Walter Mencken 7 p.m., Dec. 10
As I was watching the Chargers beat the Redskins yesterday, with our second string guys nonetheless, I was as happy as the next guy, full of joy.
The game however didn't mean a whole lot as we know, so my mind began wandering. I began thinking of how you can learn alot about a society from the activities they revere and watch.
For instance, we have gone from the days of the Romans watching humans and lions killing each other, to modern day sports such as soccer in Latin America with it's intense nationalistic fervor, and to the U.S. with our beloved football.
If the Roman's games showed their barbarism, and the Latin Americans their national pride, what does football show about us?
It is really quite an orderly game for an inherently violent sport. So thus we allow aggression and champion it, as long as it adheres to the structure we have deemed and is done according to the rules we have set. We have penalties for breaking these rules. We praise orderliness and good sportsmanship, and condemn bad behavior with personal fouls or fines. It is not alright to step on someone's face or pull their head way around. We are a civilized audience.
Every now and then though, the calls are unfair and seemingly biased. There is still human error involved, even though we've tried to eliminate it with our playback and review system. We want the best team to win, wanting it to be fair and objective, although we are understanding that it cannot be guaranteed.
Once in a while, a good ref will make a bad call. An example would be Ed Hockuley last year losing the game for the Chargers with his whistle blow that couldn't be retracted. Charger fans had to suck it up and go on. We knew it was part of the game, even though the best team hadn't won that day.
Americans love of football shows their love of competition, security, energy, organization, aggression, compassion, and justice. Although we want our team to win badly, we still always know that it is just a game in the end. Americans afterall, really are more level-headed, adaptable, and mature than our older ancestors in the world.