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shellyinseattle and I were invited out to a ball game last night, up in one of the private suites. It was a game against the Anaheim Angels, and the Mariners fared only moderately well. Final score, 10-7, Angels win.

But that didn't matter. I was just enjoying the heck out of the game; Ichiro's speed to beat the throw to first, the power of Boone and Martinez at the plate, and yes, even the debacle of a botched play at home. Watching a sport live in a big stadium like Safeco with a big crowd is a public spectacle that generates its own momentum.

The strangest watching-the-crowd moments came in the pre-game activities. Yesterday was the "Salute to Armed Forces Night", with a full complement of troops on the field, a color guard, a rifle drill team, some rear admirals and AF generals handing out awards, a flag so big they had to unfold it in center field, and the national anthem sung by the "Voices of McChord AFB". I didn't mind seeing the troops get their moment in the sun, and nothing succeeds like excess. But it was faintly ridiculous at a ball game. I mean, the only things missing were review of the troops by the mayor, and a flyover by some fighter planes.

Now, in überliberal Seattle, this homage to the military was a little odd, but I was struck by the fact that it happened here at all. The words "Iraq" and "Afghanistan" did not come up, of course, but the stock of the military has definitely risen in the last few years.

I kept wondering whether they'd do the same in tiny upper-crust Wrigley Field, or in Athens in August, or in the Roman Colosseum centuries ago. Have sports and militarism always been this intertwined?


( 2 sutras — Your wisdom )
Apr. 8th, 2004 12:10 pm (UTC)
i don't think they are necessarily entertwined, but it is very common for military and ex-military to be sports fans... they love physical competition quite commonly... also, it is good for military morale for them to attend events like a baseball game and it seems only logical at that point to cross promote at that point to me... this may be an opinion born of being in a highly military friendly state like texas most of my life, but i thought it was just fine...
Apr. 9th, 2004 08:59 am (UTC)
Sounds like you had a great time - U R closer to the field in the bleachers at Wrigley, though - "Because Bleacher Fans are the Best Fans in the World....!"

Actually, we have the flyovers at Wrigley, as well as the big flag...but then again we also have the racing lawnmowers/vacuum cleaners/video races on the big screen....so who are we to talk?

As far as your deeper question, I think they are both rooted deep in the same portion of the hunter-gatherer psyche - beating the competition, ensuring your women and food sources (bleacher babes and hot dogs?) from the enemy....and wasn't the idea behind the modern Olympics (1896) that the world's nations could "count coup" without firing a shot? An idea that seemed to hold up until Munich and Atlanta.....
( 2 sutras — Your wisdom )

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