Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Human, All Too Human

That is the title of a book by Friedrich Nietzsche which oddly describes what the Bears were proved to be last Sunday.

They are only men, faced with a daunting task that they were not prepared to face. Grossman, badgered by the press and woefully patchy, fell (literally, a few times). Cedric Benson, one of the central prongs in our offensive attack was injured early. Our defense, bedraggled by punishingly long drives by the Colts were ragged and tired by the end of the game, not able to force the Colts into mistake.

We were just not up to the challenge. Indianapolis brough their "A" game; we brought cocksurety based on what turned out to be a rather rickety foundation.

As for me, I guess it was all for the best. A World Series Championship for my favorite baseball team followed not even two years later by a Super Bowl for my favorite football team might have upset an understanding that I have with my "sports fan" persona.

For, you see, I have been a Chicago sports fan (excluding the Cubs) for my entire life. I grew up in Chicagoland, worked and went to school in the city and am really tied to the place emotionally in a sense of rootedness, so that for me, Chicago is a "place" and not just a "space."

I learned a lot about life from Chicago sports. I learned that, most of the time, despite your good feelings and devotion, the world will break your heart. I also learned that disappointment is an emotion that can lead, with time, into a certain cavalier, devil-may-care attitude. Hey, I figure, we will probably lose it all, but let's have fun doing it. I am also acutely aware of how no amount of pleading to the god of your choice can change the outcome of such contests; they are measures of skill faced with luck, nothing more.

Yet, I and I suspect many, react emotionally to these matricies of skill and luck, performed by others for the enjoyment and entertainment of all. Why is this? I suspect that it comes from the need to believe in something, to have simple, blind faith in a proposition or a cause. We live in a time and place that suffers from a certain world-weariness, a lack of fascination with the world in general. Most people are interested in escaping the world than encountering it.

Sports give us a reason, well, not to be like this for a while. It allows us to put our faith in the skill and the Fates and let the conflict play out, trying to be amused and gain pleasure in the meantime. For that, I am eternally greatful to sports and to teams that win only occasionally.

I would hate to suffer the hubris of fans of more sucessful (historically, anyway) sporting endeavors. They take pleasure and satisfaction as a given; I, however, take it as something to reach for and sometimes get but mostly not.

To close, am I glad about what happened last Sunday? Of course not.

Would I take back my support if I could? Not on your life.

Go Bears.

1 comment:

Matt Jenks said...

Wait a minute...your cousin had a baby named "Brady Quinn Shannon" and you didn't tell me? C'mon!

I don't know if I buy into the "sports takes us somewhere else for a while" argument. I think it was overdone after all of the sports leagues started back up after 9/11. for me, sports is just something to sit down and enjoy for a couple of hours, like a movie or an all-day Dirty Jobs marathon. It doesn't take me somewhere else, it's a piece of entertainment right in front of me.

That being said...when is the NFL going to realize that Steve Spurrier quarterbacks can't make the transition to the professional ranks?