Sunday, July 22, 2012

Football is Un-American

            The most overused term in any class pertaining to Colonial or early American art or history is “rugged individualism.” Rugged individualism is the several hundred year old equivalent of today’s chain status “Like this if you are a strong independent black woman who don’t need no man!” (Am I the only one who remembers that?) meaning that it is the idea of not being told what to do, not needing to depend on other people for survival, and not judging or being judged. So how is it that the modern American pastime of competitive sports requires breaking every one of those classic ideals for the sake of entertainment? I highly doubt this post will change anyone’s opinions about the world of competitive sports, but I hope it will open the eyes of the reader to the other views that exist in the world.
            I love the Super Bowl because I only watch it for the commercials like most human beings. I couldn’t care less about who actually played in the Super Bowl, and I couldn’t care (even) less about who won! In fact, I don’t even know the names of the teams last year even though I was watching at friend’s house for hours. I just find it ridiculous that we as a people have decided to judge the worth of a person, of a team, of a program, or of the city that program is located in by how it matches up during one game against another program.
            What does it mean to be better than someone else? It means squat. As I said in Miley Cyrus, Life Coach, I believe that only progress matters. You being better than me, The Steelers being better than The Astros (Does that comparison hurt, sports buffs?), or Queen being better than Justin Bieber (Have you heard his new video? It sucks.) doesn’t tell you how good either individual or group is. If the comparison became something along the lines of, “I can do the splits, but you cannot,” needing the other person for comparison is moot. It would be just as easy for me to say, “I can’t do the splits, and I don’t want to. I prefer keeping my legs together and my groin off the floor, thank-you very much.” There is no need for competition or comparison for individuals or parties to reach their full potential unless the competition is against one’s self.
            A feature in a driving game I played as a kid was that I could race against my shadow, the image of my last lap's performance superimposed on top of the one I was currently doing. The only worth I have ever found was in being better than I was a millisecond ago. For instance, I know “millisecond” is spelled with two L’s because Word just autocorrected me, and I have become a better writer and speller because of it. Of course there are people who already knew how to spell it, but how do they better me for knowing it? They don’t. One’s own progress is the only logical means to determine worth or improvement. And yes, spelling can be a competitive sport, so that was relevant.
            Don’t get me wrong; sports are a valuable means of creating brotherhood and friendship and cultural bonds. If it wasn’t for competitive spirit, I would never have the opportunity to participate in TCGC Winter Drumline which I did just for the love of the music. Go ahead and play your games, but ponder if there are such things as winners and losers if everyone gave all they had and a myriad of factors infinitesimally – another word I just learned how to spell thanks to Word – small may have changed the outcome to favor one team over the other.

-Jason Rossiter

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