If America truly had a religion, I would argue it would be sports, not Christianity. Collectively, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and NASCAR command our society’s attention like no other thing in our country. It is also a very unifying force. Sure, we disagree about which team or player is the best, or which sport has the most excitement, but ultimately, at the end of the day, everyone comes back home, has a few drinks, and laughs any serious disagreement off. They don’t let team loyalties determine their friendships.
In that sense, sports may be the polar opposite of politics (and thus, one could argue, our nation’s salvation.) Nearly every blog I see that is oriented exclusively to politics makes an exception for sports, most famously Outside the Beltway, where our own Doug Mataconis writes. Why? Because it is an escape valve, a chance for us to talk about a subject other than the madness that occurs inside the beltway. Just as we need our alone time away from our friends, relatives, even spouses (maybe especially spouses), politicos need something else to talk about, or else the battle for Capitol Hill and the White House will turn into an actual battle, with sabers, rifles, and maybe even some good old fashioned fisticuffs.
For me, as a young twentysomething nerd who plays more Dungeons & Dragons than Madden, it’s a bit odd for me, but I understand it. (And personally, I do very much enjoy short track dirt racing, though it’s hard to find in the DC metro area.) I totally get that people need to tune in to something that involves jerseys that aren’t uniformly red and blue to prevent their noggins from turning into scrambled eggs. It makes perfect sense, even if I’m questioning their choice of sports.
But unfortunately, it appears that may be over.