regional demographics as they apply to T-shirt sales? A rich man’s vanity? Yep. So it’s goodbye SuperSonics. Of course, teams don’t have to move or dissolve or go bankrupt to suck the air out of their fans’ lungs. There are 1,001 ways for your favorite team to grind your miserable little heart into dust, from filling the roster with steroid users to coming in dead last year after year after year. Or take the Italian soccer team Lazio, whose one-time star player, Paolo Di Canio, was caught on tape throwing up fascist hand salutes after scoring a goal. I’m sorry, fascist hand salutes? Are you telling me that if I just happen to have been born in the Lazio region of Italy, just happen to have been raised by a soccerloving father and mother, just happen to have fallen in love with the game and the shape of the ball and the local team and their colors and their history, that I am requiredaccording to the unwritten laws of sports-fan loyaltyto stick by that team even after finding out that their star player is a fascist? I don’t care if you can dribble the length of a soccer field with your eyes closed and score a goal while lying on the ground eating a bowl of sour cream and reciting the Gettysburg Address backwards: If you admire Mussolini, I’m not going to cheer your name or put your poster on my wall, and I’m definitely not going to let your successes and failures determine whether I’m having a good week. POETRY I JANICE ROSE BLOUNT’S CREEK ROAD for Gerald Stern Car wheels split open the opossum, thrust her to the side of the road. Her belly burst to the furnace blast of summer’s mid-day. Four tiny, pink fetuses with closed-slit eyes twitch upraised limbs toward sky and back to grass-ribboned sand. We had no incubators, or boxes. Doll-sized baby bottles lined toy shelves in the city… cold milk back home in the fridge. For one secluded second, we imagined ourselves heroes. Then, in 2004, the strangest thing happened. The curse broke, the Sox won the series, and all that loyalty was paid back a million-fold. Sweet vindication arrived for all those children of 1918, who had waited, and waited, and waited for that glorious day with such devotion. Dedicated Sox fans were proven right; a cynical world, with its twisted priorities, was proven wrong. Even in those early, happy days after game four, though, you could sense a faint dark lining around those blue skies. “Now what?” the baseball gods seemed to ask Sox fans. “Who are you if you aren’t the tragic figures you’ve always prided yourselves on being? What is the point of being a Red Sox fan if you’re don’t exist in a constant state of mythical commiseration? Who are you now that you won?” Answer: No one. Red Sox fans will say this isn’t true, but I’ve seen that look in my friends’ eyes. The fire has been snuffed out; the love and devotion are gone. They traded the singular, soulful joy of tragic, even divine, victimhood for the empty blandness of victory. They traded poetry for prose. Correction: Their team traded poetry for prose. And, as a consequence, their fans’ lives are a little bit darker, a little drearier, a little less meaningful. And they’ll continue to be that wayno matter how many rings they win. Teams, you see, will find the cleverest ways to screw you. Just a friendly word of warning to my neighbors in orange. Josh Rosenblatt is a freelance arts writer and critic living in Austin. 0 r take Boston Red Sox fans, those fleece-vested romantics. I went to school in Connecticut, so every fall I saw firsthand the consequences of the 2 maniacal devotion that defined Red Sox Nation. Every year I saw good friends get their hearts broken because they were silly enough not just to believe the Red Sox might win the World Series, but to care if they won the World Series. Sure enough, every year \(just like the 8o or so out, and for days after I’d see nothing but discarded team jackets thrown despondently into corners, and the bitter, dejected looks of lifelong fans dumb enough to have been hoodwinked again. JANICE ROSE is a published poet in Concho River Review, New Texas ’95, New Texas 2001, Venue, Global Peace…from Vision to Reality, FORCES, and her chapbook, Magnolia Moon, Texas Sage. She lives in The Colony, Texas. SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 TEXASOBSERVER.ORG 31
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