Bill Simmons has an interesting column up today which contains letters from a bunch of bitter, betrayed Seattle SuperSonics fans angry about the way in which their franchise has been bought and hijacked, in predictable fashion, by a bunch of Oklahoma businessmen that assured the city they would stay there when they bought the team and almost immediately made plans to move the franchise to Oklahoma City once the sale was finalized. Terrible. Anyway, here is the article, which is worth reading if you want a snapshot of the sort of loving, occasionally over-the-top fandom that I and so many others suffer from.
Also, at the beginning of the article, Simmons quotes from a piece by the wonderful New Yorker writer Roger Angell which I'd never seen before and really does seem to encapsulate the awkward position so many adult-age sports fans find themselves in, and why they still can't give it up:
Nobody has ever summed up being a sports fan better than the New Yorker's Roger Angell in his piece "Agincourt and After," in this passage about Carlton Fisk's famous home run in the 1975 World Series:
- It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look -- I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring -- caring deeply and passionately, really caring -- which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete -- the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball -- seems a small price to pay for such a gift.