At the 6:25 pm kickoff in Miami last night, you might have been doing what I was doing: looking in the general direction of the television and hoping to absorb football strategy by osmosis because people I care about understand football. You might have even forgotten it was the superbowl.
To 150 million Americans, however, football and sports are neither obligatory nor pointless. David Brooks suggests that Americans conceive of virtue and the moral life through the language and metaphors of sports. Over at the Wall Street Journal, David Henninger posits that the “pursuit of happiness” has morphed into the “pursuit of fan happiness.”
There are, of course, many sides of fan-dom. Sandlot baseball games and home-team loyalties are a form of loving one’s place. Sporting leagues could even be a form of secondary association. It might be, though, that the the American obsession with professional televised sports is an entirely different animal, a mere simulacrum of membership.