March Madness is nice, but it’s really infuriating to see fans and countries display mean-spirited arrogance – The South Dakota Standard
We looked at some of march madness. There are certainly great games, very competitive with talented players. But I decided that the tag “madness” comes from certain scenes (like the one in the David J. Phillip/Associated Press photo above, posted on bleacherreport.com) I saw when the camera scans the crowds. The fans are having a blast and unloading almost as much energy as the players.
There’s a custom of fan “madness” that has always bothered me. That’s when they sing “ball of air, ball of air,” when a player completely misses the basket. Since the best I could do in high school was a third team basketball, created just for those of us who weren’t good enough to make it through college or junior college but who wanted to play in a team, I fired some air balls, just like my teammates. .
Some games would have seen a lot of insane chanting. But since we played mostly in pint-sized gymnasiums in small towns with spectators mostly stuck on a stage, the fans really enjoyed it when the airballs bounced around their territory.
Still, “air ball, air ball” feels like selfish bullying, as if the singers are somehow superior to the player who just got humiliated on the floor. Their goal is to make the missed basket an unrelenting memory to haunt the person for the rest of the game. rather than feeling compassion and in turn exercising some humility; like they would never shoot a ball of air.
An even more disturbing chant is the one you often hear at international sports competitions, when the crowd starts chanting “USA, USA”. When most coaches encourage their teams to show good sportsmanship, express positivity and encouragement to other members of the team they just defeated, it seems disrespectful for the crowd to be so obviously self-righteous.
I remember a scene in a bar in a European country where Americans were chanting hoarsely “USA, USA”, while the people of the host country present just watched in disbelief.
I made up this word USian. When people in our country say they are “American”, they do not mean Canadians, Mexicans, Hondurans or Brazilians. We are so selfish, so caught up in our own mythological greatness, that we don’t recognize that we are only a part of the Americas; with North Americans, Central Americans and South Americans. When I use Americans in conversation with other non-American Americans, it always brings a smile to their face.
It is important to recognize how the rest of the world sees us. There are several incidents from my travels in India which have been instructive. Most had to do with our image as a dollar sign. Sometimes I felt like that; a walking and talking dollar sign. It wasn’t just beggars.
It was the crowd encouraging a cobbler on the street to cheat on me, while he was fixing my flip-flop. She was the woman who threw coins and swore at us as we sat in our charter bus, apparently before anyone could throw coins at her through the window, an experience from her past.
I’m not talking about being proud of your country. It has its place. I am talking about a nationalism with appropriate responsibility and humility. The United States is not a gift from God to the world. How appalled we are by destruction in Ukrainewe must remember the three countries we have helped destroy over the past two decades: Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. As we decry China’s spheres of influence, we must remember our 800 military bases in some 70 countries around the world.
A recent christian century article recounts how “Putin’s problem with Ukraine is about religion as much as politics”. Part of his justification for invading Ukraine, Putin said, was to win back Orthodox churches that had left the Moscow Patriarchate.
In 2018, Kyiv became the center of a new Orthodox Church Patriarchate, with the Ukrainian cry “One army, one church, one people”. It didn’t do the head of the Moscow Patriarchate, close friend of President Putinor Putin, happy!
We are worried about this kind of Christian nationalismwhether in Russia, Ukraine or the United States, I read on The Patriot Church in Lenoir City, TN. They have an American flag painted on the roof of their church. They sent a good number of members to the January 6, 2021 riot in Washington, D.C.
A member appears representative of the congregation with an American flag lapel pin inside a cross. They believe that the United States is a “Christian” nation. Reverend Ken Peters says, “Don’t let the mainstream media or the left tell you we weren’t a Christian nation. Do you know why there are churches everywhere and not mosques? Because we are a Christian nation!
If people really want to use the Bible as a guide to life, it will not recommend Christian nationalism. If people really want to live the values of the Bible, they should be sure to read the 27 direct references to humility, beginning with Matthew 23:11-12. “The greatest of you will be your servant. He who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Or we could try Proverbs 11:2. “When comes pride, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Carl Kline of Brookings is a clergy member of the United Church of Christ and an adjunct faculty member at the Mt. Marty College campus in Watertown. He is a founder and planning committee member of the Brookings Interfaith Council, co-founder of Nonviolent Alternatives, a small non-profit organization that for 15 years has provided cross-cultural experiences with the Lakota/Dakota peoples of the North Plains. and caused conflict. peer resolution and mediation programs in area schools. He was one of the first participants in the development of Peace Brigades International. Kline can be reached at [email protected]. This column originally appeared in the Brookings Register.