Sport so frequently disappoints.
It's a distraction for the leisured masses, it's a good way to stay in shape, it's a way to break the cycle of poverty, it's way back to poverty, it's a way to encourage depravity and a way to encourage hope and dreams and charity and community, and we can't get enough.
It seem silly to form an emotional attachment. We're told not to take the losses too hard. We try not to let the disappointment characterize when it says something negative, but we also wrap the successes around our shoulders. No one wants to be a loser, but we all want to be connected to success.
And perhaps the only way to truly enjoy sporting events is to revel in the high and lows. A book with an antihero enchants and challenges if written well. Art frequently subverts our expectations, and often is better for it. A piece of music touches the soul even if it doesn't change through the decades. We know how Janacek's Sinfonietta goes, every twist and turn until its conclusion. It doesn't lose any less validity, and the art becomes an old friend, well worn and known.
Yet with sports we internalize the narratives. Some studies have shown fans to think less of themselves after their team loses, and the opposite after wins. Am I loser because my team lost? Am I loser if my team always loses? Or am I person with his own agency?
That sounds all well and good, but we can't escape our communities without fully disengaging. I may not make the laws of the state or the country, but it reflects on me because I am of it. I may not have had any hand in turning Scottsdale in to the Wine and Cheese club that easily derided, but I am of it. These larger systems are part of me, whether I like it or not.
Sometimes I think it would be easier not to follow sports. What joy has it brought me? How many times have I seen the Buffalo Bills balls it up at the end of a game, or ASU do stupid things, or the Sabres and Coyotes be, well, the Sabres and Coyotes? There have been times of a genuine happiness, but the balance is decidedly in the negative.
But sports has also brought daily, mundane joy. It's the joy of a hit and run or double play, the joy of watching the catcher go through the signs and set up, the joy of the hum in a stadium, thousands of strangers engaging in community. Maybe it's not Jefferson democracy, but for 3 hours it's close.
It's not the sports that makes me love sports. It's the people. Not the players, who are generally interchangeable and fleeting, but the people you meet, the ones who stay with you. It's that summer family.
Now we're in the winding down. The games will end, we'll wait for spring, and then it will come filled to the brim with promises. The season will unfold much the same as it does every year. The players will change, the winners might be different, but we'll remain, interconnected.