Archive for the Sports & Society Category

Have You Ever Lost Your Grip Because of Sports?

Sports make people do weird things. Or maybe some people are already weird, and sports simply serve as the outlet for their weirdness.

Have you ever done something you regret or otherwise felt odd about because of your dedication as a fan?

During the 2003 ALCS, I took an old Oakland A’s Jason Giambi bobblehead doll and put a soiled (with No. 1) diaper over it in vain hope, as a Red Sox fan, of jinxing the Yankees—Giambi’s team at the time.

My first child had recently been born, so I didn’t have to venture far for the diaper.

Giambi wound up jacking two bombs in Game Seven, and the Yankees took the pennant.

After that loss, I embarked on a long walk and disemboweled the bobblehead.

I believe this type of event manifests itself in different ways depending on the individual but happens to every hardcore sports fan at some point.

For some people, it happens in public, like the Cubs fan who lost it and threw beer at Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino at Wrigley Field earlier this month. (Then again, maybe that guy was just hammered.)

Then there was the White Sox fan who came on the field in 2003 to attack the umpire in the new Comiskey. Do these things only happen in Chicago?

Or, maybe you’re forced to deal with the public when you thought it was going to be just you. And maybe it happens in Winona, Minnesota.

From the Winona Daily News:

A woman on her way to St. Paul really got the goat of auto repairman James Prusci. She went to Tires Plus in Winona Friday, wanting a belt replaced on her Chevy Malibu. While he was doing paperwork, she said she had a goat in her trunk. “A what?” he asked. She told him she planned to butcher it.

It was painted Minnesota Viking colors—purple and gold—with Brett Favre’s No. 4 shaved on its side.

Prusci called animal control, which took the goat to a local vet. He was renamed Brett and placed in foster care.

Wonder what happened to the woman? Was she a Packers fan? Or maybe she’s a Vikings fan and, in some sort of figurative cannibalistic act, was celebrating the arrival of the guy who can’t retire.

We’ll likely never know, but she can’t be well.

Has this ever been you?

Stadiums have holding pens to handle unruly (drunk) fans. Maybe they should have psychiatric experts on hand to deal with the purple goat people.

Listen on the radio Saturday and Sunday nights—tune into Patrick Mauro’s Sports Overnight America Weekend from 10:06 p.m. to 1 a.m. PDT.

You can call the show at (800) 878-PLAY (7529).

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Delving Inside the Minds of Irrational Fans (aka “IFs”)

Before I joined Bleacher Report about two months ago, my discussions about sports were pretty tame.

My friends and I pretty much take the same approach when it comes to sports. While we are fervent in our defense of our favorite teams and players (my friend Kyle and I have had some epic Montana vs. Marino debates), we also are able to discuss our favorite teams logically and rationally.

But in my time on this site, I have encountered a different kind of fanthe kind of fan who doesn’t respond to reason or logic.

These people are the irrational fans.

For the sake of this article, we’ll call them “IFs” (as in, “If JaMarcus Russell throws for 4,000 yards, the Raiders will go to the Super Bowl!”)

These IFs are not restricted by geography, team alliances, or leagues. They run the gamut.

Here is a sampling of some of the most ludicrous beliefs from the IFs I’ve encountered:

IFs from Oakland: The last six years have simply been a “rebuilding process” for the Raiders, and 80-year-old Al Davis is still sharp as a tack.

IFs from Minnesota: Brett Favre will be the second coming of Jesus Christ and will lead the Vikings to that elusive Super Bowl ring.

IFs from Los Angeles: Ron Artest is not crazy, Manny Ramirez made an honest mistake, and the NFL will come back one day. Also, Michael Jackson never molested any little boys.

IFs from San Francisco: Barry Bonds’ accomplishments are 100 percent legit.

IFs from Orlando: Vince Carter is not over the hill and will lead the Magic to an NBA Championship.

IFs from Gainesville: Tim Tebow will be the next coming of Steve Young, despite the fact that the University of Florida has never produced a quality NFL quarterback.

The thing that frustrates me about the IFs is that you can present hundreds of well-thought-out arguments that seemingly refute any nonsensical point they make, and they still keep coming with witty responses like: “You’re an idiot!”; “How would you know? You’re not even a fan of the team”; and (my personal favorite) “Do you wear that suit so you can spew (garbage) at people every day?”

It’s like talking to a brick wall, only that wall talks back and is far more annoying.

I guess that’s the beauty about sports, though. Fans can be optimists, pessimists, or something in between.

I’m beginning to wonder if these IFs have the right idea, though.

How much better would my life be if I convinced myself that the 49ers were going to win the Super Bowl? Or that my Padres will make the playoffs despite the fact that Jake Peavy will probably miss the rest of the season?

Sure, I’d be in for a rude awakening at the end of the year when my teams fell woefully short of my expectations.

But I’d still have the ultimate trump card in my back pocket, the credo of all IFs everywhere.

“Wait ’til next year.”

I guess ignorance really is bliss. If only I could stop using my brain.