I have to agree with these guys about one thing: the Rhodes Rowdies are indeed weird. Some of them paint their faces before every game. Most of them act pretty crazy at the games. And almost all of them, including myself, block out about four hours twice a week to take part in the next chapter of the ongoing saga that is Harding basketball. So why do we do this? I’m asking because the people in the group I linked to above want to know.
This is not exactly a philosophical blog, but when a group of people decided to take a “stand” against one of my favorite pastimes, I thought it would be appropriate to examine their thoughts a bit here. I’m a Rhodes Rowdie, and I don’t appreciate the group creator’s (and some members’) generalizations about the Rowdies as a whole. If you are a member of Facebook, I encourage you to let these people know how you feel. I won’t post their contact information here, but you can find it if you follow the group link above.
For now, here are my thoughts:
I’m a sports fan and have been since I was a young boy. I never played much of anything, but I always enjoyed watching whatever I could. While there are plenty of poor role models in sports, I think that after stepping back and looking at them as a whole, it’s clear that sports represent many good things about our society. They represent an ideal of physical fitness that is fading in our sedentary society. Successful sports teams rely heavily on teamwork, goal-setting, and personal motivation toward meeting goals. The spirit of competition is another important value in our society that is modeled in sports. Sports give some people who have little else going for them a chance to excel in an area and be supported by other people. There are bad examples of all of these things, but I think sports ultimately are good.
Now, on to the fans. I think many spectators go overboard at sporting events, including some of the Rhodes Rowdies. Most of the cheers are done in good taste, though, and I would venture to say that there is not a classier group of enthusiastic sports fans (as a whole) than the Rowdies.
I see a lot of reasons for becoming a fan of the Bisons, even if they aren’t the best team, and even if it is Division II. Group creator Sam Peters sees the Rowdies as ignorant and unintelligent (“Of course, what am I saying you are a “Rowdie” so appealing to your intellect probably isn’t the best strategy.” -Peters, on the Facebook group discussion board), and he sees the Rowdies’ time spent as a waste. I would now like to refute those ideas.
First, let’s tackle the issue of time spent. Clearly, I spend a fair amount of time attending the games and breaking them down on this site, so I don’t see it as a waste of time. As I’ve explained, I’m quite into sports, and I think they have many redeeming aspects. The crowd makes the game a fun experience, especially if the team is playing well. It’s a valuable social event, just like attending a musical (which, I might add, takes a lot of time to produce). Leisure time is important in maintaining a well-balanced attitude, and this is a far better way to spend that time than many others that people choose. As a sports nut, it’s a lot of fun for me. It’s occasionally stimulating intellectually, and it’s always stimulating socially. The fans also provide a high level of support for the players, which I think also constitutes a productive use of time. While I don’t understand why the level of support for men’s basketball doesn’t carry over to most of the other sports, that’s irrelevant for this discussion.
Next, let’s look at ignorance and intelligence. I’m not the most intelligent guy around, and I’m ignorant of some things, but I consider myself to be a thoughtful and reasonable person. If you want to appeal to my intellect, I’m more than up to the challenge, and I think many of the other Rowdies would be as well. Some would not, but that’s true of any group of that size. Ignorance, on the other hand, is an incomplete argument, unless you’re assuming that Rowdies are ignorant of everything. Ignorant of what? World hunger? Politics? If you’re arguing that we’re ignorant of better ways to spend our time, I’ve already addressed that issue. Otherwise, I’m not sure what you’re saying.
Sam, I must say that I really enjoy reading your Xanga, which is why I’m linking it. We would be much better off as a group if everyone’s writing was half as thoughtful as yours usually is. I just think you’re off-base a bit on this one. My guess is that you’re only mildly annoyed by the Rowdies, and the ones that annoy you are probably the same ones that annoy me (the ones who cross the proverbial line). Still, I consider myself a Rowdie, and I can’t let the comments on your group’s message board go unanswered. So here you go. I appreciate any and all responses, whether you’re a member of that group, a Rowdie, or an outside observer. As Sam said, education is the cure for ignorance.