Post-Season

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This started off as a Facebook status, but started to get way too long. Religion also somehow, like a typical YouTube thread, got tangled up into this. Then I remembered: I HAVE A BLOG!

If you know me, or have read an older post or two, you may know that I’m a huge baseball fan. It’s October, which means it’s playoff time. Specifically, the League Championship Series have both started. If you’re not a baseball fan, this one’s not for you…

For those out there complaining about seeing St. Louis and San Francisco in the NLCS, AGAIN…

Suck it up.

These are two exceptionally run franchises. They aren’t the typical big market teams that everyone is so apt to cry about. Even if they were, remember: every owner has the equal opportunity to spend money. Some choose NOT to. So ask yourself, why are you cheering for a team, if the ownership group is not committed to winning? For that matter, why are you even cheering for a team at all? I find I typically come across two rationals, behind longstanding fandom.

Regional Ties
People always want to have some sense of civic pride; or at least they do in the sense of: “I can bash my city, but you can’t, ’cause you’re not from here”. The same seems to carry over to sports teams. People will lament their woeful squad, until a non-fan express the same opinion.

“Whoa back off man! They’ve been drafting really well, and we’re right on the cusp. You just like because you’re a bandwagoner man!”

Well, newsflash: you didn’t really have any say in where you were born. So supporting the team of the city you were arbitrarily born in, it’s kind of a weak platform. You can argue that was responsible for shaping your young mind, and contributed to the person you are today, therefore giving a strong reason for supporting civic pride. Except that, that pride is relative to the fact that you were born in that city. If you were born in a different city, you would be tied to a whole different team. Ergo, you’re a slave to the forces that conspired to place you in that city. Now you can make a case for people who have, of their own free will, moved to a city. Those folks are usually just caving to peer pressure; trying to fit in amidst the common-folk in their new town.

Family tradition
This is usually is born of civic pride (descended from your folks). Even if it’s not, it’s still something that was not a result of your own critical thinking. You’re cheering out of blind faith, for the team your family supports the most vocally, because it’s the only team you get exposed to. Or more aptly, it’s the only team you’re exposed to a reason to cheer for. Kind of like religion…except your mortal soul isn’t invested (well, that’s a matter up for debate to some). Conversely, some people cheer out of spite for their family ties. To be the black sheep, the antagonist (hello atheists); usually a major rival. It’s all very petty.

These are the two major arguments that I seem to come across most, when people are trying to explain why they’ve supported a team for so long. They also seem to be generally accepted logic to argue a “true allegiance”. People who use these rationales, typically like to harp on those with what they consider, “less legitimate” reasons. These include:

-Team colour
-Team Name
-Traditionally good team
-Recent Champion

The last two are typically labelled as “bandwagon fans”. Before I touch on those, let’s tackle the first three.

Sure, team colour/name seem frivolous, but at least they have some sense of personal attachment. I mean, you’re cheering for your dad’s team because why? Why not pick your team based on your favourite colours, favourite animal, or coolest sounding name? Especially for folks like me in the Great White North; outside of the NHL, there really aren’t many options for local ties. Plus, inevitably if you really enjoy the sport, you’ll get to know the players, the history, and all that fun stuff; it comes with time regardless of how your allegiance formed. Of course, if you’re a casual fan, it’s a built in defence mechanism to shut-up over-zealous fans, hellbent on proving their team loyalty.

Back to the bandwagon. I really don’t mind the casual bandwagon fan. I mean, let’s face it; don’t you want to share in the excitement cheering for a champion gives, rather than the dejection of a perennial loser? Especially when you’re young, it’s easier and more likely, that you’re going to gravitate to the most successful team of the day. Eventually that might lead to a longer standing appreciation for the team. My own favourite baseball team for example, the Minnesota Twins, gained my loyalty in the 90’s because they were really good. They were the best and most exciting team to watch, when I first started watching the sport. There’s a deep sense of nostalgia associated with the team; I may not have liked baseball as much if say, the New York Mets were the team du jour.

Now I’m not trying to say people should stop cheering for their teams. What I’m getting at with all this is, it’s a sports team. Your allegiance is probably trivial at best. Relax, appreciate when a great franchise has sustained success. After all, entertaining games are really what should be at the heart of the fan experience. With the fluidity of the market; players being traded and signing elsewhere, why should your fandom be restricted to a team? I mean, sure, I have my favourites, but I find myself gravitating all over the place due to the vast amount of talent across the leagues.

In any case, if you somehow made it through all this, I hope you at least can ease off the gas-pedal when it comes to extolling what a “super fan” you are. Just relax, grab some snacks, and enjoy the games. After all, this is prime sports time. Hockey has started, college and NFL football are in full swing, there’s NBA pre-season, FIFA football, and of course, the best of all: the MLB playoffs.

May the team that sports the best, get all the sports glory!

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Hate

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It’s a strong word.

As is modern convention, we are absolutely in love with hyperbole. Louis CK does a great bit about his disdain for people using words improperly. “Awesome”, “epic”, “legendary”, beast”, are all great examples of this. Hate is the best though. I suppose it comes from the fact that it is some much easier to exclaim: “I HATE ______ so much!” as oppose to “You know, I have a great dislike for _________, it/they really irritate me!”. I am as guilty as anyone for using this to proclaim my animosity with something. There are truly things though that I hate. Things that when I see, hear, or feel, I fly into a fit of rage (usually but not limited to internal rage).

Here are some examples of things/ideas/occurrences/people I HATE:

Helvetica: A thousand blasphemous curses on this awful awful font (yes, Kristi-Lea, if you’re reading this, the word “font” was deliberately used to irritate you).
I went to design school. I understand how technically sound this typeface is. I understand why it’s so easy to use. I understand the modern obsession with it. We’ve become a voiceless society. Mass trumps individuality. Helvetica is the perfect example of this. It’s stale, it’s corporate, it tells you want to think. It is voiceless. There are plenty other sans-serifs out there that are just as legible, but give a communication design a flavour. Gotham, Futura, Gill Sans. Helvetica can burn. Boy do I ever regret buying a Mac…

The use word “Epic”: Can this just die?
“Epic” has been the buzzword of what feels like the last 5 years. It may in fact be longer. All I know is, unless your name is Homer, and you’re recounting tales of Ancient Greek lore, I can assure you that nothing you are talking about, have done, or ever WILL do are/were/will be “epic”. I can however tell you beyond all reasonable doubt that whenever you use it, I am wishing a thousand tiny daggers would pierce your cerebral cortex.

Escalator etiquette in Vancouver: If you’ve ever even just travelled here, you’ll get it.
Between people taking up the entire pathway with their obnoxious travel bags, standing dead-centre on the steps, or standing two to a step, my blood boils. I now it’s something I should probably just “breathe and count to ten” about. I could probably extend this one to bus, sidewalk, and just general Vancouverian etiquette, because it’s just non-existent. There’s something about the escalator that makes me fume more than the others though. If you want to casually ride the escalator up, that’s fine, just pull yourself to one side and allow people to pass by. The steps aren’t always an option since Vancouver is full of situations where there is either an up or down escalator, and the steps are inundated with people flooding the opposite direction of the escalator.

People who chew loudly: *SHUDDER*
This extends to people who make unnecessary noises while they eat. Lip-smacking, open-mouthed chewing, slurping (OH GOD SLURPING). I just want to lock you in a cage and throw away the key.

Monchichi: Seriously.
This definitely is irrational. If I see that furry little bastard though…I need to leave. Just, no. There will be zero tolerance for Monchichi or his brethren.

There are a few other things, but that’ll be for another day. Sunday rants are nice.

DFP

Facebook Posturing (Fuck Disclaimers)

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Nelson Mandela passed away today. No. This is not going to be a post about how he changed my life.

I posted on Facebook a status that read:

There’s been less attention to Nelson Mandela’s passing today on my Facebook feed than when Corey Monteith killed himself. I need to review my friends list perhaps.

A friend made mention that her Facebook was alive with posts about Mandela’s passing. Though she was quick to point out that these posts were probably more empty. 

I think generally speaking, most peoples posts are going to be shallow and empty. Self-serving even. The great majority of us couldn’t even possibly understand the impact he had, because we’ve never been exposed to the things he fought for and against. That’s not to discredit any feelings of sadness, loss, or otherwise that you may be having. I just like to credit my parents, family, and teachers growing up, with showing me that racism, bigotry, and Apartheid (though I may not have known it by that term) were wrong, rather than some politician/activist/political prisoner more than 8 020 or so miles away (yea, I Googled that…deal with it).

At best, studying the ANC, Apartheid, and Mandela in high school might have made me slightly less bigoted. However, as a whole, his passing doesn’t have any influence on my day. I didn’t learn any great lessons from him. He didn’t directly influence my life. Yea, he spun some beautiful quotes about the realities of life. So did some wickedly horrible people. So while his work was certainly admirable, the fact that he died was no more or less important than the rest of the people I could read about in the obituaries.

Are we sad because he was an influence on us? Or are we sad because it would seem insensitive not to be?

“This man did great work, he shaped a nation, a continent even. How could you be so ignorant as to not feel this great loss?”.

I’m not saying the average, white, North American CAN’T be influenced by Mandela. A great deal of people have been, and honestly will continue to learn from his legacy. My point lies more towards the line of: We should take a look at why we are being mournful. Are we just jumping on the popular opinion bandwagon? When great people of history pass on, it’s time to reflect on what they have meant to your world.

The impression I’m left with is that people are far more concerned with their social image. 

I recognized that this person did some great things for some other people. Now like my status. 

If that warrants a quick WikiQuote scan for your favourite quote, that doesn’t make you a bad person. I guess I just question the sincerity of it all. In a roundabout way, I just legitimized the phenomenon of celebrity apologists. I’m more apt to believe a person is heartbroken over a dead celebrity, than a quick blurb about someone of consequence that left their thumbprint on history.

I hope if you posted about Mandela’s passing, you took the time to reflect. That you understand why you are mournful. If you have, that reduces this to cynical, diarrhea-filled vitriol, by some obnoxious talking head.

-DFP