The Sports Science of Stirring the Pot

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IAugust 10, 2009

So, here is a damn good question: How is it that when it comes to an implied affront to my sports or favorite teams I am reduced to a blithering Neanderthal?

Those are the guys that went extinct and did not end up being our ancestors.

What is it in the Homo sapiens' psyche that allows some of us to just lose our minds when it comes to sports?

First and foremost I would venture to say that it has to do with our social community; part of our mental link to the region where we grew up, or that in which we live and find ourselves most comfortable in our associations.

In other cases our admiration for a sport, team, or player may be strictly predicated on our personal affinity for the same. It could be attributed to our childhood pursuit of that sport, the glory and history of a team or the personal connection to a player.

The point being is there is a lot of psychology involved with the human condition and our love of sports.

In my own estimation, I am fairly educated, both formally and through life-long learning. I don’t have a degree in psychology or psychiatry. What I do have is an innate talent to stir the emotions of a sports fan's mind.

I am the self-proclaimed alchemist of sports literature.

Rather than work with chemicals in the attempt of transmutation of lead into gold, I mix and stir words in a written medium to create an atmosphere which inspires or incites a readers deep set feelings based upon his allegiances to the subject.

I draw on or denounce those allegiances in such away that the reader has little recognition of being manipulated.

In layman’s terms, I stir the pot.

Among us there are many talented amateur writers that do quite well in this art. These fellow writers would love that I announce a few of them to bring greater exposure to their work. But I must refrain at this time as their skills need honing.

The art of stirring the pot is to pose a situation in which you draw upon both appreciations and abhorrence from different sectors of your readership. The appreciation comes from those that fundamentally agree with your assertions while in the same prose you deeply offend the other segment of readers.

My primary goal is to gather those that agree close and use them to shield me from the barbs and aggressions of the other incensed readers as they furiously attempt to deride me personally.

As I weave my words, I intend to walk away unscathed.

The mask I wear is often a composite of humor, satire, and mirth with a touch of ire. It allows me to say most anything as it is posed as a joke.

If you are unable to laugh at the comedian's joke, is it the comic’s fault that you do not get the punch-line when others around you obviously do?

I tend to shy away from true math and statistics as my laziness prevents me from expending the energies needed to defend statements based on the mathematical model. Instead, I form my sentences with phrases and words meant to insult with couched opinions.

Again, as these opinions are folded into humorous observances, it is hard to attack the author directly. You see, it’s just a joke.

Self-depreciation is a component of the verbiage that is a valuable tool. In this you devalue your own worth; by doing so, it renders most verbal attacks useless in that they can say no worse about you than you already have.

On a subliminal level, the proponents of your work defend you as “just having a little fun,” whereas this only agitates the others onto further and additionally caustic retorts and a battle of words begins among the different camps through the comment threads.

As the “mix master,” you can safely reply to comments in a humorous or calm manner when needed to help the needling along. Eventually, you may even play the part of peace keeper to further confuse the ones who found your work so offensive in the first place.

It is the joy of creating sports comradeship on one side and dissension on the other.

It’s a masterful skill that I reserve for social sports settings.

For I am the Alchemist; when I “stir the pot,” I decide who or what I turn to gold and who remains on the scrap-metal heap.

The inspiration for this article came from the announcement of the new article tag, “Sports and STEM,” that has been created and promoted through the work of Dr. Giles and Leroy Watson. Although this work will not be tagged as such, I only wanted to highlight the thought that there is a tremendous amount of science in sports, whether real or imagined.