Friday, July 09, 2010

Fans and Emotions

Since everyone has already has already echoed some of my thoughts I wanted to touch on the reaction. Fortunately or unfortunately Henry Abbot has helped crystallize some of that with a fairly idiotic piece up on ESPN (you can search for the Name the crimes of Lebron piece if you wish I have a pet peeve about linking to stupid stuff). There's lots of stuff I could pick apart but the easiest and I suppose the most emblematic was
But realize, if you're bitter, you're bitter about the format of his expression. Not the contents of his soul. And without clearing the bar in that last sentence, it's a little extreme to call him nasty names on the internet, isn't it?

In this world of ours, you will find some truly terrible people. There are murderers. There are rapists. There are abusers, bullies, polluters, dictators and everything else.

And this is the guy you need to single out? ...

First off all anyone that uses the "yeah but somebody else is worse" is ultimately relying on a weak argumentative crutch. Lebron hasn't committed genocide therefore he doesn't deserve your venom? People's actions stand on their own merit and utilizing "well somebody is worse"argument is weak precisely because no matter what others do, it doesn't change the merits or lack thereof of someone's action. If Abbot wants to argue that it shouldn't get the attention it is fine....but its this attention is what pays his salary.

I don't know whats in the contents of Lebron's soul. I don't know if Lebron knows whats in the contents of his soul. I don't care. It doesn't matter. The only thing that matters were, are, and will be his actions. Its the only window we have as I, Abbott, and most of us lack soul reading abilities.

Fans believe that they share a connection to their teams and to the players on their teams. They imagine a shared identity. That the team's wins are their wins. That the team's losses are their losses. That's what having a team is all about. The logic or appropriateness of that belief is immaterial. It's a fundamental part of being human or at the very least being a fan. So we want to believe that this connection flows both ways, that the passion and interest that allows athletes to live their lavish lifestyles is acknowledged and respected. Lebron's format of expression shows that it's not. He's not the down-to -earth guy loyal guy that we thought he was. His actions were one of self-indulgence and crass indifference to those that had trusted him, to those that had somehow deluded themselves into thinking the cynics weren't right. To dismiss how he handled things and focus on other things is to ultimately fail to understand what being a fan is about. At least for me. Cheering madly for grown men who can put oversized balls into a metal hoops isn't something I can get excited about or single out as worthy of attention. It's not something that has societal benefit like a teacher for a student or a doctor helping fight cancer. Cheering madly for someone who I identify with? Cheering madly for someone that allows us to project our expectations and hopes? Of course. Liking someone whose actions demonstrated at best an non-nonchalance to those that fueled his fame and wealth? Why would I? What's in his soul doesn't matter. As MJ aptly put it "Lebron was never different or special" because his actions demonstrated it. His expression of decision demonstrated. And that's more than enough reason to raise the ire of fans because it goes to the heart of what being a fan is about.

1 comment:

Gutsy Goldberg said...

Yeah, LeBron really messed everything up. Clearly, he is clueless and has no idea what he just did. I'm sure he will lie to himself and just say, "this proves we are not real fans." In the end, it only proves he's not the real superstar we thought he was.