In his commencement speech at Kenyon College, the late writer David Foster Wallace put forth the theory that the true value of a college education is that it teaches you how to exercise the most basic freedom of all: the freedom to "consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn't."
Wallace gives examples of the times in the average, everyday life of an American adult in our era when this is an incredibly difficult thing to do. One that's especially near and dear to my heart, as someone who commutes about 70 miles a day, is sitting in traffic. Wallace's point is that "traffic" is one way to look at it - but all of those cars also contain other people, people also trying to go places just like we are. It's how you choose to see them that makes them an annoyance or a fellow traveler.
I doubt I need to explain the "traffic" equivalent in sports. We've all rolled our eyes at the eight millionth story on the personality of the moment, complained that we shouldn't be forced to watch two teams from the other side of the country that we don't care about just because they've won a bunch of championships recently, or tweeted about the ridiculous thing someone on a call-in show said.
For Wallace, it's not that you are a "better" person if you don't curse at that driver who CANNOT MERGE onto the highway (good thing, or I'd give up now) and you just cherish your time in the supermarket checkout line every week - it's that those types of moments are so pervasive that how you choose to spend them, how you choose to use your brain, dictates the course of your life. Why wouldn't you choose to spend that time, that energy in the most fulfilling way possible? To me, the sports corollary is easy: why would you spend your time and energy in the way that exists to make someone (else) the most money, just because it seems like there's no alternative?
In my mind, then, TMM is all of us helping each other avoid the too-easy path down the road of sportz. To do that we need to see for ourselves what's happening, and we need the context to understand it; that's why we go to the games, and we write about them. If your sports life is mostly lived via a screen - and that's probably true for most of us - then let TMM serve as your reminder that it's always worth it to GO. If you can't go tonight, another one of us is out there - and when you do go, we'll be waiting here to learn from you.
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