Reading the internet message boards and such sites as ESPN.com, I am glad that we have our priorities in order. I am not being sarcastic here, but truly serious.
I have spent eight years trying to convince my wife that sports is one of the greatest unifying factors in the world, as well as one of the most divisive. Go to any stadium on game day and thousands of otherwise perfect strangers are united together in a common cause.
Thrown into this mix is that greatest of pastimes – arguing about sports. Yes, arguing about sports. Arguing, discussing, dissecting and generally giving one’s opinion about the important things in life – How will our offensive line do today? How will the secondary do? What the heck is that on your grill? Where did you get that cool radio that looks like a helmet? Being able to disagree with someone and not having the risk of being labeled “liberal”, “radical conservative”, “heathen” and such.
Arguing about sports is about the only area where people can feel safe and secure about expressing their opinion, and being completely able to express their opinion, without any fear of retaliation or hostility (unless, of course, you favor those colors of silver and black or that stupid helmet which looks like a donkey-but I digress).
Arguing about sports-statistics, performances, greatest players, etc.-is central to sports in general. How to liven up a dull party? Simple, tell someone that a back running for 150 yards isn’t nearly as impressive as someone throwing a no-hitter. Of course, simply crossing the different-sports line is reason enough to start an argument.
I bring up this issue because I would rather argue about the need for a defensive back instead of revenue sharing and all the rest of the utterly stupid and insanely complicated mess currently under discussion.
Arguing about sports has livened up many an hour of mine spent in that paragon of American culture – the pool hall. Just walking in and seeing a St. Louis Cardinal fan (yes, I support the Royals) or a guy wearing a Cowboys jacket was enough to start the fun. Being able to argue about sports, and arguing about only sports, is central to maintaining all that is right with the world. Argue, but never get personal or insulting. Argue about the sport, the performance, the team, the league and being able to keep personal attacks and such out of the way. Argue but always keep that element of fun and entertainment.
I will never forget the time that one of my college roommates, who was from Florida, got into a lively debate with a good friend of mine (staunch Arkansas Razorback) about the best football conference. Keep in mind this was over 25 years ago when The Hogs were still in the old Southwest Conference . They went at it for hours. A joy to behold, simply a joy to behold. And you know what? There was never a personal attack or insult. Just a lovely argument about sports.