Today isn’t a day to worry about television networks and media rights fees. Hell, it’s not the kind of day that makes us want to spend time writing about some team’s depth at linebacker, either. But if we can help a few folks take their minds off the more troubling aspects of our age, so be it. We’ll bring you our daily look-see at what’s making news in the SEC just as we always do.
We just won’t care as much about what we’re discussing.
“In light of the tragedy in Boston today, we have decided to postpone Tuesday’s SEC/ESPN press conference in Atlanta. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by these horrible events.”
That was the joint SEC, ESPN statement that arrived in the MrSEC.com inbox yesterday around 5pm ET. Simple. Short. Smart. Right.
As a nation, we are impacted once again by violent tragedy. Whether it’s a shooting in a theater, children murdered in a school, or devastating bombs set off at a marathon’s finish line, these all-too-common events of senseless bloodshed bring us together as one American family stretching from coast to coast. For a day or two we will all lock arms. Our differences will be buried. The fact that we are all drinking from the same bitter cup will draw us all closer.
But it won’t be long before we’re once again being nasty to one another because some other fan is wearing a different school’s colors. In five years of working on this site, it’s become abundantly clear that there are just as many people out there who follow sports in order to be angry as there are those who simply need an escape from our often painful existence.
After tornadoes ripped through Tuscaloosa in April of 2011, Auburn and Alabama fans worked together to aid the displaced and rebuild a community. Two years later, just read the comments under any Alabama or Auburn story written on this site and you’re guaranteed to see at least one person make an ass of himself by hurling insults at some person he’s never even met. All because the other person is a “Bammer” or a “Barner.” (Twenty bucks says we’ll get at least one nasty email claiming we used those words because MrSEC.com hates both the Tide and the Tigers.)
There are some — many, actually — who believe being ugly to one another is actually part of the fun of sports. Taunting the other team’s fans when they come to town. Egging cars. Even throwing liquor bottles at the opposing team’s buses. That kind of nonsense has become part of the grand show. Insulting people we don’t know while hunkered down under a veil of anonymity has become a big, witty, wonderful joke.
Oh, and it’s all the better when it’s done in 140 characters or less.
Sorry, but I just don’t get that. And I don’t get those of you who do get that. At all.
As a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics — and as someone who loves Boston more than any place on Earth — I prefer to try and make new friends when visiting with fans of other teams. I’ve got enough enemies. Life is miserable enough without looking for reasons to be upset.
While I might root against the guys in the other uniform on the field, I don’t want that to carry over into the stands or tailgates… into real life. I can “dislike” the New York Jets team — and I do — as an entity without hating all Jets fans.
I’m not alone in that feeling today. Today, I’m preaching to the choir. The Pollyanna bit sounds good when we’re all in mourning together. But give it a few days and the choir loft will be empty. Life will go on. Fans will go back to being ugly to each other over meaningless damn games. Most everyone will forget that there are much, much worse things in life than blown calls and missed free throws.
Worse even than someone pulling for a rival team.
Sports should be a distraction. Lord knows there are enough things in the real world to keep us fretting, crying, screaming and hurting without us having to turn sports into an additional hatefest.
So again, a tip of the cap to the SEC and ESPN for keeping things in proper perspective today. Here’s hoping a few of us can maintain that perspective once this latest tragedy begins to fade from our memories.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people impacted by the events in Boston yesterday.
SEC news will come your way shortly.