This thread may veer a bit off the topic of Reds baseball, so I apologize for that. However, I'm wondering whether other people are feeling similarly to me, so I went ahead and gave it a separate thread. What started out as a simple response on a thread about Josh Hamilton became a longer, journalistic entry. It has helped me get some things off my chest, which is something I am thankful to be able to do here at RedsZone.
Here's where I started:
So how does this relate to Josh Hamilton and the Reds? Let's see if I can unpack my thoughts for all of you.
Of course, by taking part in this forum, I am every bit as much part of the vast sports culture machinery as the next person -- probably more so even. Sports are a huge part of my existence, as I think they are for most people who contribute to RedsZone. However, the way sports operate in our country does give me pause to think once in awhile -- and my thoughts aren't all positive. It's as if sports create this impenetrable ether for us to bask in without thinking about what's really going on in the world.
The past few weeks have been particularly poignant in this regard. Don Imus's misdeeds have actually created some ire among a few of my friends because they obligate sports talk and coverage to actually deal with something other than the safe, bounded universe they are familiar with when they turn on ESPN -- the one that gets them away from the chaos and uncertainty of media coverage dominated by a certain war and photos of Seung Cho. One of the many sad aspects of Virginia Tech is that it often takes tragedies like this to make us realize that there are a lot of other heroic professions, attitudes, and just ways of "dwelling" in the world that never get the constant attention we reserve for athletes. Having traveled a bit and lived in other places, I really think there is something specific and bizarre about the way America treats athletic prowess, and it starts (I think) with the alignment between sports and the education system, something that many other countries see as strange--and something I don't have time to treat in depth here.
So how does this relate to Josh Hamilton? Well, arbitrarily at best. Let me try to explain. Watching him play over the past few weeks, as he fills up my fantasy team with statistics while all of these upsetting things swirl around in other windows on my desktop, has been strangely therapeutic. Just a click away, one tab over on my Firefox browser, there is a human interest story that is uplifting, inspiring and safe. A story about an individual conquering odds much larger than those it takes to hit a 95 mph fastball. And read that story I have. Many, many, many times.
Is this healthy? I'm not sure. I'm not even sure that it isn't evidence for my own complicity with an increasingly screwed-up, a-political form of citizenship in this country.
But it sure does help me get through the day.