Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Perhaps sports fans have not taken an anti-establishment stand because Sports Rooting, as an institution, indulges our primal indolence. Enjoying a sports contest is inextricably linked with sitting—on a couch, in a bleacher, in the stands, in the grandstand, on an inflatable seat cushion. “Spectating” and “Rooting” share a referent: lazy boys in Lay-Z-Boys.
In response to a previous post's conviction that fans are being priced out by sports franchises, a reader named "Pete Rose" offered the following proposal:
“Good point. My friends and I came to a similar realization a while back. We did not decide to strike but wanted to create a big FU, by that I mean a fan union. As you mentioned the players have done it. The highest paying outdoor job in the country is baseball player, because the players union for baseball is not only one of the strongest unions in sports, it is one of the strongest unions in America. A large fan union would give some power to the fans, they would be able to have some leverage and barging power in terms of the price of tickets and merchandise.”
To which we say: Good point. The FU (an all-time acronym) would transfer some leverage to professional sports’ consumer sector, which would potentially affect a seismic reduction in the cost of fandom. Given that we, the fans, inexplicably remain at the mercy of everyone else’s avarice, it only follows that we exercise a little frugality and organization.
However, the rub lies in the axiom cited above: sports fans are shiftless. To be any other way is almost antithetical to being a fan. The most active role a fan serves is maintaining the integrity of The Wave. Some fans took another step, though, and created We The Fans, which advertises as “The Official Sports Fan Union.” Its tag line announces, “Activism For The Rights & Demands Of Sports Fans Since March 8, 1999.”
Its raison d’etre, the site professes, is combating the exploitative owners and overpaid players with a well-oiled fan coalition. We The Fans pleads with the public to form “A union to fight the MADNESS of the outrageous concession prices, the outlandish cost of tickets, the ‘obscenely overpaid,’ ‘team mentality-challenged,’ ‘psuedo-entertainers,’ playing A GAME in an arena or stadium that increased OUR taxes! The MADNESS must stop! The ONLY WAY it will be stopped is by YOU.”
Noble, indeed, but for how long did We The Fans exist? It’s hard to say, but the website for this underclass uprising was last updated on October 1, 1999—less than seven months after it formed. It seems that even the most motivated of us, the ones sufficiently outraged to build a website, devolved back into inactivity after just over half a year.
Seems like we’ll be overpaying for beer for a while yet.
Stay Slothful, FU