Sunday, December 18, 2005

World Class Fans in New Orleans

My World Class comrade Dillyberto has a dark, truthful, but ultimately courageous post today about the court fight that looms for our beloved Black and Gold New Orleans Saints. I want to back up his stance by quoting from the book Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby. It's about his devotion to Arsenal, a soccer club (the movie of the same name changed the sport to baseball), but of course he calls it "football," and his words about being a fan ring true for us World Class fans in New Orleans right now:

One thing I know for sure about being a fan is this: it is not a vicarious pleasure, despite all appearances to the contrary, and those who say that they would rather do than watch are missing the point. Football is a context where watching becomes doing--not in the aerobic sense, because watching a game, smoking your head off while doing so, drinking after it has finished and eating chips on the way home is unlikely to do you a whole lot of Jane Fonda good, in the way that chuffing up and down a pitch is supposed to. But when there is some kind of triumph, the pleasure does not radiate from the players outwards until it reaches the likes of us at the back of the terraces in a pale and diminished form; our fun is not a watery version of the team's fun, even though they are the ones that get to score the goals and climb the steps at Wembley to meet Princess Diana. The joy we feel on occasions like this is not a celebration of others' good fortune, but a celebration of our own; and when there is a disastrous defeat the sorrow that engulfs us is, in effect, self-pity, and anyone who wishes to understand how football is consumed must realise this above all things. The players are merely our representatives, chosen by the manager rather than elected by us, but our representatives nonetheless, and sometimes if you look hard you can see the little poles that join them together, and the handles at the side that enable us to move them. I am a part of the club, just as the club is a part of me; and I say this fully aware that the club exploits me, disregards my views, and treats me shoddily on occasions, so my feeling of organic connection is not built on a muddle-headed and sentimental understanding of how professional football works. [A championship win] belonged to me every bit as much as it belonged [to the Arsenal players], and I worked as hard for it as they did. The only difference between me and them is that I have put in more hours, more years, more decades than them, and so had a better understanding of the afternoon, a sweeter appreciation of why the sun still shines when I remember it..

We and the Fleur-de-Lis are bigger than any particular self-serving regime of management, coaches, and players.


dillyberto said...

Photoshop does wonders for Paul Tagliabue.

Check it out.

jeffrey said...

So true. Fever Pitch was in my queue of books to read next sitting atop my desk at the library. It did not survive the flood. I think we should just go ahead and nationalize all major league sports. That way we can continue wasting the billions of public dollars on it that we do currently and eliminate the threat of greedy owners picking up and leaving town when it suits them.

Anonymous said...

Joe Horn's brother is on Dick Cheney's staff.

Seriously. It was on ESPN today.

Big__Shot said...

Thank you for the Fever Pitch quote. If folks on sportscenter understood the roots of true fan devotion, perhaps they would spend more time covering the plight of Saints fans instead of focusing in on T.O. and other spoiled athlete tantrums.

humidhaney said...

rant away.