The case against fandom

The case against fandom


Welcome to Deadspin’s The Sports Nihilist, where all is for naught and we are but accidental jolts of electrified meat stuck to the surface of a rock in an indifferent universe. Fuck you.

Now that Damian Lillard has asked out of Portland, I feel liberated, but not for reasons that caused NBA writers to rejoice. No, I feel the way I do because all illusions are gone. Sports are no longer an escape, as I’ve divested from fandom. This may come off like someone killed my dog, or a close relative passed away, but I’m actually happy that the best player in franchise history requested a trade away from the Trail Blazers.

Hope is for suckers

I don’t care about assets, returns, Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, or any of the other reasons why this is the right move for both the organization and Dame, because there’s nothing in the world that can trick me into caring as much as I once did about the Blazers or any team. I’m not starting all over, and am absolutely finished being vulnerable. This is proof that having hope is a fucking dangerous thing, maybe the most dangerous thing, so never, ever put yourself in a position where the direction of a team, or outcome of a game, or the loyalty of a player, dictates your level of happiness.

Optimism is perverse, and life is better when you can divorce yourself from cares, wants, and desires. The only nice thing about COVID was the stoppage of play. My mood was no longer predicated on whichever team was in season, and it was reassurance that I don’t need sports in my life.

In a cruel twist of fate, I now cover sports for a living — primarily the “never meet your hero” stories — and I’m jaded even further. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I hate sports, but they’ve certainly stopped being the distraction they once were and no longer bring me as much, if any, joy.

This is the moment on the Hallmark Channel when the coach comes into the locker room and gives a pep talk about all the values that sports instills in people. Hard work, perseverance, teamwork, physical fitness, and all of that Dudley Do-Right shit is great, but that’s not what being a fan is about.

The only thing fandom teaches you is how to be a homer and the cons of blind faith. I’m probably going to get dragged for this, or accused of being a sore loser — and both responses are valid considering my tone — yet you should be warned. The only impact fans can have on a game is crowd noise, so unless you’re in the arena, there’s nothing even the most ardent supporters can do to give their team a better chance of winning.

Perhaps every sports nut learns these lessons in time, accepts them, and proceeds without any misconceptions about the inevitable gut punch other than when it’ll happen, or how much it’ll sting. We’re all a bunch of masochists, or worse, optimists in matching colors watching grown-ups play with a ball, pulling for team X or athlete Y, and talking ourselves into next year when they lose.

Thinking about how much time and energy I’ve put into following my teams makes me physically ill. Sports fans are some of the angriest, most disgusting, unhappy people on the planet. What am I doing? Why am I not seeking more traditional avenues of fulfillment? Adopt a child, or buy a dog, maybe both, and hope I die before it does.

That or just never love anything again. 


Original source here

#case #fandom

About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.