It would be easier to write a sports column on an environmental blog if the athletic world was actually doing anything helpful to the earth. (I’m a busy girl with limited time for Google searching, people.) That being the case, some folks think we should rethink our way of sporting altogether. I say, when we’ve tackled the large-scale social and political adjustment that will allow us to effectively combat climate change, then we can move on to athletic-supporter adjustment. Hee hee hee.
So, right. Not much in the sporting world to write about today. So in the spirit of trying to make a connection where there isn’t really one, here comes the stretch, and the pitch, from Tim Haab over at Environmental Economics.
Haab, reflecting on a vilification of U.S. overconsumption in the Independent, uses a baseball analogy. (See? Totally relevant.) A Baltimore Orioles fan, he declares himself required to hate the New York Yankees — because they are successful. Indeed, he says, “The Yankees are evil, they cheat, they are bad for baseball. Teams that try to copy the Yankees drain the rest of the league of valuable resources. They buy what they want with little regard for the well-being of baseball.”
Hm … sound familiar? The connection with the U.S. is as clear as if they had, um, been called the Yankees.
Yet after going through a long list of stats on U.S. overconsumption, Haab concludes:
You don’t really expect the Yankees to quit trying just so the rest of baseball can win every once in a while, do you? Let’s make a rule. Every team has to win the World Series once every 30 years. Then we would have a bunch of mediocre teams with no incentive to improve. But everyone would be equally miserable.
On the other hand, maybe the Yankees’ continual efforts to outpace the rest of baseball make everyone else try harder. Maybe their success is evidence of efficient use of their plentiful resources. Maybe they set an example of what the rest of the teams could be. Maybe their success makes everyone else better and everyone is better off as a result. Hmmm … maybe the Yankees are good for baseball.
I’m chock full of clever comments, but none so apt as commenter kebko’s:
I don’t want to be too inflammatory (cue inflammatory comment), but if the Yankees want to keep winning, they probably participate in some honest self-reflection about the pros and cons of their approach, not some indulgent hubris-filled self-justification that everything they do must be right [because] they have always been the biggest and the best.
I’m a fair-weather Mariners fan, myself.