If you follow me on tumblr and/or twitter, you may have noticed a strange phenomenon in recent weeks.
Sports tweets. And blogs. About football. Baseball. And if hockey would get going, hockey. Back in August, it was about the Olympics.
This bemuses people. “You are the last person I would expect to care about sports.” <–direct quote
Which is fair. There’s a stereotype of people, especially Americans, who care about men and women running around after balls. There’s another stereotype of arty, MFA people. The venn of diagram of those stereotypes . . . is two separate circles.
But those are stereotypes and they don’t accurately reflect the complexities of human life. So there.
The major reason I care about my local sports teams — the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, and the Washington Capitals — is the same reason I shop at my local farmers’ market every Saturday. Community. Now, we live in a new, exciting, privileged world where communities extend across national boundaries. Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong. I love my online communities, my long-distance friends and peers. But one of the first communities we belong is the one physically local to us — our hometown, so to speak, and wherever we live after that. For me, that’s the DC-Baltimore area. Right now, it’s also the Eastern Shore. It matters to me that I contribute to those communities, feel connected to them. One way to do that is to support the local economy. Hence the farmers’ market.
(I’m not preaching going full, exclusive locavore here. I think the global marketplace is also important. There’s no reason not to do both, although I would argue that everyone investigate the production practices of any business they buy from, big or small.)
And for me, another way to feel connected is through local sports. Both times I’ve lived outside of Maryland, one of the ways I staved off homesickness was by following our sports teams. There’s an immediate feeling of belonging for fans of the same team, a kind of shared history, good and bad, and that forges a sense of community where it might not otherwise exist. Commerce, sports, and the arts are an integral part of any local community, and I am interested in supporting them all as much as possible.
Camden Yards, this summer
And on that note, I’ve been going to see the Baltimore Orioles play since I was five years old. I saw Cal Ripken, Jr. play. It’s been fourteen years since the team went to the playoffs, and it has been unbelievably exciting to see them succeed this year and go so far. Regardless of what happens in the Bronx tonight — or tomorrow night, fingers crossed — I am a proud fan. Let’s go O’s!