Saturday, January 21, 2012


At least once a year adults get dressed up in outrageous costumes to engage in fun.  I am not talking about what goes on in the privacy of one's bedroom (or whatever rooms on their private property that they may choose to engage in that type of activity between consenting adults).  Nor am I talking about Halloween, when some adults indulge in some healthy (and not so healthy) fantasies.  I am talking about sports fanatics, a breed that is probably worse than the most avid D and D 15th level warrior/mage fluent in Elvish, Orcish and Dwarvish.  I am not preaching tolerance, rather, I would like to propose that as a society, both should be treated with the utmost disdain because they are the same animal.

Let us consider two events and their participants.  The San Diego ComicCon which is considered the Super Bowl of all ComicCons.  Other cities may host their own events, but nothing can compare to this one event where people from all over the world come to see the lates in science fiction/fantasy dressed up as their favorite characters that range from Japanese anime characters to modern television adaptations of Japanese anime characters.  And the one sporting event that brings everyone together from all over the world (mostly the United States), the Super Bowl, which is considered the San Diego ComicCon of all football games.  There are other football games, but none of them can attain the fever pitch of the once a year event of The Super Bowl.  Fans come dressed, rather, adorned in their team uniforms (I choose the word "adorned" because some fans tatoo and paint themselves in the colors of that team).  Is it becoming obvious that these are the same type of people?

Let us examine some of the similarities...

Each is extremely knowledgable about their subject.  The sports fan can recite the rosters of each team (pre-season, regular season and post-season) since inception and even if they had switched cities.  They can also explain why the 1965 incarnation of the team (although not a championship season for them) was much superior to the 1988 incarnation of that team (a championship season) adjusting for all of the rule changes in the game and the extended regular season, the dilution of talent, the impact of free agency and the extended post-season.  They will insist that in a head to head match up, the 1965 team will handedly beat the 1988 team.  The Battlestar Galactica super fan will be able to recite the constitution of the governmental system and all of its laws and amendments of the 12 planets.  Not only that, he can list all of the presidents of the 12 worlds and their major political achievements. 

Each has a sacret object (or objects, depending on their economic status).  For the sports fan, it will be a signed football from a past championship season that has all of the autographs of the players and coaches.  If it is a super fan, then he would have bribed a locker room attendant for a used towel on that championship day.  This item will be sealed in a glass case and placed in a prominent area of the home.  For the sci-fi/fantasy devotee, it will be the lightsaber that was used by Darth Vader when he struck down Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Death Star as Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie were boading the Millenium Falcon.  And if he is lucky, there would be a picture of him and George Lucas in this collection of objects.  Actually, it will technically be a picture of him and Mr. Lucas, because as George Lucas was waiting for his take out order, this fan sidled into view and a friend snapped a quick photo to record this moment in history when the fan met his god.

Each will also have built a shrine in his place of residence (that is if his place of residence is not already a shrine) to their object of worship.  This most sacred place will be filled with the sacred objects much to the envy of their friends who share the same passion and to the misfortune of all others.  With every object, the story of its signficance to the team and the adventure of how it was obtained will be unfolded before you like the gift of crisp underwear on a Christmas morning.  All will listen with mouths agape, some in wonder and awe, and others in disgust and utter disdain for the loss of 30 minutes of their lives that can never be reclaimed.

One area tha I would also like to discuss is the pageantry of the events where the individuals arrive in full regalia of their respective events.  The confidence of a person to dress in this manner with utter disregard to the lack of physical fitness is not quantifiable in humanly attainable methods.  Sports jerseys (modest ones) may be acceptable, but tattoos, body paint and other types of identifying marks cross the lines of good taste.  The same can be said of people dressed as costumed superheroes.  I am quite certain in the limited number of comic books that I have read that Superman did not have a beer gut and Wonder Woman did not have spider veins (also, I am quite sure that neither Spiderman nor Spiderwoman had spider veins).  Just for the sake of decency, please consider the rules of good taste.

Just one more comment about dressing up.  Putting on the sports uniform of your favorite quarterback will not give you the magical ability to throw touchdown passes with pinpoin accuracy, nor can you catch passes thrown at 90 miles an hour.  The same goes for comic characters, fashioning Batman's utility belt out a hardware tool belt does not make you Batman and capable of fighting crime.  A piece of paper with the bus schedule between the convention center and the basement apartment in home of your parents is not a GPS. 

I am certain that many more simliarties can be made between these types of people, but I must go back to the original question: why is society more tolerant of a sports fan than a comic book fan?  The sports fan may have partcipated in organized sports in school which give him some kind of physical development that Jedi Knight training academy or Klingon language schools may not have endowed on others.  The present society encourages the bullying of the weak by the strong.  Is there one school counselor in the world who would advise a football player that maybe he should work on his Boba Fett costume because the jet pack does not match the armor?  If it were the other way around, a school counselor would advise someone working on armor for the Society of Anachronistic Arts to play some sports. 

It has been embedded into our belief system that might is right, and that is the reason that sports fanaticism is much more tolerable and accepted than sci-fi fanaticism. 

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