Friday, September 9, 2011


"How did the Sox do this weekend?"

"Well, we really sucked. We got the crap beat out of us. When the Yanks come into town this week, we better find our sticks or I will go crazy."

I have known plenty of folks over the years who closely follow one sports team or another with obvious passion. They know the player's names and stats, and they advertise their loyalties with t-shirts or caps emblazoned with their team's colors and logos. Most often they also tend to use the word "we" when speaking of the team and their performance. Somewhere along the way "them" became "we". A recreational activity, a light diversion, somehow became internalized and personalized. These fans watch and follow with such fervor and intensity that they feel they are somehow a vested part of the team, that their screaming and their antics somehow are an essential aspect of the team's success.

However, there is a thin line that can be crossed between an enjoyable hobby or pasttime, and over-the-top, fanatic, or rabid conduct. Just in the last year there have been several stomach-turning stories that have spilled across national headlines of people being beaten to within an inch of their lives or gunned down with murderous intent just because they wore the "wrong" jersey or cheered too loudly for "their" team. There is also far too thin a boundary between acceptable and healthy passions, and aggressive, animalistic, and criminal behavior.