The Freedom for Fun

Posted: July 24, 2010 in Culture, Rocker, Sport
Tags: , , , , , ,

In my last blog entry I explained how I get a good chuckle from streakers. And, unknown to me, as I wrote that post, such a ballsy act was swinging into action—as ballsy acts do—not far from where currently I sit. So, here is a short follow-on post—not to discuss more nudity, mind you, but, rather, stadiums.

B.C. Place Stadium

In Vancouver, The B.C. Lions play that false variant of football where an oblong “ball” is struck by an actual foot hardly at all and with about as much grace as a steroid needle plunging into buttock muscle. “The beautiful game” it ain’t, but, nevermind: as far as sports go, this one makes about as much sense as any of the others. Now, these faux wildcats normally play in a soulless concrete cavern of a stadium, on fake grass, illuminated by artificial light, beneath a glorified umbrella of a roof. An apparatus of sorts, a noise-o-meter, is employed to elicit the effects of enthusiasm (i.e. cheering noises) with none of the normal causes for such (i.e. something exciting occurring). Imagine the choreographed mass applause for Our Beloved Comrade Leader in some far off dictatorland—minus the actual Beloved Comrade Leader. Like that.

When Rudolf Rocker wrote of “the tuning of all human feeling to one note, the rejection of the rich diversity of life, the mechanical fitting of all effort to a designated pattern”, he might have been discussing a B.C. Lions game. Is it any wonder that brawls in the stands have been common? I attended a game years ago and left half way through. I heard on the radio later that “we” had won.

But the other night, from one account anyway, it appears the sorry status quo was turned on its head. The team was the same; the rules of the game hadn’t changed. But a mood of great festivity had overwhelmed the fans. Cheering happened spontaneously and naturally. Laughter rained down from the stands for the nude fellow rushing across the field. Some sang for no particular reason other than good mood, and still others stomped their feet. Hundreds built a “beer snake” from their empty plastic cups and wriggled it around the stadium. Inevitably the noise-o-meter made its ugly appearance, and fans thrashed it with their silence. What brought on this infection of good cheer, this organic sprouting of the best of human feelings? Quite simply: the venue. Gone was the cavern, changed to an outdoor arena, with real grass, a blue and white sky, wind and sun.

With a little reflection, I might wonder whether these football games say something about human nature. How do the physical surroundings affect the mood of individuals and the behaviour of crowds? Are people, when allowed to behave naturally, innately good? But maybe that is meat for another post.

By the way, the outcome of the game this particular day? The home team lost. I wonder if anyone minded?


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