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Monday, September 20, 2010

Funny Clothing is Funny Clothing: Fantasy Games are Fantasy Games

It's that time of year again: when people start talking a language I do not understand and dressing funny.

That's right: it's football season (note: this also happens during baseball season).

Professional sports intrigue me in a way that nothing else does. They do so in that I completely, totally and utterly fail to understand why people are so fascinated and entrenched in sports. To me sports always have been and always will be something to play: not something to watch. I fail to understand people who rotate their lives around watching sports and are willing to bet money on sports, etc.

Sports, to me, simply equal games. Games are fun; for playing. I would be just as entertained watching a slow and boring chess match between two bad chess players as I am watching (what I am told is) a fantastic and exciting football/baseball/basketball/etc game. They are all equally boring. I would MUCH rather watch TV or read a book or jut plain work.

As a geek I do understand ONE aspect of the fanaticism of hardcore sports fans: the funny clothes.
I am happy to wear a themed set of clothing to a movie opening. I am happy to go to a fantasy or science fiction convention in costume. I am happy on Halloween. I like costuming. I like getting the opportunity to, for a short time, carry the visage of something other than what I am. I get it. Wearing a football or baseball jersey carries the same level of interest that a Starfleet uniform does to a Star Trek fan.

Here's the divergence: when someone chooses to wear a RedSox or Giants or Mets or Lakers jersey out during their normal daily lives NO ONE NOTICES. No one pays attention. No one makes any note of it. People think of that as normal.

Inversely, if one wears a Starfleet uniform or Jedi robes, or your Hogwart's regalia out for an average afternoon then the limits of what the average passers-by will say (or sometimes do) about/to you know no bounds.

This has, and always will, fascinate me.

Why is it that one group of people who will wear abnormal clothing representing a group or organization that they will NEVER be a part of is more tolerated than another group? Why is it that society, as a whole, will not simply tolerate that behavior from one group but actively ignore how weird it really is?

Lets take a quick look at some of the similarities between the two groups:
1. Some members dress funny because it pleases them to do so.
2. Some members spend far too much time/energy/money on their passion.
3. Most members find a sense of community with the other members.
4. The more extreme members may apply face/body paint to further enhance point 1.
5. Many members are dissapointed if they miss newly released media from/about their passion.
6. Many members will travel great distances to partake in their preferred activities.

Yet, one group is considered normal and all of the other groups are not.

This is something I wish I could point out, directly, to ALL sports fans who are intolerant of other interests. OUR passion is no weirder than theirs. Our behavior is no weirder than theirs. The only truly weird part about it is why theirs is so tolerated by society when ours is not.

We've got role-playing games where we develop fantasy teams of great and mighty people who accomplish great feats - Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun, etc.

So do the sports fans. They call is Fantasy Football (of baseball).

So, I'll leave on this note:

Fantasy Football = Dungeons & Dragons

It's time society began treating them as equals.

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