Football fans are in a tizzy over a last night’s Packers-Seahawks game. The scuttlebutt is that the Packers lost because those darn replacement refs blew the call for a game-deciding point. Normally I wouldn’t blog about sports — and especially not football. The Packers generally fall under the heading of “if you can’t say something nice…” so I don’t blog about them, because my contempt for pro football means I have little to say that’s at all constructive. That said, take a look at the tweets reported by this article. A highlight:
“Disgusting. Can’t wish you a good night because that’s not possible. Shame. Shame. Shame. Just disgusting” — NFL agent David Canter.
“Disgusting,” eh? With all the awful stuff going on in the world, a bad call in a ball game is enough that some jackass can’t wish everyone a good night? Cripes. Get some perspective, people. To me, this whole “controversy” is illustrative of why I started hating football — and the Packers — in the first place. It’s just a game. Yes, it’s a zillion-dollar game. Yes, the athletes are really good at what they do. Yes, there’s a lot of action and strategy involved in each play. Yes, sports have the capacity to bring people of diverse — and even opposed — backgrounds together in a common love of the game. And I know that most of those players are decent folks who do a lot of good in their communities. None of that really negates the fact that it’s a glorified game of catch, and that people take it way too freaking seriously.
I think it’s hilarious that Monday night was “ruined” for people on account of a couple amateur refs. I’m especially gratified that the Packers’ precious win-loss record is now irrevocably skewed for the season. Sure, I’m being petty and childish. Compared to the unbridled vitriol vented at the NFL and those poor referees, though, I’m serving milk and cookies. Leaving aside my ornery animus against the Pack, just consider for a moment, if you are a football fan, how angry you are right now. If you’re not angry at all, good for you. You’re a rational adult, and I applaud you. If you’re miffed, that’s fair. Chalk it up to an unpleasant aesthetic experience. If you’re blazing with wrath, you have a problem. That problem is the unbelievable amount of emotional capital that you — along with so many of your countrymen — have invested in this sport. You want to talk about disgusting? That level of rage is disgusting. It’s a sport. By definition, a “pleasant diversion.” If your “pleasant diversion” is filling you with anger and hatred, it’s not a sport anymore. It’s a psychosis. Get some help.
I know that a lot of people in my home state are really angry right now. They’re sitting in their cars, listening to the morning sports anchors wax indignant about the referee lockout, the idiocy of last night’s call, the fate of the Packers’ Super Bowl hopes, etc. They’re fuming. They’ll bitch endlessly all through lunch with their friends and coworkers about how terrible that was and how deeply upset they are right now. They’ll never stop to notice how brightly the sun is shining, how crisp and fresh the air is, how full of possibility the morning. It is a beautiful morning (at least in my corner of America’s Dairyland), but there are so many fools still trapped in a single moment of last night, reliving an unfortunate incident from a gladiatorial pissing match and allowing it to darken the promise of a new dawn. Relax, people. Take a deep breath and have a cup of coffee. Wake up.☕