Is My Schadenfreude Out of Hand?

September 11, 2008 at 4:33 am | Posted in Jackie Manuel | 2 Comments
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So…the ‘Lates Links’ era is over. This is mostly because my employers are asshats and have blocked everyone’s access to all wordpress and blogspot sites. If I can’t read Tar Heel Fan and EPL talk, how can I link and react? I do miss the blog though, so I’m going to try posting articles from time to time. This may be a disaster. These ‘articles’ may not have anything to do with Carolina athletics, so feel free to ignore my weblog.

The first Sunday of the gridiron season is quite a religious experience. You have faith (unless a Ram supporter). You have the body (wings) and blood (beer). You have the church (sports bar) where you may share the experience with fellow believers. You have good and evil.
Once I put reason aside to enjoy my religion, Tom Brady represents evil. I support the Dolphins and he plays for a side that is a symbol of all that is wrong in the world. So, when he went down in the first half hour of the service, I excitedly announced to the congregation: “Tom Brady is limping off the field!”
What the f*ck is wrong with me?
Not a thing, really.
In the Joy of Sports, Michael Novak writes that, “Sports flow outward into action from a deep natural impulse that is radically religious: an impulse of freedom, respect for ritual limits, a zest for symbolic meaning, and a longing for perfection. I don’t mean that participation in sports, as athlete or fan, makes one a believer in ‘God,’ under whatever concept, image, or experience one attaches the name. Rather, sports drive one in some dark and generic sense ‘godward.’”
You see, I don’t have much against Tom Brady, the person. Sure, he attended George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in 2004 and has identified Gerald Ford as a political hero. Yes, he has dumped a pregnant former model for a newer um, model. OK, he has been quoted as saying that ESPN hates the Patriots, even though their most read columnist fellates Brady and the Patriots on a monthly basis.
Still, I don’t really know whether Brady is a douche bag or not unless he enters the blacker and whiter world of sport. How else could you support grown men and women you’ve never met and have no control over? At this point, Brady transcends my liberal values. I don’t concur that you should hope he gets sacked but not injured. I take absolutely no joy in his talent, because as a believer, I see that he uses that talent in support of evil.
The moment when Brady fell might have been awkward. It might have been an opportunity for me to turn off my willing suspension of disbelief that I engage anytime I prepare to watch sport. It might even mean that I need to find another religion.
On the other hand, perhaps this is not just about faith. Social comparison studies have shown that those with lower self-esteem are more likely to take pleasure in other’s pain.
I’m a Miami Dolphin fan for f*cks sake, one who was born after they won all of those titles.
Other studies have shown that when male subjects witnessed people they perceived as evil being shocked, their scans lit up in brain areas associated with pleasure.
Apparently my joy at Tom Brady’s pain is just a part of what makes me human. So with sport being my religion, a place where I can accept no control and invest myself anyways, I need not concern myself with going too far with this.
I’m still glad that Tom Brady is out for rest of the season.


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