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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  May 5, 2019

Sports Fans as Activists

The San Diego Chargers are the greatest team ever and no team could possibly be better. This was my vision statement and my cause for activism.

I've lived the truism. I had all of the team gear and it was my preferred public garb. Every Sunday my day was based around the game. During the week I studied the details of the men and learned their statistics. I sought out their character attributes, though few they were, so I could know them as individuals with personality.

I'd run into other true believers at the grocery store or while doing other shopping. "Chargers!" we would yell to show our loyalty and primary interest. We understood one another and the sacrifices we made for our team.

I spoke with the guys at the water cooler about how well my team ran with the ball or threw the ball or caught the ball. It was spectacular. We had a lot in common and they understood my interests. We knew how good cheering for our team made us feel. It made us strong and able when we triumphed, no longer flaccid useless losers who attempted nothing.

The off season was tough. Sports talk shows didn't have enough compelling material to fill the entire day without many games to survey and gossip about possibilities for the coming weeks. How much time can you fill talking about men theoretically running around scoring points unless you have a lot of jokes and clever banter about nothing? It has to be real and concrete about fact-based scores and insightful ball strategy or else it's just a bunch of dopes talking about nonsense that doesn't matter much.

This was my social and political activism. Others spent their time and energy trying to have more abortion or less abortion, or getting more or fewer third-world illiterates to the voting booth, not so much to bring about change but so they had something to do and felt they were important.

After a few decades of cheering for the Chargers I began to reflect on it all. No, I would not renounce the Chargers, and certainly not pick another team, but I began to consider everything this following had cost me in all those long Sundays and hours tracking scores and players that passed quickly into irrelevance.

Others did without the Chargers, spending their time watching thrilling movies about comic book characters or dramas about people in workplaces being very effective in labor. To each his own! The Chargers showed how conflict takes preparation and guts so that all fans can win together.

It's hard to take a stand. I could have been one of those people who didn't follow the Chargers, or only did so passively as just a pedestrian dabbler, but I stayed true to my beliefs and earned all the rewarding benefits loyal spectatorship offered to the brave.


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