very intriguing about sports that everyone jumps to know which team won. But sports shouldn’t matter, at all for its fundamentals, let me explain why.

I, like many others, have played tons of sports matches, from cricket, to football, to badminton. And I totally understand the importance of playing the sport, but not the importance of the sport. And yes, there is a difference.

Sports has become a “religion”, and this is not an overstatement. Just imagine the “fans”, they buy clothes that represent them in the team’s identity, they have chants that they shout in gatherings, they feel actual pain at a loss, and pleasure beyond comprehension on a nail-biting win, some have passed down the support from one generation to the other, they pray for the team’s success, they spend entire savings to attend the matches around the country, their team goes to “war” with the other teams and so on. Here I’m not trying to mock religion by the way, it is the “religiosity” that has been induced into sports, which creates the issue. A proud “super-fan” rather a fanatic, will buy shirts and chants slogans, go home and drink beer on victory and shout at kids on a loss, and then repeat this over every weekend – which it has become.

There is a reason why sports, its athletes and personalities have such a high strata in society – money. Now, I personally was a fan of Messi, and the team Barcelona, now, I just casually watch it once every couple of months for entertainment. If you go to my Facebook, and check my old profile pictures (if it still has that feature), Messi was there at least a couple of times, and so was the team’s logo. I felt the pain of their loss in the Champions League against Liverpool, it was devastating; but why?

I landed into the thought of asking myself on why do I care about what 11 people on the other side of world, in a kicking the ball battle, are winning or losing. Why does it matter to me? There has been research on what personality types support what kind of teams and athletes, but I’m not going to go into that. What is to be noted is the way this essential get-fit activity market has transformed itself into hundreds of different cults. People have died supporting their teams.

I remember during India-Pakistan matches, that how some people literally died of heart attack in a close match. The way the emotions of (let’s be honest here) religiosity affiliate themselves into teams of “talented” athletes and then the mind perceives of the loss or win in the same degree. I think the same feeling would be materialised if it was an actual war between India and Pakistan. But its marketed that way, isn’t it.

People follow sports personalities, that are generally anywhere from 10th pass to graduate, more than they care about academics and scientists. Now this correlates simply to the fact that the more you market people something the more they’ll care about it, even more than the laws that govern them. This reminds me of the Colosseum. Well UFC, WWE, are Colosseums of modern era.

One thing I hear a lot by sports enthusiasts is that sports unites people, and even as I’m writing this blog, I can’t contain my laughter. Yes, sports unites people, but here’s the catch; against another unity. Sports, to the degree we have invested in it, creates a group, a cult of people, a unity, who’s goal is to laugh at, ridicule, fight and win against another cult of people, a unity. To elaborate on it, the shallowness of such thinking is displayed bare naked during regional tournaments of sports. For example, during IPL, or ISL, a person will support his own state/region even though he knows that they are all of the same country, they’ll fight against each other literally while debating which team is the best. And I can guarantee, the more focused a tournament becomes, the more division it creates, people forget the absolute unity, no matter how much you reiterate. Even the “talent” people refer to, is worth pennies if the market doesn’t exist; imagine if cricket didn’t have in it as much money, would its personalities be as “respected”? We live where we are ruled by money, money dictates human value, talent, respect. A simple High Jumper is of no worth unless a market is built around it, people are made to invest, you see him/her on TV and that’s how its then called for respect and the so called talent is respected. It is the same for every single sport, just because you have billions in it, people watch and know name of the people in the industry, support or hate, that’s when the so called talent is “respected.” Talent is morphed into subjectivity, if we have a vaccine to make to get the world back to “normal” the “talent” is nowhere. There are certain universal talents across time; intellect, education, even soldiers sometimes, what that reflects is that certain attributes of humans which I’d now call talents are to be cared for more than others. A cricket talent wouldn’t be worth more than a beggar before British Colonies existed, but those universal talents would still matter, and there are obvious reasons for it. What talent is more appreciated is how the hierarchy of society will function.

Sports as we have now, apart form its physical benefits that it fundamentally provides is nothing more than a physical activity. And, the way the structure of our world is currently, the market of the sport industry thrives on division and the more hate you have for the other human unity the more passionate you’re called. Sport matters, it is made to matter more than the problems of the world that have existed for decades now, killings thousands every year, which I don’t think I need to mention. But that doesn’t take it away from the fact that it shouldn’t matter, at least nowhere near as much as it is now.

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