I avidly followed professional sports once upon a time — especially cricket. I ‘liked/adored/followed’ teams, players: their style, etc.
And then philosophical interests kicked in and I began questioning the essence of my so-called passion for sports. I found ignorance and vulgarity down there so I resisted and stopped!
India’s ‘festival’ of celebration of their ‘religion’ called IPL (Indian Premier League) is on these days.
Since I am from South Asia and we have this inherent tendency to compete (psychologically at least) with each other in things that we or some of us value — cricket happens to be in my blood (at least that’s what they try to convince us of). So I decided to let the blood flow freely and follow cricket passionately again.
I selected a team I thought I should like and I have been watching matches on TV, following analysis, news/gossip on the internet and also: thinking about the game. All this after a long-long hiatus.
One major change that has occured to me since this bloody-renaissance is this: I feel satisfied! I have a ‘good’ feeling going on.
There’s this massive wave of wind sort of thing inside my chest and it fills me up every time I think/see/hear of the league and when the team or the player of my choice does well. I then enter the internet and drink in each and every praise delivered for the team or the player(s). The wind drives me to do that. The more I drink, the more pumped I get. Once again, that lump/pump whatever of wind has made me feel complete.
On the other hand, if the team or the player doesn’t do well, I get agitated. A strange dissatisfaction lurks underneath as I constantly find myself not just roaming around the internet trying to justify their excellence but also imagining and playing out scenarios inside my own head. If the success of my choice fills me with a wind kind of thing, their failure fills me up with a stinky gas sort of gas.
Strangely however, irrespective of their success and failure: a general ‘good-feeling’ is inside me its thought form is as follows:
Tonight there’s a match, I will watch.
There’s a match, let’s see what they’re saying.
This is one strange drive for going through the day happily. I didn’t have such drives for a long time.
As I try to interpret the various elements present in this festival that may have been responsible for my changes, I find the following:
- Support for a team or player(s): Their success winding and failure gasing me.
- Competitive context: The tournament structure, the number of teams and players, the various possible scenarios, stakes mixed with my personal preferences with hearing/seeing what I prefer exciting me and hearing/seeing what I don’t prefer frustrating me.
- Aesthetic(?): The jerseys, the style, the video quality creating a kind of attraction and excitement.
- The Sheepiness: The number of people following this crazy nuance! Their sheer quantity providing me with justification to be-there and providing me with moral assurance.
The Zone: Everything above taking me to a zone of sorts where cricket and its context becoming an end-in-itself and the most important thing in existence. This generating assurance and warmth.
As I mentioned above, what I have noticed in me is this flapping of excitement-frustration (wind-gas).
Now, this research here lists these as categories of emotions present in humans:
admiration, adoration, aesthetic appreciation, amusement, anger, anxiety, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, craving, disgust, empathic pain, entrancement, excitement, fear, horror, interest, joy, nostalgia, relief, romance, sadness, satisfaction, sexual desire and surprise.
I do not want to get into detail and analyze these. Adding frustration, for my current pursuit, I guess accepting these to be enough is enough!
While following the league, these are the emotions I have noticed in me (in a strictly cricket-following context, I am trying my best not to include the carried over emotions of my life affairs):
admiration, amusement, anger, anxiety, craving, excitement, frustration, interest, joy, relief, satisfaction, surprise.
Admiration, excitement, relief, surprise= Wind
Anger, frustration, Anxiety = Gas
Amusement, Joy, Satisfaction = GENERAL GOOD FEELING.
Craving, Anxiety, Interest = Lure
These are the emotions I haven’t noticed in me:
adoration, aesthetic appreciation, awe, awkwardness, boredom, calmness, confusion, disgust, empathic pain, entrancement, fear, horror, nostalgia, romance, sadness, sexual desire.
That’s 12: 16 out of 28.
I do understand how people might find the emotions absent in me available in them in this cricket context. Some might have sexual, romantic interest towards some player or even umpires.
But isn’t it strange that some people find this cricket thing to be aesthetically pleasing, awe-some, horrorful, romantic?
I mean, this here is van Gogh’s work and van Gogh works with aesthetical things:
And this here is cricket:
Now this is what German Philosopher Immanuel Kant said generated awe in him:
Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me — Translated by Lewis White Beck
Similarly, normal people associate things such as death and ghosts with horror; nature, relationships with romance.
But won’t it be strange if people find this cricket thing to be aesthetically pleasing, awe-some, horrorful, romantic?
Following leagues and tournaments such as the IPL takes one to a zone. The zone stands independent of normal reality and its weltanschauung is that the league is an end-in-itself and everything else in existence is a means to the league and its success.
Inside the zone, there are preferences and those preferences generate certain emotions. Limited but nonetheless. Regarding emotions, there maybe two scenarios:
- The zone does not contain all emotions of life: My case.
- The zone contains all emotions of life: Some cases perhaps.
In the second scenario, isn’t it crazy that something like sports can generate diverse emotions in its consumers? This task is generally limited to arts and life. Come tomorrow with more and more resources, such sports might enhance the experience for its fanatics to such an extent that people will begin to say, romantically align with its players and love them if the players justify their ‘love’ by performing as they want to OR that people will begin to get petrified and afraid if their players do not justify their interest by performing as they want! (Some call cricket a religion in India.)
Now, this I find both weird and scary!
But do you know what I find weirder and scarier? — Case like mine (1) where while such sports aren’t providing me with a complete range of emotions, yet I am spending all of my time not just consuming but also musing them!
There may be a lot of people who follow sports just for a light escape or a switch-off, in which case these sports do no harm at all. They are games and that’s it. Maybe you read/watch a Shakespeare play; live life to the fullest and come to these leagues without taking it seriously. That’s great! But what if you live in the zone so much that you stop caring about feeling the full range of emotions and merely live within the wind-gas?
I mean that’s what capitalist culture with solid support from the scientific mentality is all about isn’t it? Take social media notifications and modern comical superhero movies for instance.