Archive for the Sports Ramblings Category

I have a love/hate relationship with my favorite college football team - yes, I am a ‘Bama fan. The emotional attachment that began early in life as I watched my father live and die with every win or loss has lasted all these years. I’m not sure why but I’m not usually comfortable expressing my fanaticism. I suspect that it’s because I try to live the rest of my life according to very rational, practical principles. The logical, orderly rules which mark my professional life can usually be found in my personal life too. But on Saturdays in the fall that all goes out the window. I become a raving lunatic unable or unwilling to watch an Alabama football game with detachment. In fact, I rarely watch an entire game because I am so emotionally invested that I can almost feel my heart getting weaker by the quarter (incidentally, don’t even think of calling me during a game). So I say bring on the NFL season which I can watch for the pure joy of sport. Well except when the Steelers are playing…

“I feel bad for what Mike is going through right now.” This comment from one of Michael Vick’s (former) teammates was interesting to me… perhaps the teammate was simply expressing his support for Vick without really thinking his choice of words. Still - clearly what Michael Vick is “going through” - the public castigation, threat to his future in football etc, is self-imposed (based on the assumption that he is guilty - and he has agreed to plead guilty). So my gut reaction was that we shouldn’t feel sorry for him since it was “his fault.” However, as an instructor of social psychology I frequently discuss the “fundamental attribution error” - the tendency to discount situational influences and overemphasize dispositional causes for behavior… I guess this is the point that I have to say that I do not condone what Michael Vick apparently did but I am more interested in understanding his behavior rather than simply expressing an emotional reaction. What are the “situational” influences that may have impacted Vick? I’m not sure but behavior is complex and not easily explained by labeling someone as evil.

The long (boring) summer of sports nothingness is almost over. Football season is 8 days away ahhhh. Baseball, tennis, golf, and reality television were simply diversions… ways to pass time until the all-consuming college and NFL seasons begin. Other fanatics out there?

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