College football season is here! Enthusiastic fans abound!!
In his 1908 Harvard Illustrated essay “Football and Ideals,” the philosopher Josiah Royce demanded of fans, “What does this enthusiasm make you do?” Although Royce’s contemporaries extolled the values that football supposedly taught, the way fans behaved once they left the stadium made him deeply suspicious of such claims. “These players are setting you the example of loyalty. They risk their bodies, they devote their toil, they suffer and endure — for their cause,” Royce wrote. “But on the whole [football’s] prevailing influence will have been to enervate you, the spectator, to make you less, not more loyal, for all your cheering. For you have gloated over the sacrifice of others, and yourself have sacrificed, and intend to sacrifice — nothing.”
Where I grew up football was everything. I dropped a pass in one game that could have led to a win. I feared for my life.
Interesting piece from “The Stone” here.