What is it about sports that turns us into animals? Rather than entertainment and leisure, it turns into war with an us-versus-them mentality.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of competition.
I was an athlete for most of my life. I started at a young age, wide-eyed as I took my first steps to the batters box and stared down that ball on the tee.
The art of sport is beautiful.
I don’t use the word art by accident. My mother said it most eloquently when she said it’s a dance. She always knew a good athlete when she saw one by the way they moved. It was never about numbers to her. She told me to watch a shortstop. At the crack of a bat he begins his dance, feet shuffling and arms moving in rhythm. His eyes locked on that ball skipping toward him. And then the great leap as he lays himself out, parallel with the ground. His gaze never broken. His arm extending in a perfect line.
Time stands still as the climax of the dance builds.
At last there is contact. Ball in glove, he returns to the ground. In one fluid motion he finds his knees. Simultaneously locating the ball in his glove and cocking his arm back. His eyes have transitioned to first base. There is a slight moment of tension. As soon as he locks in on his target, the arm snaps forward, sending the ball on a new journey.
It’s beautiful. Flawless.
Yet, we so easily disregard that if he’s wearing the wrong colors. Those colors are meant to bring unity, not hate. I know what you’re thinking and I’m sure you already hear the hippie music and see the flower pedals falling from the sky, but hear me out.
Like I said, I’ve been around sport all of my life. I’ve lived it. I’ve watched it. I’ve studied it. And I’ve seen it bring out the worst in people. And after seeing this clip on Deadspin… I’m disgusted.
How dare this fan call out one of the players only to belittle him? There’s much to be said about how much Chris Perez makes and how little this man probably makes, or how this fan probably never got to play past tee ball, but I won’t go below the belt on this. I know exactly what this fan was thinking… “Hey, I’m invincible. The worst that can happen is that I get kicked out. But this guy can lose his contract, thus making my precious little A’s that much better.”
And for the most part he is right. The worst that can happen to him is being kicked out of the game.
But behaving like this is just embarrassing for everyone involved. You do nothing more than make yourself look juvenile. I’m reminded of a scene from Flight of the Conchords. Apparently Homer in the stands at the A’s game forgot that this “object” he is belittling on the field is a person. A person who has made it in life, nonetheless.
I’m also willing to be that this guy failed to realize that Chris Perez may get traded one day and may don the green and yellow of Oakland. At that point he’ll have to eat his words… And I will laugh. All. Season. Long.