Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review May 8, 2003 / 6 Iyar 5763

Bill Tammeus

Bill Tammeus
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Mustering robust   — if apathetic   — cheers

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | BALTIMORE I am in seat 21 in row BB of Section 384 in the left-field upper deck here at Oriole Park at Camden Yard and, frankly, my dear, I don't give a crab cake who wins tonight's baseball game.

Which may make you wonder why I'm here at all. Well, wonder away. I don't need to disclose all my secrets. I'm just here.

The Baltimore Orioles are playing the Chicago White Sox. Those teams rank near the bottom of my passion scale, even though I love almost any baseball game.

The question thus forced upon me is how I can cheer in a way that respects the role of being a fan (which, remember, is short for fanatic) and yet allows me to be true to my deeply felt apathy for the teams engaged in this alleged struggle.

Perhaps you, too, have found yourself in this or an analogous situation - say, attending the wedding of two people you hardly know or the funeral of a man you've never met. Maybe the creative way I'm dealing with my time at the Baltimore ballyard will help you through your own experience of disinterest. Or maybe not.

The first thing someone in this situation should do is to respond to the breaks, all those lucky twists and turns of fate that smile on apathetic souls for reasons largely unexplained in the sacred texts of any religion.

For instance, the three guys I came here with and I decided that we would buy $15 tickets after we had looked at the range of seats available. But the ticket seller unexpectedly sold them to us for just $9 each. It was some kind of unadvertised sale, I guess.

I was so pleased by this financial gift that every time I see a stadium employee here I high-five him or her and say thanks. They seem to like it but wish I wouldn't "Woo-hoo!" so loudly in their ears.

Another break I got was that as we walked in, I noticed that former Oriole great Boog Powell was signing autographs near the ballpark barbecue joint named after him.

Now, if I'd been at Wrigley Field to watch my Chicago Cubs, and Ernie Banks had been signing autographs, I'd have spent a lot of time in line to get Ernie's John Henry. But Boog? His Boogness means almost nothing to me. If Boog wants me to have one of his autographs, he'll have to come to where I'm sitting and hand me one. He hasn't. Big deal. No loss. In fact, I've saved time.

"Fine, fine," you're saying, "but what about the game itself?"

Oh, that.

Well, look, you just have to adapt to reality. The reality is that I don't much care who wins, although an Orioles' victory tonight would aid my Kansas City Royals in the standings.

So when the crowd here started a rhythmic chant of "Let's go, Orioles, let's go, Orioles," I joined in. Well, I joined in with a slight modification. With great gusto and pretense I shouted, "Let's go, Whoever, let's go, Whoever."

And when the electronic scoreboard urged fans a few minutes ago to "Get Loud," I began clapping and hollering out parts of several Shakespearian sonnets I once memorized.

It's really quite exciting to cheer for a double into the gap by screaming, "Love is not love which bends with the remover to remove," which is how I remember the line.

Another way to enjoy games you don't care about is to make side bets on irrelevant happenings.

For instance, the friends I am with have made a bet on whether the ball the home plate ump rolls to the mound between innings for the incoming pitcher will stay on the dirt of the mound or roll to the grass. I have lost $3, but it's pretty cheap entertainment.

Now, if you're not at a baseball game but, say, at a funeral, you'll have to find something else to bet on. Like how many times the preacher uses a particular word, such as "celebration," "sorrow" or "doofus." If you can get to a three-doofus funeral at least once in your life, you'll always have something to talk about.

Well, the Orioles just won 7-1, and it has filled me with such an overwhelming sense of indifference that I'm too choked down to finish this column. If you want to cheer this development, I suggest something loud from Kahlil Gibran.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Bill Tammeus' latest book is "A Gift of Meaning." To order it, please click on title. To comment on his column, please click here.


04/16/03: Worries of Iraq, illiteracy and the Cubs --- frazzled lives sabotage us
04/09/03: The genome triumph: Though it's laudable, DNA project won't tell life's secrets
03/25/03: In a wounded world, celebrate life's hope
03/20/03: Peace lover ponders the need for war
03/13/03: Science asks us to imagine a world in 11 dimensions
02/27/03: War has long come naturally to humankind
02/22/03: Trying to decipher the vexing French
02/11/03: A worthy crusade for individual worth
01/30/03: Indelible ache of Sept. 11
01/24/03: An issue of great gravity moves forward
01/17/03: Peculiar about being eccentric
01/10/03: Gambling infects with false hope
12/31/02: Quotable and notable in 2002
12/24/02: The faltering war on terrorism
12/11/02: Sky's the limit --- sort of
11/05/02: Thoughtful about uploading
10/29/02: We naively ignore the inevitability of death
10/24/02: Patriotism exceeds nationalism
09/18/02: Misuse of religion is timeless
08/21/02: Where church and state are one How long can Saudi Arabia's puritanical version of Islam survive?
08/13/02: LETTER FROM CAIRO: Meet the Egyptian writer who provided foundation for radical form of Islam
08/08/02: Letter from Riyadh: Moderate Muslims must reassert control over Islam
07/31/02: Journey of discovery starts at Ground Zero
06/07/02: Life rebukes death's power
05/31/02: Reasonable doubts about executions
05/10/02: Business savvy for graduates
05/02/02: Exporting our exclusivity
04/25/02: Life's stories carry messages about values
04/19/02: Our life force's search for fellow life forces
03/27/02: Can corporations behave ethically?
03/19/02: Space Family Robinsons
02/21/02: Lock, stocks and bonds
02/14/02: In space, the dark matters
02/07/02: Train doctors to have caring hands and hearts
01/31/02: A different feel to my life and to my country?
01/24/02: How green is my universe?
01/17/02: The end is near, eventually
01/08/02: Important lessons arrive out of the past
12/19/01: Lost in the cloning debate
12/10/01: It's all in the name: Unraveling the mystery of Osama's whereabouts
11/19/01: Flying with damaged trust
11/02/01: Recent, recognized research is a hard nut to crack
10/31/01: Many paradoxes in life
10/25/01: Newly found planets show the cosmos is still strange
10/19/01: Just getting caught up
10/17/01: It was a time for tea and sympathy
10/08/01: What makes an authentic patriot?
10/04/01: It's OK to twist and shout
09/17/01: One precious life among many
09/13/01: Remember who we are
09/11/01: Sometimes all children need is shelter from the storm
09/05/01: Couldn't run or throw, but a hero just the same
08/28/01: Lesson for the scientific faithful: Some theories come with strings attached
08/27/01: When waste in space is a waste of space
08/21/01: In complex world, we lack tools to carve out understanding
08/09/01: Visited while asleep by gang of magical mischief makers
08/03/01: Recognizing the limits of one's capacity
07/27/01: We are more than the sum of our work days
07/12/01: Some stars, like some people, never shine
07/11/01: Our deeply embedded need for order
07/03/01: Not-so-famous tour explores not-so-rich neighborhoods
06/28/01: Driven to tell the truth about golf and government
06/25/01: When poetry becomes destructive
06/21/01: We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a word from deep space
06/14/01: Theory of revolution explains why some things get lost
06/11/01: Shamanic gewgaws
06/06/01: Charity begins at homes with lemonade stands
05/30/01: When are wars worth dying in?
05/23/01: Cruising along that bumpy highway
05/09/01: If you're in the write mood, wish the U.S. happy birthday
05/07/01: Killing McVeigh will wound us all
05/01/01: Dubya reinforcing negative GOP stereotypes?

Up

Reprinted by permission, The Kansas City Star, Copyright 2002. All rights reserved