Dying to be Entertained

The 2002 World Cup games rage on with energy and enthusiasm, but all is not fun and games. The murder of a Japanese student by Russians in response to losing a soccer game (committed by spectators, not players) should sound the knell of reality for us all: the world is not as it should be. This event is only one of many such violent expressions that become increasingly more common at sporting events. Some analysts have tried to link the cause of such violence to a particular mix of aggressive spectators driven by alcohol and adrenaline. The problem with such an analysis is that it misses the most rudimentary issue: humans were created to worship, but find themselves constantly disappointed in the objects of their affection.

I use the word worship with great reservation. In a post-enlightened culture stamped with the beliefs of rationalistic origins and materialistic destinies, such openly religious language threatens to offend the intelligent with inclinations of backwards thinking. But look at the openly religious language we normally use in such regards: fanatics (usually shortened to "fans") congregate in a common place of meeting, chant, sing, cheer and engage heart, mind, and body to the glorification of idolized men (or women), a deified subculture. If such an event were held in the name of Allah, it would be commonly lied worship. Why is it any different to be held in the name of "World Cup Soccer"?

So, I maintain that humans were created for worship. And, in the same way that the belly was made for food and our minds for processing and thinking, so also our hearts were created for worshiping. The aggression that grows from such sporting events has less to do with the action than with the object. Deified men are, nonetheless, human. Games, temporal moments of delight, are as the fading flower: here today, gone temporary expressions are unable to hold the weight of glory we shower upon them. Investing in them leaves us bankrupt with longing. So divested of our expectations, violence is understandable while, in no way justifiable. A heart set upon a fading glory is like the bloated belly of the malnourished forced to take nutrition from white bread.

It is not that we, in our post-enlightened state, have ceased to worship, but that us as our interests and are as the seasons. Since the beginning of our origins, humans have set themselves a heart created to worship. We have made ourselves deities of weakest order--dismissive of any sovereign but the individual, insistent upon our independence, yet ever longing for something more than we find within the scope of humanity.

Lest one reads this as a push for tradition outlets, think again. I believe chivalry is dead, the family fragmented casualty of a disposable culture, security is a myth and contentment is a fleeting joy that fades with the next commercial. Heavily, our souls groan; still there is one who calls, "Come, all who are heavy and burdened, and I will give you rest." So long as the objects of our affection do not warrant the weight of our glorious Worship, such sporting related violence will not only continue, but will increase with each passing moment of unfulfilled desire.