This summer, I've been taking the Shooter Eldest to a handful of different stadiums. First it was Yankee, then Shea, and then Camden Yards, just to give her a sense of how things were in other places, and to give the wife a break. (Like all 8-year-olds, she is a great and tireless being.) Because I try to keep her from any potentially ugly crowd scene, this involves a lot of planning, buying tickets in alcohol-free sections when possible, avoiding strong rivalry games, and the like.
Sometimes, I think I overdo the protectiveness, but I'm not a big guy, and they are only small once, you know? It's not as if we need to go to games so badly as to risk something stupid, on top of the expense.
And then something like this comes over the wires, and you wonder if, perhaps, exposing your kids to sports isn't just out and out child abuse.
(H/t, Chicago Tribune, via Deadspin.)
McHenry County authorities say three Chicago Cubs fans face felony battery charges after allegedly beating a Chicago White Sox fan so badly he lost his right eye. The men are accused of beating 32-year-old Robert Steele of Gurnee during a 2-year-old girl's Sesame Street-themed birthday party. Police said Monday the men were drinking alcohol at the July 19th party and taunting Steele.
Normally, I'd react with the usual snarkiness to such things, and the Deadspin commenters did their usual fine work, with profane Sesame Street songs, William Ligue references and the like. But I'm more interested, for the moment, with wondering what this all means, when three men in their '30s feel that sudden and horrific violence is what's called for in the case of finding an Enemy Fan.
Does the quick dissemination of news, especially novel and stupid and bad news like this story, just mean that we hear about all of the dumb as dirt violent morons that we might not have heard about before? Or is it that stories like this help to encourage the sub-humans out there towards greater creativity in their violence... or that the Web helps these geniuses to be exposed to each other, and therefore, to hate each other more?
I'm not sure on any of it. What I am sure of is that grown men decided to throw down at a 2-year-old's birthday party, and used sports as their pathetic excuse for it.
There's a phenomenon where, when idiots enjoy something, it ruins it for you. I play Grand Theft Auto and like it a lot; I'd rather watch Fox News then play it online with a nation of fast-twitchers. It's just not something that I'm thinking I need company for, and I'm sure that if I got into a lot of conversations with other players about it, I'd like it less.
The same goes, one suspects, for sports with people who identify with it so much as to be moved towards violence... and not even violence against a referee or player, which while totally unjustifiable, at least has a glimmer of reason in the madness. No, they are ready to maim someone who, at most, irritated them with his allegiance and/or trash talk. In front of kids. Little kids.
And some part of me would be OK with their team ceasing to exist now, just because it seems like it would be the only thing that would get through their little reptilian brains, that maybe committing unjustifiable acts of violence (and no, I'm not much caring if there was liquor involved; the liquor got in the mouth without coercion, one suspects) isn't just something that gets you arrested and sued, but with any kind of civic responsibility, shunned from all human contact for, oh, most of the rest of your life.
Now, back to the puppets.