Continuing the “America as baseball” metaphor, it’s now time to talk about the little kid with the horrible disease who’s trying not to die before his beloved team finally wins the pennant.
As blogfather Morgan likes to point out, liBeral is just one letter away from liTeral, which is one of the things that makes interactions with them such joys. Liberals, of course, hate “sportsball” — all that toxic masculinity — and they love pointing out that your beloved Red Sox (or whoever) are just a collection of millionaire mercenaries. Somewhere in the remote past, it’s true, the guys who suited up for the Boston professional franchise were actually from Boston; today they’re from —let’s see —Venezuela, Mexico, Taiwan, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Aruba…
Nobody’s from there, and certainly nobody stays there — guys like J.J. Watt (to switch sports (and cities) for a sec) are lauded for “staying with the team that drafted him,” and that’s nice… but so is the $100 million contract he got for staying. Those obnoxious liberals have a point — the modern sports fan experience can get pretty surreal, when you find yourself cheering in April for the guy you were calling a no-talent bum when he played for the other team in October.
Sports teams know it, too, which is one of the reasons they make such a big deal about Little Timmy, Superfan — he of the chemo scarf and the wheelchair.*
I don’t want to belabor the point here, because it should be obvious — superfans like Little Timmy in a very real sense legitimize the team. Little Timmy has his favorite player, of course — and meeting him is the part of the video that will go viral — but Little Timmy won’t buy his hero’s gear if (when) he gets traded, or let go in free agency. He’ll be a Red Sox fan until the end. His favorite player will follow the money (he’s got kids, too), but though individual players come and go, the team remains. I doubt the players go out there thinking “win this one for Timmy!” — they are, after all, professionals — but the fans sure do… and the fans are what’s important.
In other words: If you’re looking for a version of legitimacy that doesn’t rely on the social contract — that doesn’t fall prey to the falsity of Blank-Slate Equalism — this is a way to do it. Little Timmy, Superfan, is for all intents and purposes a nullity. The team probably loses money on him, all things considered — that viral video cost more to produce than his parents spent on all his superfan gear, and for obvious reasons he doesn’t get down to the ballpark too often. He’s a lifelong fan, all right, but he won’t make it to the point where “lifelong fan” has any tangible return for the team. He’s not going to raise his kids to be fans, because he won’t have any. His parents, if they were fans in the first place, sure as hell won’t be after he goes.
His “value” — to be brutally instrumentalist for a moment — is entirely symbolic. The team is a better team, and everyone — players, coaches, and front office suits — are better men, because they somehow earned the superfandom of Little Timmy.
How they did it is irrelevant, since it happens all over the world. Why it happens is crucial. A “based” government, run on ruthlessly utilitarian lines by only the most HBD-aware, can work… if it has something to legitimate it. Blank-Slate Equalism, obviously, won’t do, but superfandom could. Our government is legitimate because it serves Little Timmy, but most importantly, because it’s beloved by Little Timmy.
*Please note that I’m talking more about the effect here, not the cause. While I’m sure that the suits think of the bottom line when they give Little Timmy the fan experience of a lifetime, I doubt that’s the only thing they’re thinking about — they really do want to do something nice for Timmy. And as for the players…. I don’t know any current major leaguers, but I’ve been around a lot of minor leaguers, in several different sports, and almost to a man they genuinely like their fans — especially kids. They frequently go way above and beyond (especially heartening, when you consider that so many of them are just kids themselves).