Today, while carefully splitting my time between the Pendulum and ESPN, I was excitedly sitting through Baseball Tonight’s analysis of the American League East. Buster Olney examined the Yankees spending spree, the depth of the Red Sox’s pitching staff, the immense talent of the Rays and the sudden downward spiral of the Blue Jay’s rotation. Then the Orioles came on and garnered around thirty seconds of completely negative coverage.
Immediately, I was mildly offended for absolutely no good reason. The Orioles will be a horrendous team this year, no amount of offense will make up for their two starting pitchers and lack of any middle relief whatsoever. They won’t make a run at the playoffs, and the most exciting element of their team, catcher Matt Wieters, is starting the season in AAA.
Yet there I was, the stereotypical guy miffed about his team receiving a snub. But if people are going to do anything consistently, they’ll attach themselves to symbols.
Like Jesus, the American flag and Batman, people will aspire to be a part of something greater. Notice that the key point there is “a part of” as opposed to simply “be.” It’s much easier to be a fan of the Orioles than to play on the team, following a prophet or a leader is simpler than becoming one and I don’t think anyone will argue that reading Batman comic books is a less realistic alternative to running through the streets in armored spandex and bopping murderers in the night.
By inserting personal attachment into figureheads and symbols, we become something greater then ourselves by association, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The atheists out there will guffaw about how those symbol-dependent religious nuts are feeble minded, but plenty of atheists approach atheism with the same mindless devotion and fervor of the Puritanical ravers they rant about.
Rather, it’s a nature’s way of coping with mediocrity. Eventually there reaches a point when every one of us have to realize we aren’t the best at everything (well, most of us come to this realization, some still linger in a stew of pretentious ignorance) and to bring ourselves out of the self-loathing that can follow, we jump onto successful or indulgently unsuccessful bandwagons where as a congregation we can achieve greatness.
And how can we achieve the greatest success? By becoming acolytes of the Pendulum Opinions blog.