It’s Not Sports, It’s Crazy
The premise behind this commercial is that because no one is actually this committed to the sports team they root for (?), it’s okay to be committed to a sports team. Of course, it is okay to be committed to a sports team, but the truth is that there actually are people who for whom rooting for that team is more important than spending time with family, earning extra, needed money, household chores, et cetera. There actually are people who neglect these things in order to root for their team, and suffer the consequences.
It is a common characteristic of such people to down play the damage their out of order priorities cause, and this commercial provides them with yet another opportunity to do just that. Why would ESPN – in an attempt to encourage the viewing of sports on television – remind their potential viewers of this type of personality defect? Would that not back fire and cause the would-be viewers to specifically not want to watch their broadcasts?
A common defect of this culture is that in response to any problem, doing something – anything – is considered preferable to doing nothing (ie: waiting to understand exactly what the problem is, and to develop a comprehensive strategy for solving it). People are aware that in the field of psychology it is widely held that the first step to correcting a psychological problem is to acknowledge that one has a problem in the first place. Thus, people acknowledge the problem (or, more accurately, ESPN does it for them), and because they’ve done something they think it is okay to continue doing what they are doing “temporarily, until the problem is fixed.” How will it be fixed? Somehow. When? Some time. In fact, as an added layer of distortion, part of what this commercial is poking fun at is the tendency of such people to regard their partial, empty “efforts” to “fix” their problem as positive, when in fact – because it is only partial – actually contributes to their problem. It prevents them from taking the long view of their lives which an impartial observer than see.
President Obama, speaking last year about the economic crisis said the following: “Our determination to fight for the America we want for our children, even if we`re unsure exactly what that looks like, even if we don`t yet know precisely how we`re going to get there, we know we`ll get there.”
Not coincidentally, the economic crisis hasn’t subsided under his watch. It has actually worsened. The reason a man who could, in all seriousness, say such a thing and expect it to be regarded as a responsible statement is because enough people will regard it as such. Why? Because they, in their own personal lives, operate on the same nebulous principle. Obama knows this, the people know this, and ESPN knows this.