Originally Posted by AemJeff
Pro-sports is the epitome of genericization (neologism alert!) of human experience. Why should someone from Orlando have any more reason to feel something about Howard's skills than someone in Atlanta? On what basis is that regional pride formed? [...] I have a problem with the underlying cynicism. And what is more cynical, and pervasively present than the pro-sports enterprise?
I used to live and die with my teams, way back when. I found that went away, due to the emergence of wholesale free-agency, graduating from high school (which meant an end to my chance to compete except in pick-up games), moving to different cities, having significant others who did not care for sports (or guys who watched sports), and the dawning realization that there was something faintly ridiculous about getting emotionally involved in the success (or lack thereof) of a bunch of people younger than you playing a kids' game.
That said, I still do love to watch the performance. Highly skilled athletes, particularly basketball and football players, are as beautiful to see as the finest dancers, and I still find huge drama in pressure situations, especially in baseball. After having given up watching pro sports almost entirely, I have found myself drawn back over the past few years. I guess I now think of, say, all of the NBA or all of MLB as analogous to one giant theatrical company that has groups performing in different cities. I like the end product, in any case.
I do share what you said elsewhere about the shenanigans involved in getting sports arenas built and other ways in which team owners and politicians cooperate in compelling the public to pay for something that ought to pay its own way. I also think it's sad that there are enough people willing to pay as much as they do that going to the ballpark no longer represents the cheap night out or family Saturday activity that it used to (although if one is fortunate enough to live near a minor league ballpark, this is still available). But, in the end, I just see it as another part of the entertainment business, and as with movies or music, for all its warts, it retains a lot that I value.
I think it was the great baseball writer Roger Angell
who said that the perfect balance to achieve as a fan is to care passionately while the game is going on, and forget about it twenty minutes after it's over. That seems about right to me.