SI Vault
Bonnie L. Lukes
November 05, 1979
Periodically, sociologists complain that we are becoming a nation of watchers instead of doers. "Spectator sports are undermining our society," they say. Wrong. As I and, I'd guess, most any other true fan knows, watching sports helps to keep us sane.
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November 05, 1979

One Thing Everyone Ought To Have Is A Sport She Can Call Her Own

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Sports undermining our society? Nonsense. They not only provide an acceptable outlet for our aggressions, but in a world where there is little permanence, they offer stability, constancy. As a young man said to me recently, "It's reassuring to have at least one reliable thing in my life. If a basketball game is scheduled, I know it will be played. It's not contingent on whether I've been living right or on what the stock market does."

At a time when justice often seems to elude us, we can find it in sports. If the pitcher commits a balk, the runner moves up a base. We may grumble if the pitcher is playing for our team, but deep down we feel good that the rules have prevailed.

I'm no longer a rabid baseball fan. Yet, if I'm driving and heavy traffic is making me irritable and anxious, I will search for a baseball game on the radio. The announcer may not be the Harry Caray of my youth, but he offers me that same "God's in his Heaven/All's right with the world" feeling. The words "the count is one ball and two strikes" are better than any tranquilizer.

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