Sunday, January 22, 2006

A year ago today I wrote something here I called "Snapshots of victory and defeat" where I cathartically spewed forth at length on Pittsburgh sports and big losses and (occasionally) big wins that have stuck with me. I think these games are, like Rilo Kiley said in Science vs. Romance, "those things that act as markers in your life, but in between you can't remember." As I get further away from certain times, the stark memories of the games remain as the details of my actual life fade. The '94 championship game stands in for junior year of college, the '97 game for my time in Pittsburgh after college, the '01 game for my first California time, etc. They also invoke memories of important things that may have been going on contemporaneously.

This Tuesday, my dad starts chemo; today, I'll shout myself hoarse for Kimo. It's times like this that sportscasters perform the perfunctory and apparently self-effacing gesture of saying that sports don't matter at a time like this, and that these things put sports in perspective.


What are we in life other than the things we love, the things we like, the things we do? Why should we participate in the ritual denial that those things matter? "Matter" is all relative--if you care about something, expend energy on it, and prioritize it, it matters. It's absolute value in the world in some abstract sense probably tells you how many people it matters to, or perhaps tells you about society's priorities and orientations, but the least significant thing in the world matters to the people who care about it. That's not to say that this game is more important to me than my dad's prospects in the coming months; that would be stupid. But the game doesn't matter less to me just because something else matters a whole lot more. And since the two results are wholly independent of each other, it's not like I'm making some demented Hobson's Choice by pouring my energy into cheering on the Steelers. And I don't want them to win for him; I want them to win for themselves, and for all of us fans, and what that really means is that I want them to win for me.

On Tuesday I'll start rooting for chemo; hopefully, I can also spend two more weeks cheering on Kimo.

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