Do we over-praise sports championships?

Blackhawks Celebration Parade 2013

Photo courtesy theatregirl25 via flickr

Sports celebrations are fun. I love a good celebration and gathering of people. But when protestors gather, why do we see them in a different light? Monica Reid of Chicago’s Gapers Block wrote an excellent article, “The Problem With How We View Sports ‘Celebrations’

She compares our perceptions of the NATO protestors with the Blackhawk fans on the north side of Chicago. Where the NATO protestors are seen as embarrassment to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whereas the Blackhawks celebration helps Rahm’s glory.

It’s rather odd how bad behavior by sports fans is seen as ok when a team wins, but political protests are seen as bad. Monica explains that our society sees protestors as bad because it gives the perception that our government doesn’t have control over them.

If anything we should be celebrating that people have the freedom of speech and that our government doesn’t have complete control over what we say.

More people went to the Blackhawks parade than the end of World War II, notes St. Xavier University’s Editor in Chief of The Xavierite, Tony Bara. In his article “Misplaced Priorities” he explains how Brazil can teach us a lesson about putting sports celebrations in perspective. Protestors from the soccer-fanatic country of Brazil “are decrying the amount of money their government is willing to spend on soccer stadiums, while millions live in neglected shanty towns, called favelas, located on the outskirts of major cities.”

Tony explains:

There is a lesson to be learned from the events in Brazil. Traditionally a soccer-obsessed nation, the Brazilians, like the Americans, often placed sports on the highest pedestal. But now, as they realize just how much the World Cup will cost to run and how lacking their country is in the areas of healthcare and education, the people have chosen to rise up and address the issues that actually impact their lives.

Back in the states, we still have not woken up. To be sure, all those millions who attended the Blackhawks rally had a great time, and no one should begrudge them. After all, it was a nice, relaxing way to end the week. But at the end of the day, most of those people have to go back to reality and face the high gas prices, the high healthcare costs, etc. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks players and owners, enriched at the fans’ expense, have no such worries because we have essentially made them demigods.

The rest of his article is also definitely worth a consideration and read.

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unlikelymoose
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Such highly-attended events are a direct reflection of the values of our culture. It’s the pursuit of happiness. It’s bedrock for our country. We embrace this self-centered Age of Enlightenment philosophy full blast (at the cost of our theology) resulting in the want for self-satisfaction through the means of entertainment. It’s a common thread. It’s not to say that every individual in attendance places this value as a priority. Many people know to keep these experiences in check with other properly placed priorities, most notably theology. But the sheer volume demonstrates the magnitude of this value’s presence.

It’s interesting to think about what motivated people to attend this celebration. How many of these people are rapid hockey fans? How many got swept up in the pageantry of the playoffs? How many decided to attend in the spirit of being part of a collective experience? How many were there just to get out of the office for an hour?

unlikelymoose
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The answer to the subject line of this post is clearly, “yes”. We do over-praise sports championships. In my previous comment I offered reasons why people attend and people have different reasons for going to this event even though there’s a lumingly large reason why this event has the magnitude that it does. A lot of people aren’t there with the intent to praise sports championships. They are just there in pursuit of entertaining themselves. Some people want to be part of a party. They could care less about the worshiping sports angle.

However, does one’s mere presence at such an event send a larger message from the collective whole whether intended by the individual or not? Yes, it sure does.