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What is it about our sports teams that possesses us so?
Brazil’s soccer team loses in the World Cup, and a nation plunges into despair, mourning and an angry orgy of recrimination. A national tragedy, it seems.
LeBron James takes his talents home, and a city erupts in joy and thanks. The Second Coming, if you will.
We’ve all been to college football and basketball games and seen fans in a frenzy – either of uncontrolled ecstasy or of rage directed at the refs, the other team and sometimes their own team and coach.  You expect fists to fly and heads to explode.
We’ve seen the obsession with winning and losing games sully the reputation of a great University, cost it the leadership of an able Chancellor and force it to suffer through year after year of lurid news headlines and embarrassing, never-ending investigations.
A psychologist or sociologist probably could easily explain some primal, tribal need that these rituals satisfy: wearing the colors, joining in the chants and losing ourselves in the outcome of a contest between two groups of physically gifted but often emotionally or even mentally stunted young men. (And it is only for the teams composed of young men.)
Maybe we need to get a grip. It’s just a game.


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2 comments on “It’s All in the Game

  1. Anonymous says:

    So finally we agree. It’s just a game and as for me I would love to see colleges go back to, ” our students can beat your students “, not our future professionals can beat your future professionals. I think that may be as far as this love affair between a liberal and a conservative might go. I have a theory as to what happened to college athletics. When you mix college coaches with motive to win, and college presidents with motive to see to it that their college graduates black athletes you get a strange mix. Now the NCAA has said that they will waive the SAT and GPA as long as a certain percentage of athletes graduate, we are now on shakey ground. The coaches want to win. The college presidents want to graduate black athletes, somewhere in the middle we create an entire study program of courses that are intended to graduate an athlete who almost never attends class, and has a tudor write term papers. If we go back to the old days and only admit students who score 900 on SAT’s and had a GPA of 2.95, we eliminate many of the best athletes. Then to stir the pot even more we throw in the amount of money these gifted, but not too bright athletes bring to the colleges. It presents a real delimma that neither side is prepared to take on. I think colleges should put pressure on football and basketball to install minor league teams much like baseball has now. Not sure this would solve all the problems but it would give the great athlete who is clearly not a college student an option. Then NCSU could brag that their students had a better football team than the Duke students. Then all the athletes involved in college athletics could also get a real college education.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yeah…it really is all just a game. But, it’s important for we humans to pull for winners, to have something or some team to pull for…even to BE winners. It’s an excellent distraction from our very tough, mundane and/or miserable lives. I don’t know if you’re posting this here as an advocate of the radical/liberal “everyone should win” theory in sports so as not to hurt anyone’s ego or to avoid making people think they’re losers and horrible people because they’re not good in sports. That’s bunk to what….about 90% of the population in America?

    Truthfully? I wonder just exactly why you put this on a political blog site. What’s this got to do with ANYTHING political? I mean, you DO have half ownership in “Talking About POLITICS”, don’t ya?

    I know, I know…you NEVER answer back when people question you here on your front page (how convenient is THAT???)…but, I’m betting I’m not the only “Tapster” that wonders what this is all about, really.

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