Yesterday morning I was listening to ESPN radio’s Mike&Mike when the guest host made the claim that sports brought people together like nothing else can. That it created a sense of unity among people of all backgrounds and ages and etc. He was referencing the dramatic and historic victory of the Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series the other night.
My knee jerk reaction was that his statement was a load of BS. It may have done that for some folks, but to speak in such absolutes was absurd. Sports isn’t the only thing that can have that sort of impact on people. There have been countless concerts that I’ve attended that have been euphoric experiences that transformed a mob of strangers into a community , even if it was only for a few hours. It can leave behind a sensation of bliss and peace that goes with you into the world outside the concert hall.
I have numerous conversations and made friends through a shared experience of reading the writings of HP Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, and others. A great novel can bring people together in a way that very few things can do so. I have even reconnected with an old high school friend through our common interest in novels and music.
I get it that the host of the radio show was appealing to an audience of hardcore sports fans, but honestly his statement was like a slap in the face. I agree that sports can unite a certain group of people/fans but the hyperbole of his statement was enough to make me change the station.
Perhaps that means I’m a little thin skinned, but I find it annoying that American pop culture elevates the modern athlete to demi-god status while at the same time turning a blind eye to the Arts. It seems the only time pop culture does reference the Arts is when it takes a cheap shot at some abstract expressionism or the auction price of a van Gogh painting. Or some book becomes a blockbuster movie.