An Open Letter to the Artsy/Activists Who Judge Us For Watching Sports

Warriors, Giants, Mayweather/Guerrero: this weekend had the sports world buzzing. But there was one group of folks who were not so engaged -- the "non-sports fan." Commentator Demone Carter takes on the eternal question posed by this group: why sports?

The Bay Area sports world was buzzing this weekend with the perennial underdog Warriors advancing to the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs, local boxing hero Robert ‘Ghost’ Guerrero squaring off against the Pound for Pound champ Floyd Mayweather, and the San Fransisco Giants hated rival Los Angeles Dodgers in town. For many, these sporting events were must see tv, a reason to throw a house party, or the source of a heated next debate. But there is another group of people who must feel completely left out: The Non-Sports Fan.

We all know this person(s).  In my life these folks tend to be my artsy/activist friends. These are the people who roll their eyes and get annoyed when I veer off into belligerent fan mode. For whatever reason, they just don’t get the fascination with professional sports. Why watch a group of overpaid men play a kid's game? Why get so emotionally hung up on something that is so insignificant in the grand scheme of things?  Why should I care about the exploits of the local mutli-million dollar sports franchise?

Why Sports?

Good question.  My typical response to this question is something to the effect of, “It's not my fault you got picked last for kickball." Good natured ribbing aside though I think professional sports is often miscast by the non-fan as a useless, ultra macho, distraction. But the studied fan knows it's much deeper than that.

Why Sports?

Because when played at the highest levels, sports is a human expression on par with the greatest ballet or staged drama. Highly trained athletes competing against each other using physical creativity to move themselves and objects through space. You can’t tell me Micheal Jordan’s body of work is any less valuable than that of ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Why Sports?

Because it’s a metaphor for life.   You’ve got a cross section of  money, power, sex, drugs, overcoming adversity, working with others, competition -- its all there. Sports are so much a metaphor for life terms like "long shot," and "low blow," and "slam dunk"  are part of everyday venacular, even for those when never played a lick of anything.

Why Sports?

Because it connects people. In our modern world where people are more connected to their phones than their neighbors. Sports gives people from wildly disparate backgrounds, age groups, and socio-economic classes a shared experience and a common language.  It's something to talk about with distant relatives during a holiday meal,  with the butcher at the grocery store, or while standing next to a stranger at the DMV.

Why Sports? 

Because as far as pastimes go (and America has a great many pastimes), nothing give you the mixture of the familiar and the unexpected like sports does. You kind of know whats going to happen but you never know whats going to happen. In many ways, sports is the original reality television except these are the best athletes in world and not attention hungry near do wells.

But if you still don’t get it. That’s ok. 

About Demone Carter

Demone Carter is the 2016 Silicon Valley Artist Laureate, Hip Hop Emcee, Community Organizer, and Social Entrepreneur from San Jose, California. Follow him on twitter: @lifeafterhiphop.

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