Friday, May 15, 2009

The Lake Show

I am wondering this morning about the reasons why we get connected to a sport team? Why we tie our spirit to their ups and downs? Why we push ourselves to shout at their ineffectiveness's and cheer so loud when they overcome them? Now I am sure that the psychologists have a term for this syndrome, ha! Just like the sport's writer who turns a phrase. But what I don't know yet is if they and I will agree.

Maybe it is tied to the immersion in school spirit we receive as school children. You know what I mean. The school colors, the sense of community gathered around the team that defends our school's honor. Using those terms, honor, the sense of community, school colors, I can see, or rather sense the common thread. But what makes us want to do those things in the first place?

When we move from our home as children, the school out of necessity becomes our second home. We appear to need the stability that comes from knowing our school provides it. There is in this process a shielding effect. Of course, this is on our side.

On the other side lies society as represented by the adults whose power to influence comes from our allegiance to this elevated, and in many senses, created team spirit. In the blogosphere, it has become a very big deal these days to accrue followers and in turn become a follower. Is this just a process?

No, I think it goes back to my earlier questions. It seems to me that at some core level, maybe through evolution even at a genetic level, our sense of fear of the world is what is at play here. Picture the cave man, woman, child. Go see Disney's new film, Earth, if you need a reminder. The world is a cruel and beautiful place, dangerous and unforgiving. We humans have spent, do spend, most of our creative time trying to move away from that fear. We call it civilization.

When we connect with a sport team, we are really combating our oldest fear. That the world is just waiting to eat us as we would eat it if we could.

So what happens to us when Kobe doesn't do his job and protect us by winning the game is really just elemental my dear Watson. The other team is the barbarian at our gate, the tyrannosaurus rex nuzzling our cave door, and the need to escape this threat is just driving us wild. And in this sense, what we lose when they lose, our team that is, is our sense of being safe in the world.