Connie Schultz had a good column in the PD the other day, entitled, "Now, can we get over LeBron James?"It was an appropriately ambivalent column. She's not a big fan, but she wrote, "The crowd is turning into mob." I'd actually planned to differ with Connie. It seemed to me the level of vitriol among sports fans wasn't as high as she suggested. But I changed my mind and decided she was right. Most of the LeBron James jokes to me seemed funny rather than mean. I (You heard of "National LeBron James Day," right? You celebrate by leaving work 12 minutes early). When I say, "I hate the Yankees," it just means I'm happy when they lose. I don't literally wish for anything bad to happen to the players or their fans. But the same day Connie's column ran, Canadian hockey fans rioted in the streets when the Vancouver team lost the NHL championship. This seemed to dent my "Sports fans aren't crazy" thesis. I also read the latest over-the-top Bill Livingston column in the PD attacking James. All of the sports columnists over there have taken shots at James, and that's fine, but for Livingston it seems to be an obsession. The latest diatribe disputes that James choked. "Whatever name you want to use for James' vulnerability, it was closer to quitting than choking," Livingston opined.
Benedict Arnold got better press. Admittedly, Arnold didn't announce on national TV that he was deserting to the British. But are we taking our sports passions a little too seriously?