Sport fans often act like a secular religious group. To me, fervent sport fans seem to share some of the blinders as religious fundamentalists. But I have disliked sports since very young — it is just not part of my temperament. And I realize now that *I* am the weird one, not everyone else. For the vast majority of humanity is religious about sports.
In the USA, which worships Football and Hockey (with a few Baseball fans lingering), I have been mocked and treated like an apostate for not know team names, sport rules and what season we are in. In Pakistan I was considered weird for not liking cricket, in Japan I was odd for not following Sumo. Sports-ianty is everywhere.
So over the years I have come to realize that Sport Fans aren’t odd. Instead, I have come to the humble realization that I am a the freak. The vast majority of men I know (and many women) love watching and cheering for their sport teams. I use to think they were weird but now I have come to suspect that I am the strange one. After all, I am the minority.
I have often wondered, “Why don’t I like sports”. As a kid I actually tried to like sports so I could talk with all the other guys. I figured I could grow to like sports if I made the game more rich by memorizing the teams and players’ statistics but this did not help — I still hated watching and talking about sports. I have never succeeded in even slightly in enjoying spectator sports. But then I have never succeed in similar ventures with Opera, Ballet, Fishing, Golf or Bowling. It seems to be a matter of temperament.
Sports certainly offer their fans a huge feeling of belonging — a tribal security. I have lots of friends and I love to bond just as much as the next guy — I just don’t like to do it by watching and talking about sports. I don’t have a need for imaginary bonds. Mind you, I do enjoy participating in several sports, but they all happen to be individual sports: kayaking, swimming, martial arts, tennis ….
So I recently had an epiphany: I have a disease. I have a sports allergy. So using the syndrome approach used to describe very hard to understand conditions, I have created these criterion to help you see if you share my disease. Please tell us in the comments below:
Sport Allergies Syndrome (S.A.S.)
Someone suffers from S.A.S if they fulfill at least 4 of the following 6 criteria:
- Have a negative attitude toward Sports
- Either you are actually critical of the game, or mildly dislike it or just plain apathetic.
- Negative potential: Quick to be critical
- Has competing hobbies: Has significantly enticing hobbies that they’d rather do that sit around for hours watching Sports on TV each week.
- Lacks fear of Sports ridicule: Don’t need approval of others and ridicule rolls right off you.
- Negative potential: May be a bit careless with the feeling of others.
- Are Self-Content: Does not feel a satisfying bonding by just imagining belong to a group of cheering fans. You don’t mind playing alone.
- Negative potential: Slow to bond with big groups.
- Are a Natural Rebel: If told what they should do, they think of ways to avoid it.
- These are the rebel types — they probably shrug off a lot more that society tells them is normal.
- Negative potential: Can be a “poor team player”.
- Are Crowd Averse: or hates the crowd mentality
So, do the criteria work? Did they capture you other Sports Allergists? Can you think of other criteria? Help me tighten up the definition !
I like thinking of fuzzy things like this in a syndrome sort of way. I analyze religion in a similar sort of way in this post. I have actually suspected that some of these criteria are shared by Atheists and thus suspected that a disproportionate number of Atheists also suffer from Sport Allergies. But alas, many Atheists continue supporting this nasty form of mercenary tribalism even after they have shed the chains of other forms of superstitious thinking ! 🙂