Sep. 25th, 2012

My tweets

Sep. 25th, 2012 12:00 pm
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"It's just a game! Get over it."

That's a statement I've seen a lot on facebook and twitter lately and all directed at the anger and outrage that came from last night's Monday Night Football debacle. The implication is that the people who are posting and ranting are over-reacting (at best) or crazily-obsessed (at worst). The thought behind it being that people shouldn't care about the injustice or the outright errors because it's just a game.

But that's wrong thinking. In fact, I think that's exactly why the anger and outrage is justified -- because it is just a game. It is a game. It has rules and standards and everyone can know what they are. There are people who are set among the players to insure that those rules and standards are followed. That is the whole point of a game.

This isn't life where there are no rules, where the goals are nebulous and no one is watching out to make sure that everything is fair and open. This isn't politics where everyone comes to their own conclusions and there is no right way to think. This is a game.

This is our childhood. This is where we knew right and wrong because it was clearly written in black and white and, by agreeing to play the game, everyone was part of the same controlled, equitable game universe. When the rules of that universe were broken (by accident or design), that could be fixed. There were do-over's and penalties and justice.

In the end -- win or lose -- the players were satisfied because the game was the point. Victory was sweet, defeat was bitter, but everyone won or lost by the same rules. The result was determined by skill or luck according to the rules of the game. It's the point of a game, it's the bond of trust that is the necessary foundation of any game.

Last night that bond was broken. The refs made an obviously wrong call. Given a chance to fix the error, they chose not to. Today the NFL magnified that error by refusing to even acknowledge it. Basically the NFL said "Screw the rules, there is no accountability."

They broke the trust needed to make the game work. The outrage is justified. The next time the players set foot on the field, the next time a fan turns in to watch a game -- there are no rules. It doesn't matter how the players play or what the rules are, it only matters what the refs decide to do. What's the point if there are no rules? What's the point if there is no accountability?

Those rules, that accountability? That's the whole purpose of a game. Those are the things we can control. Those are the things that make it right and fun. Those are the things that are controllable and fixable. It's what distinguishes games from "real life".

Yes, it's just a game. And, damn it, that's the whole point.

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