Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Point

(Feel free to play the video while you read this. And fire up.)

Something I used to do a lot on this here blog (you can, as Yogi says, look it up) is go off on esoteric rants inspired by things that no self-respecting sports fan would read, or at least admit to.

Eventually, I'll tie it all back to sports in some faltering way that would make a pot-smoking undergrad wince, and causes my religious friends to chuckle sadly in the knowledge that they won't have to put up with me in the better next place.

And now that 90% of you have had your eyes glaze over and look for the scroll bar, let's get into it, shall we?

In a recent piece in the London Review of Books, a writer worked over some philosophical constructs in an effort to explain something small and inconsequential; ergo, why the world exists. (He eventually came to the same conclusion that I do in this post, but since you don't read the London Review of Books, you'll just have to suffer with my mangling of it. Ha ha!)

Accepting the belief in a higher power, and hence, the disqualification of the emotionally unsatisfying Random Chance Accident, you get two motivations.

1) Because it had to (determinism, fate, destiny), and

2) Because someone wanted it (free will)

Now, determinism is a relatively simple argument to make, or at least it was when I took intro philosophy in college some 20 (aii!) years ago.

Ergo, that if you simply know enough about the creator and its thought processes, you can predict everything said creator will do.

Let's reduce this from The World and Its Creator to This Blog and Little Ol' Me for a moment, to make things easier to understand. Now, if you punch in all of my vitals into a computer, you would get that I read learned nonsense, run out of things to say about the NFL on Tuesday morning, feel compelled to fill the bloghole, am too far away from the start of the NBA season to go there, and am waiting for the White Sox and Twins to work out the last playoff spot before writing up MLB playoff picks.

You could predict (did?) that I'd write something like this today, and if you knew my reading materials yesterday, might even have guessed the subject matter. I'm a fairly simple piece of meat, and predicting my performance shouldn't be too difficult, provided, of course, that I don't get wind of what you are doing. That would give me the heebie-jeebies, and I'd probably react with a tangent that made no sense to throw the prediction off the path.

Tony Kornheiser eats puppies.

Which, of course, you could also predict, in that Tony Kornheiser really does eat puppies.

But let's escape that rabbit hole of Pot Logic for now, and put determinism on the back burner as, once again, Emotionally Unsatisfying.

Back to option 2, free will. The preferred option for all of us, really, in that it makes us all much more interesting pieces of meat, and for deities alike, since a determinist Creator doesn't seem like any kind of fun at parties. (There are, of course, philosophical arguments against the existence of free will, but they are made by people with scraggly beards who make no money and are no fun in the sack, especially the women. So we're sticking with Free Will.)

So the world -- and this blog, and the eventual crux of this post, which is Your Team Fandom -- exists not from something pre-ordained, or even the long-ago child abuse of a parent who indoctrinated you in the ways of That Laundry.

It exists because you chose it, and continue to choose it, even if you are not aware of the choice. (Just *try* to Geddy Lee out of your head now. I dare you.)

And now, to the thrilling climax... why choose, of all things, to make a world, or root for That Laundry?

It's a mess, complicated, never seems like it will pay off with the goods. Even when it does seem to work out, you know it's just going to break your heart later. The fear of losing is much greater than the joy of winning, after all. And the nonstop praying! It's enough to make you stop watching and go read a philosophy book instead. (OK, maybe not.)

And well, that's it. It's art.

Art is something that lives for its own sake, maddening or not. It can't be explained fully, or even usually very well, but simply experienced. Its motivations are inherently private, and yet shared across consciousness, in a way that makes us all a little more aware that We Are Not Alone. Do it long enough, and it becomes a vice, in that it's mostly a diversion in a life filled with things to divert you.

So, final question time... if sports fandom is, just like life, an art... are you taking joy in your creation? Or are you torturing yourself and others with it?

If the answer is yes, signify your joy or misery by making no sign or comment.


Thy will be done.

1 comment:

Tracer Bullet said...

This could have been written by a Lions fan or a Bills fan or anyone living in Cleveland, but Shooter is writing this now because he's still trying to process that loss to the goddamn Bears. Using that game as evidence, I'd say that we're being punished at the whim of a sightless idiot-god who enjoys nothing so much as torturing men for its twisted amusement.

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