September 13, 2006

Foul Ball

Foul Ball
Originally uploaded by ohad*.
I read a piece at Arts and Letters Daily this morning regarding David Remnick, the editor at the New Yorker magazine in which he says of his leadership that he does not believe in swagger, he thinks it infantile.

That brought to my mind something I have been pondering for a while now, the swagger of the athletes on their particular field of play and more peculiar to me, the fans in the stands.

The actions of the athletes I can more readily understand as athletics is just one more offshoot of the entertainment field and swagger and display of the look at me type is typical and promotional. What I can’t understand is the overflow of the same kind of behavior into the stands among the spectators of the events.

I am a fairly regular viewer of a major league team in my geographical area of the country and I am struck by the antics of the people in the stands when a foul ball happens their way. First of all the disregard of your neighboring spectators well being in the pursuit of the seven-dollar baseball astounds me. The leaping over of seats, and the throwing of ones body over any body in its way, in a complete abandonment of any regard of health or territorial rights in the quest of the baseball seems somehow excessive, but normal for a sporting event.

I perhaps can be persuaded that the above behavior is normal if I factor in the innate competitive spirit or gene built into most of the male population that he must win whatever physical contest he happens to be thrust into. What I cannot understand is the transference of the athletes swagger on the field to the spectators in the stands. After the foul ball is finally in the hands of the prevailing fan there starts the ritual of hand slapping and displaying the ball high above his head to the adoring hoards for some kind of approval like displaying the head of John the Baptist to the court of King Herod.

Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball, I love the spectacle of it, I have even participated in the lunging after the seven-dollar baseball, but the imitating of the excessive behavior of the athletes on the field is along the lines of becoming a wannabe. Let’s leave the clownish, over excited, boorish behavior to the athletes on the field and please be content with observing their expertise, but please don’t emulate it after we have reached the age of puberty; like David Remnick said, it’s infantile.

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