For Whom Do I Cheer?22 October, 2008
I know that this is a blog about atheism, politics, and my personal journey. However, I am also a sports fan. I can’t have bread (gluten intolerance), so I’ll enjoy the circus.
Fortunately, my Red Sox lost. Which means that I, as a masochistic fan, am satisfied. Last year, as they won the World Series, I had trouble sleeping at night. I lay awake, wondering just how the Red Sox would screw it up. So now, since they are out of the race (in a good seven game ALCS), I can both sleep easily and enjoy the World Series.
Problem, though. I’m not too wild about the Phillies (nothing personal, I just have a history of not cheering for Philadelphia teams). And the Tampa Bay Rays are cowards (well, their owner is a coward). So for whom do I cheer?
Do I go against years of parental programming and cheer for the Phillies? After all, Philadelphia is the home of the Broad Street Bullies, the good old Piladelphia Plyers (my (((Dad’s))) patented pronunciation), a team which brought goonery to new levels. It is also the home of the Eagles — a team which once played Buddy-Ball complete with a head coach who put out bounties on other team’s players. The 76ers? Who cares? The Phillies? I live in an area in which the dominant teams are the Yankees and the Phillies, so, while I don’t actively dislike them, I get tired of hearing about them.
Or do I swallow my pride and cheer for the team owned by an out and out coward? I call Stuart Sternberg a coward because he knuckled under to the most reactionary, anti-free-speech, and loathsome segment of the American right: the Christians.
Christians (and I speak of the right-wing evangelical and Catholic groups) are terrified of hell. They are terrified that, if they believe the wrong thing about the right thing, or even the right thing in the wrong way, they will end up in hell for an eternal punishment courtesy of their loving God. Learning new things opens them to the possibility of ‘wrong thinking.’ Even saying certain magic words (Satan, devil, Clinton, social justice) risks trading eternal salvation for eternal damnation.
At the inception of the Tampa Bay baseball team in 1998, the Christian groups of North Florida began a heated, and ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to make the name of the team anything but ‘Devil Rays.’ Under the new owner, though, he knuckled under. He changed the name, in early November, to just plain Rays. Coward.
So, do I break with tradition, cheer for a National League team (I will cheer for an NL team if they are playing the Yankees), and say, “Go Phillies?” Or do I cheer for the American League team, and cheer for the right wing Christianist enabler?
Or do I just have a scotch (Chivas Regal, tidy) and not cheer for either team, but still enjoy the game?
Screw it. Go Phillies!