This week I had a chance to go to a baseball game in Baltimore with a couple of coworkers. Camden Yards is one of my favorite places to watch a game, so I was excited. Well, that, and my extreme enjoyment of baseball in general. So I was stunned to find out that one of my coworkers did not want to go. I thought:What is wrong with him? He must be dense in the head or emotionally broken or something. I reasoned, persuaded, argued, harassed, harangued, cajoled, and even threatened (mildly) to no avail. He simply doesn’t like sports.
I learned something about myself through this experience: I am a sports legalist. My way is right and everyone else is wrong. I tell people how they ought to act based on my own preferences and value structure. My standards vary to meet my preferences, and everyone else is beholden to them. And if you’re not with me, you’re against me!
On a larger scale, sports are very much like a religion to fans like me. We worship and study. We proselytize. We tell others how to act. We abide by a rhythmic calendar and a set of rituals. We seek to argue people into agreement with us and try to persuade them with everything from passion to statistics. And it pretty much never works. My efforts to make my coworker a follower of my “religion” were fruitless, and they were almost exactly like many evangelistic efforts.
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