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JacobGalt

Is picking a sports team to cheer arbitrary and thus improper?

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No. Cheering on a sports team is really just a matter of preference (much like having a favorite color or enjoying a certain city over another city, for example), and for that morality isn't very much a guide.

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Football Soccer is by far the best example:

I belive that the crowds of hooligans, fans, hinchas, whatever you call it, is the embodiment of the collective spirit. I personally detest it, I see the face of evil in it, and I consider it a Materialist religion, not unlike Communism.

But again I'm heavily biased: hailing from Argentina, one can not be an individualist and tolerate club fandom at the same time. In America, if that's your case, it might be really different, as it is different in Argentina with other sports (like Rugby). But again, Rugby fans don't get emotional about it, and they don't really cheer, I believe they might even enjoy watching the game. I don't. I like to play games.

Wrapping it up: the cheering of organized sports is not immoral only for a technicality: it is the sublimation of something incommensurable evil: the herding of individuals into a mass of faceless people arbitrarily cheering for their tribe: like a slave that celebrates his owner. America might be an exception: Cheering for that country in the context of the world cup, would be showing your support for the one country founded on individual freedom. And inter-city matches might be a nice celebration of competition. The way cities compete for skylines. But back to the rest of the world:

Since it's sublimated, and therefore PASSIVELY functional to those evil interests, then you can't blame a man for cheering. Read what Ayn Rand said about Pornography (inter state trade regulations, in Capitalism the unknown ideal) and you'll find how something can be awful, but perfectly moral, and even proper.

Edited by volco

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I think if you watch some individual players who you admire play in the same team, then 'cheering' the team is proper (as long as you realize it's just cheering, just fun, nothing more). But the nationalism/sectarianism that tends to surface at these sporting events is ridiculous, and it's not surprising because even civilized fans tend to embrace a sort of crude, irrational collectivism when it comes to supporting their team. I find the whole thing very offputting, especially when you see people who've let their long-term emotional state and their general behaviour be affected by sports-entertainment. Other undesirable traits like intense jealousy of successful athletes and second-hand vicarious living through heroes are also apparent.

(i'm talking basically about soccer here, mind you. i can't really attest to other sports, although they tend to be more civilized)

Edited by Tyco

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No. Cheering on a sports team is really just a matter of preference (much like having a favorite color or enjoying a certain city over another city, for example), and for that morality isn't very much a guide.

I do not think it is comparable to having a favorite color at all. There is a standard which you can judge a team, which is through the skill of its players and the ability of those players to perform under pressure and competition. It would be collectivistic - or at the very least, mindless - to cheer for a team for any other reason. Some people seem to cheer for a team because it represents their hometown, which I think is wholly wrong. Even in the World Cup I think it's wrong to cheer for a country *because* it's your home country, even if it is indeed a great country. The team does not necessarily represent the country's culture or founding values, and may in fact not represent any of that because the players are incompetent.

Edited by Eiuol

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I do not think it is comparable to having a favorite color at all. There is a standard which you can judge a team, which is through the skill of its players and the ability of those players to perform under pressure and competition. It would be collectivistic - or at the very least, mindless - to cheer for a team for any other reason. Some people seem to cheer for a team because it represents their hometown, which I think is wholly wrong. Even in the World Cup I think it's wrong to cheer for a country *because* it's your home country, even if it is indeed a great country. The team does not necessarily represent the country's culture or founding values, and may in fact not represent any of that because the players are incompetent.

That said, I retract my statement about the American Exception. It's moral, I don't know if proper, but certainly disgusting.

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I disagree with the general sentiment of sports being a collectivized spectacle.

I think this article does a fairly good job of outlining why sport is so important in society: http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/culture/living/sports/5703-The-Joy-Football.html

It briefly touches on multiple reasons why sport is a positive thing, but focuses on the idea of goal achievement, and merit based appointment for players.

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Thanks, now I remember that article, and Peikofff's celebration of the Super Bowl. Let both Peikoff and Bowden see the goal-achieving values of folks in Chelsea, La Boca or Rotterdam. Yes the joy of Football (so long it's the American kind)

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Is there anything in Rand's writings that would make you think that picking a team and cheering it on is improper?

Of course not. Such an action is not a moral one.

I also suggest that you apply the principles yourself and not be concerned about what Rand might have said about subjective things.

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I work in Akron (LeBron James's hometown), and I get to put up with coworkers complaining about how he is being "selfish", and "disrespecting Cleveland", not doing his duty to his fans, etc - for leaving the Cavs.

I would say such folks were never his fans in the first place - his true fans are the ones who will follow him anywhere, and cheer on his accomplishments, regardless of the jersey he wears. Maybe that is only true of his family and close friends.

Edited by brian0918

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I root for the team whose play I respect the most, meaning individual skill, strategy, teamwork (another type of skill) and sportsmanship. I prefer sports where people compete as individuals though, but although I only watch world championship-type games (Olympics, World Cup etc) it's still offputting to me that athletes are must compete as part of a country in order to be eligible.

An Olympic Games without flags, just individual names performing for themselves would be awesome.

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This is one of the issues that has caused me most problems since I have been studying Objectivism, I actually kept meaning to make a thread about it, but it is hard to put into words what it means to support a football ( soccer :glare: ) club. As someone has already said, it is the embodiment of the collective spirit - there is an emotional connection to the club, it is certainly not rational or objective.

In England, you don't choose the club you support, you are born with it by virtue of geography or family. Most people live close to a team and will automatically support that team, just as their father did before them. Where there are two teams, your family will determine who you support. If they are in the lower leagues, they might also have a "second-team" in the Premier League that they like, but are not bothered about. I can admire the way certain other teams play, even rivals, if they play the game in a good manner, without resorting to cheating. However, this is totally different to supporting your team.

I think there is a degree of talking at cross-purposes here. The Bowden article is talking about the sporting event in almost abstract terms, from the outside, the game, the glory of it, but the OP is talking about a tribal affinity to a local sports team, experiencing it from the inside almost, not just enjoying the skill, but living the highs and lows personally - at the end of it you are either elated or distraught. That is what supporting a team is, it is a replacement for the tribe. There is no way to escape it. When you look not at the sporting event, but at the way the fans experience it, there is no way to reconcile actively supporting a sports team with the individualism found within Objectivism.

In this regard, I will always be a 'back-sliding' Objectivist. I remember the joy of watching with me dad as Liverpool beat local rivals Everton in the 1989 FA cup final, 3-2 after extra-time, I was only six. I remember going to see my first match at Anfield, our 'cathedral' of football, I remember us winning the FA cup in '92, the disappointment in '96, beating Newcastle 4-3 with the last kick of the match - twice - and the amazing year we won five trophies (all but the one we really want :( ) and I will never forget the euphoria of Istanbul, winning the European Cup after being 3-0 down at half-time. Studying Objectivism has called all of this into question for me, but I cannot escape it - nor do I necessarily want to.

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Football Soccer is by far the best example:

I belive that the crowds of hooligans, fans, hinchas, whatever you call it, is the embodiment of the collective spirit. I personally detest it, I see the face of evil in it, and I consider it a Materialist religion, not unlike Communism.

But again I'm heavily biased: hailing from Argentina, one can not be an individualist and tolerate club fandom at the same time. In America, if that's your case, it might be really different, as it is different in Argentina with other sports (like Rugby). But again, Rugby fans don't get emotional about it, and they don't really cheer, I believe they might even enjoy watching the game. I don't. I like to play games.

Wrapping it up: the cheering of organized sports is not immoral only for a technicality: it is the sublimation of something incommensurable evil: the herding of individuals into a mass of faceless people arbitrarily cheering for their tribe: like a slave that celebrates his owner. America might be an exception: Cheering for that country in the context of the world cup, would be showing your support for the one country founded on individual freedom. And inter-city matches might be a nice celebration of competition. The way cities compete for skylines. But back to the rest of the world:

Since it's sublimated, and therefore PASSIVELY functional to those evil interests, then you can't blame a man for cheering. Read what Ayn Rand said about Pornography (inter state trade regulations, in Capitalism the unknown ideal) and you'll find how something can be awful, but perfectly moral, and even proper.

Oh my God... Sometimes I can't believe the things I read in this forum...

Edited by 0096 2251 2110 8105

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I do not think it is comparable to having a favorite color at all. There is a standard which you can judge a team, which is through the skill of its players and the ability of those players to perform under pressure and competition. It would be collectivistic - or at the very least, mindless - to cheer for a team for any other reason. Some people seem to cheer for a team because it represents their hometown, which I think is wholly wrong. Even in the World Cup I think it's wrong to cheer for a country *because* it's your home country, even if it is indeed a great country. The team does not necessarily represent the country's culture or founding values, and may in fact not represent any of that because the players are incompetent.

One thing you forget is this: Every sport I can think of, especially team sports, are more enjoyable when attending the event live rather than watching it on TV. Also, especially in the past, the majority of games you were able to get on TV locally were of local teams playing. So if you live in Cleveland, OH, the vast majority of live baseball games you will see are Cleveland Indians games, and your local cable provider shows you every Cleveland Indians game, you will quite naturally form an affection with that team as you learn more about their players and their history, unless there is something obviously repulsive about them.

It's just like with friends. I'm still pretty good friends with a lot of people who went to school with me, but that doesn't mean that the school I went to was somehow special in 'producing' likeable people with similar values to me. It's just that I know those people, and that makes a big difference. Maybe all of you guys on this forum would be better friends than the ones I hang out with, but I can't see you guys whenever I want to, nor do I really know you. If a good friend of mine gets married vs. someone on this board gets married, I really happy for my friend, while I don't 'really' care about the one getting married from this board. The one on this board may be a better person than my friend, and I may even know it, but that doesn't change the fact that my friend getting married is more important to me. Just like watching a team succeeding, whose games I've attended for the past ten years and whose players backstories I'm aware of, is much more important to me than seeing a team I really know nothing about winning, even though they may be better.

I know that there are a lot of irrational sports fans, and the more irrational they are, the more loud/visible they will be also. That doesn't mean there aren't solid reasons for being a fan of a certain team. I have a favourite team in all sports I follow(some local, some not), but I am one of those who don't support 'my' team regardless of what the team currently looks like. I have fallen out of love with many teams, due to the makeup of the team at the time, but I do stick with my teams in general, unless there is something really repulsive. I'm also one of those fans who don't ever "brag" about "my" team, and I'm brutally honest about what is going on with the team. This gets me into trouble quite often, as many of my fellow fans don't like to hear that the other team was clearly better thirty seconds after losing an important game. Or saying that you really admire a player on a team who you are "supposed" to hate, just because he is playing for your division rivals.

Still, in addition to the accessibility of the team, there are other constants to teams as well. That's why the argument about the players changing teams doesn't apply. Many teams have a clear identity year after year, and despite the players changing, that stays the same. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers for example. They have been known to be a defensive team for the last 40 years, and have always, no matter who the coach is, played a defensive style. Also, if you watch the same broadcast for ten straight years, and go to games at the same stadium, you can definitely start to feel affection towards the people who do play-by-play on the broadcast, or some 7th inning song that is sung during every home game. Especially if this is something you have done ever since you were a kid. Teams become almost like family to you.

I have to mention, that I very often have a secondary favourite during every season, just based on what kind of personalities are on the team, or what kind of style they play. Just like when watching a movie, you root for a certain character to do well, you do it in sports as well.

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