For a very slow, white, badly asthmatic guy, I’m a pretty good basketball player. The only activity that I’ve participated in that was truly integrated along racial lines was pick-up basketball in Oakland. People who love basketball like the idea of it being a sport anyone can play, no matter their skin color or where they’re from. And that — along with the whole undrafted underdog angle and the fact that New York is such a big market — is why basketball fans are so excited about Jeremy Lin.
It’s just not that complicated. It pisses me off that conservative assholes have to take a nice story that brings people together and use it as pretext to spout their usual moralizing people-don’t-love-Jeebus-enough bullshit. The article John linked was a good solid take-down, but what I find most baffling is that Bobo believes that sports is about being awesome and dominating, when everyone who’s played any sport competitively knows that for most people sports is about coping with failure. Losing hurts more than winning feels good in all arenas of life and in sports, your season almost always ends in a loss. In almost all cases, either you don’t make the play-offs or you lose in the play-offs.
(A friend of mine who plays a lot of baseball thinks that this creates a need among athletes to credit a higher power for failure and success — it’s easier to deal with losing if you think it’s beyond your control. Superstitious rituals, thanking God when you do actually succeed, and so on are all manifestations of this in his opinion.)
I guess if you never played or watched sports at all, you might not know how much losing sucks, but I can’t help but chalk Bobo’s attitude up as yet another example of elite pundits’ complete lack of empathy for anyone at all different from themselves. They see the vast majority of humans as children who need to be told to sacrifice, zealots who need to be told suck on this, egotists who need to be taught that they can’t win every time. It’s incredibly strange to me that there’s an actual market for this.