The Enlightenment era is arguably the greatest achievement of Western thought. Such figures as Spinoza,Hume,Kant and Jefferson established that rational thought should be the basis for all authority and sought to move away from a past of superstition and irrationality. It was the movement that gave birth to the freedoms that we enjoy today.
So why is it that when it comes to sports so many of us behave like some ancient Egyptian farmer sacrificing a goat to ensure a better harvest? Even the most cursory glance through MLBlogs will reveal dozens of baseball fans who believe that their simple attendance at a game will influence the result; "If I go we are sure to lose" could become the new unofficial tag line for these blogs. Of course, people are pre-determined to see patterns where none such exist (that’s why the Virgin Mary keeps appearing in so many peoples toast) it’s an evolutionary useful tool, but this belief that a single individual can influence events in this way is bordering on a God complex.
And yet…..I wish that I could say that I myself were immune to these urges. Let me get this straight, away from the sporting arena I am rational atheist who is only to keen to mock and deride other people’s religious beliefs (although I do have a very Catholic taste in music) but when it comes to sports I might as well strap that goat to the altar because there is going to be a blood letting.
Essentially when a crucial pitch or play is about to be made I develop a series of ticks and twitches that make my closest neighbors think that am I experiencing either a seizure or some severe anaphylactic shock. I won’t go into the details but lately the sequence has ended with me (for some bizarre reason) giving my right shoulder a kiss. I must add that this is not in some onanistic h**o-erotic way.Oh no, when I kiss my own shoulder I do it in a manly way that I secretly suspect women find very attractive. The strange thing is that it actually works.100% of the time.Well, maybe not 100% but a lot of the time.Some of the time. But just think how bad things would be if I didn’t perform my rituals.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you are all idiots with your petty superstitions whilst I can genuinely influence events or in other words, my God is better than yours, (which I think accurately sums up the last 5000 years of religious thinking).