Thursday, February 03, 2011

On color-blind passions

I have a serious question. Without minimizing the serious issues of race and disparity that we are so fearful of even talking about; without overhyping even more, if that is possible this week, the impact of sports on everything from the economy to our self esteem…. I still wonder:

Is support for the Steelers the single most color-blind passion in Pittsburgh?

Think about it. On no other topic will you find the same Monday morning quarterbacking of the weekend’s game going on in Homewood or Braddock as you will in Shadyside or Cranberry. You really do. It may be positive, or it may be spewing ire as only Steelers’ fans can dole out when a player underperforms, but it won’t break down entirely along racial lines as most everything else does. There just isn’t much in town that you can say that for at any level.

Even if true, I am not sure what it means, nor whether it really improves our dialogue much. Even if we cheer the same, we don’t necessarily cheer together. Still worth thinking about.

5 Comments:

Blogger Bill Price said...

Brian O'Neill wrote about this topic a bit in The Paris of Appalachia. If I remember right, he presented the situation as both wonderful and awful: wonderful that there was a color-blind island of passion, but awful that this fact was so remarkable.

Thursday, February 03, 2011 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are public funded satdiums justified in part for their positive effect on the racial divide?

Thursday, February 03, 2011 1:51:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

For decades, sports has been a gateway for breaking down the barriers between the races and even countries. Black sports heroes have been accepted when few other blacks would have been. History is replete with stories of how sports broke down the walls that society erected.

While our society over-emphasizes sports, the good that sports does should not be dismissed. Sports unites people despite race, age, creed, class, income, education level and more. It also teaches kids things like hard work, discipline, preparation, determination, and over coming failures.

The Steelers and Pirates helped the city get through the rough times of the 70s and 80s. Teams become a symbol of the city and region. Charlotte is now a much more recognized city, both nationally and internationally, now that it has pro sports teams.

And talking sports is the universal language of men.(not to exclude women) Travel any where on business or for pleasure and when you meet someone, sports is often the ice breaker in getting to know a person.

I can think of nothing that has the shared passion of all races. And it has the advantage that it can be argued about between races in relative safeness, unlike politics, religion, economics, or most any other subject.

Strange how people can be so passionate about their sports but yet remain friends...or friendly...unlike other issues.

Thursday, February 03, 2011 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

PS we still shouldn't have built their stadiums for almost nothing.

Thursday, February 03, 2011 10:23:00 PM  
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