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What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Are Sports Fans Really Fans Anymore?

In yesterdays Blog I mused about the Standing Room Only sections of football stadiums and baseball parks. I referred to these areas as social gatherings, which begged the question are the people inhabiting these zones there to watch the sport? I'm not sure I was emphatic enough with my answer. Today I will be. The answer is No. Part of the social media generation, the people in the Standin Room Only sections are there primarily to socialize; they are not there to watch the sport.

Musing, further, on this new phenomena, I found myself thinking how many people in all the other sections of the stadiums, ballparks, and arenas are there actually watching the game? I mean seriously watching the action? Ask yourself, how many times during a game (any of the Big Three sports) are you able to sit uninterrupted in your seat without someone excusing him or herself over you or in front of you or just behind you to go the the concession stands? Or wherever? Never, would be my guess. Throughout the game there are always people leaving or returning. It's my experience that this behavior has increased over the years.

In addition, have you noticed how many people in their seats while the games are going on (not during timeouts) are concentrating on their electronic devices? I bet that after a game has ended, few fans today could provide a clear quarter by quarter, inning by inning account of the event they just saw. Why? Because they really didn't see it; they were buying beer, shmoozing in the lounge, or responding to their Twitter or Facebook.

So, I ask you, can you call today's fans really fans? As you sit in your seat at your next game, look around you and ask yourself that question. I'd be interested to know your answer.

It's the dead of summer and the heart of fishing season. I remember in grad school in Iowa City, oh so many years ago, heading to the ponds in the morning, fishing for small mouth bass and picking Morrell mushrooms. Later frying the bass and sauteing the mushrooms in butter and garlic. All of us, young and sassy, washing the meal down with cheap wine.

The Pike   by Theodore Roethke

The river turns,
Leaving a place for the eye to rest,
A furred, a rocky pool,
A bottom of water.

The crabs tilt and eat, leisurely,
And the small fish lie, without shadow, motionless,
Or drift lazily in and out of the weeds.
The bottom-stones shimmer back their irregular striations,
And the half-sunk branch bends away from the gazer's eye.

A scene for the self to abjure! -
And I lean, almost into the water,
My eye always beyond the surface reflection;
I lean, and love these manifold shapes,
Until, out from a dark cove,
From beyond the end of a mossy log,
With one sinuous ripple, then a rush,
A thrashing-up of the whole pool,
The pike strikes.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems you are mulling over the idea of what you consider to be the definition of the word fan? A person who is fanatical about something, in this case a sport or a particular team. Have sporting venues changed over the years? I tried to imagine the Romans, watching their Gladiator games, was it any different then? Sure they didn't have cell phones or electronic devices but they still had beer and it was still a social gathering. I think it's helpful to look at the other end of the spectrum as it is in most cases. Is the guy who sits at home on his couch and can give you a play by play recount of the game more of a fan than the guy who spent hundreds of dollars at the stadium supporting his team in person? What is a fan? Someone who can feel the agony of defeat when his team looses or gets frustrated and wants to throw his remote at the TV when the Ref makes a bad call? Someone who can scream out in joy and hug his comrades and high five all around when his team comes up on a big play? Its hard enough to sit in those uncomfortable chairs for the duration of the some of these games, sometimes you have to use the restroom! How do you know when they are looking at their electronic devices they are not looking up the batters batting percentage or the number of rebounds the player had last year? Maybe they are searching google for "Who Is Tom Meschery" to get deeper than they ever could before about the sport that brings them so much joy and pain.

-Anonymous Bay Area Sports Lover