I root for the bad guys. Since I’ve known what baseball and football were I’ve rooted for the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys for different reasons. I’ve been a fan for wins and championships in the nineteen-nineties, I’ve been an even more loyal fan when the Cowboys couldn’t win a playoff game and when the Yankees could build a winner but not a contender. As a child I held a simple, blind loyalty to these teams, but as an adult with a deeper understanding of sports and the world, I began to understand why I continued to support these teams with ticket sales, concessions, and simply my free time and attention: I am attracted to winners.
Yes, I know that I’ve already stated that these teams don’t always win. There is though a culture of winning within these two teams. Because of past glory, winning is cultivated, expected, and many times bought to simply live up to the air of excellence that hovers over these two franchises.
Some who watch sports will tell you that these two teams have the most fans, that those fans are obnoxious about both winning and losing. Others will acknowledge that these teams have the most individuals who seriously dislike these teams and tend to root against them more than they root for any one team. Both statements can be seen as truthful.
My contention is that those who like these teams or simply respect the “win-at-any-cost” mentality are comfortable with the notion that those who seek excellence should be rewarded. So if you see me in a sports bar on a Sunday (sipping a water and eating a salad of course) yelling at a television screen like a maniac because the Cowboys have given a less-than-stellar effort, it is really because it is the elitist culture losing to a culture of mediocrity and parity and acceptance of all which is what sports is slowly becoming about.
Professional sports are here as examples of highly-disciplined athletes competing at the highest levels that should inspire us to bring the same level of importance to the things we do. Those who don’t agree, or who have created a society where being better at anything is unimportant when compared to seeking personal pleasure, will root against the teams who try harder, who pay more, or have the more good-looking, athletic athletes. That segment of the population roots for the “Regular Joe” because they look and play more like they might. Athletics is the only profession where the ignorant root against the best simply because expecting to win makes an athlete seem arrogant. You’d be proud to say your dentist or Starbucks barista is the best on earth at what they do. Even if they market their services based on their ability. Lebron James though is arrogant. Tom Brady is arrogant. Alex Rodriguez is arrogant. Your personal trainer is…
What does it have to do with fitness?
Being a regular Joe gets you life’s simple pleasures like a loving family, a job you can do until you die without merit, and a bunch of memories and outings that someone else’s mind created like nights at the movies and the underdog team you root for finally winning. It also allows a person to eliminate the notion of real self-importance very early in life, replacing it with things of material and societal importance that masquerade as things of self-importance and taking value away from the physical body. Because success in our society is reserved for those who actually want it and don’t simply want to observe, hate, or admire it, many individuals mistake the expectation of success in others for arrogance. The person with more money, or the nicer car or the better body? They are wrong for having things that others are too “regular” to have, and are obviously flaunting those things. I encounter far too many individuals in my work who would rather stay regular than look the way they’ve always dreamed. Elevating their level of discipline and achieving fitness success would, in their minds make them too much like those whom they despise, those who put success and winning before all else.
The New York Yankees have created a constant, yearly storm of expectations. It is almost unhealthy for a fan base to expect championships when other fan bases simply expect wins. Could the Yankees generate the same sort of revenue without the air of elitism? I seriously doubt it. Sometimes unrealistic expectations have cause the Yankees to operate like the old woman who once had a great body but now does artificial things to maintain her confidence. Artificial is still artificial. If regular Joes hate the elite for doing artificial things to keep up appearances, then they have a right, but when the aim is winning and those wins come fairly and fundamentally, no one should hate the result. When those who are regular do artificial things to appear like the elite, the elite should be allowed to hate them back equally.