Truth and Football.

Well, I just saw my hometown team suffer a heartbreaking loss and will have to endure incessant shit talking from Seattle fans of varying levels of classiness. But at least I found my lost keys and I still have a half-bottle of Hirsch single-cask bourbon at home, so I have that going for me.

Today, I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite writers, Ta-Nehisi Coates, when I try to undergo the rough process of reintroducing perspective in my mind.

“The truth stalks us like bad credit.”

I like to think that most people aspire to be good. And I like to think a central tenet in goodness is an undying respect for the truth, no matter how it presents itself to us.

I can’t justify the disconnect between running from the truth for a higher ideal, nor can I explain why that desire is so strong. Sometimes, I cherry pick and warp facts to create a worldview that’s pretty to me. Still, it’s just a pretty mosaic made from bits and parcels of reality and not the landscape of its actual entirety.

The reason why I love sports is because the truth is easier to grasp. There are winners and losers, there are good and bad calls, and there are trophies and rings to crown the penultimate teams as an ultimate totem of truth in championship. The painful truth is that my San Francisco 49ers lost against our hated rival. I feel a burning desire to put on my tinfoil hat and earmuffs, blame everything and everyone else, and discredit the Seattle Seahawks for a win that they truthfully deserved. I want to cry and whine and come up with all the excuses I can to preserve my ideal that my team is the best team.

But we lost. That’s the hardest and only important truth in sports. We lost. The why and how are window dressings for fans to delve themselves into during the space between games and matches. The beauty of sports is in its simplicity, and it might be why it’s such a unifying force in this world.

If only life was as simple. Truths become murkier when we deviate from such a bipolar experience as wins and losses, when the illogicalities of our emotions begin to override our learned affinity for the truth.

In the same game, Richard Sherman attracted a lot of flak for his boisterous post-game interview. At the time, I thought it was uncalled for and it left a pitted feeling in my stomach. I wanted to punch him through the TV screen, and I still want him to get humbled in the Super Bowl against a QB like Peyton Manning and a wideout like Demaryius Thomas. I want to text my Seattle ex-pat friend Dave and tell him to choke on Peyton’s penis, replete with his brand new shiny Super Bowl ring, after Sherman and Seattle get thoroughly beat the fuck up by Denver’s stacked offense.

Sidenote: I don’t know how I’m still friends with Dave given the usual tone of invective thrown in this nascent rivalry.

The truth was that Richard Sherman lacked class and tact.  The harder truth to accept and acknowledge is that Richard Sherman is by all measurable standards the best cover corner in the game. Harder still is Kaepernick’s ultimate decision and overconfidence in throwing to Crabtree when he’s being blanketed by the best cover corner in the game. The hardest truth to resolve is that this villain didn’t do anything wrong in the broadest (and therefore, most relevant) sense possible.

It was classless and tactless, but it’s also coming from a guy who made a game-breaking play against a player, a coach, and a team that he thoroughly dislikes. Any one of us would be liable to do the same, no matter how much we cling onto synthetic ideals like class and tact.

What really kills me is that people are introducing racial undercurrents and social commentary to a 15-second sound byte. Do we treat black public figures differently? Do non-blacks apply a social hierarchy to black people, regardless of how successful or famous they are? Is this backlash coming from a pure place like a simple sports rivalry, or are we really excoriating Richard Sherman for not knowing his place?

Like I said, the truth gets murkier when we go away from something so easy and pure as wins and losses. I can’t speak for myself without sounding contrived and self-righteous, but I have a feeling that the truth gets harsher when we stop asking ourselves personally and start asking ourselves as a community. Beyond the simple truths we find refuge in, it’s those ambiguous truths that certainly deserve some post-game discussion.

In any case, it was a good game, a hard-fought game that could’ve gone either way. The Shit-Addled She-Bawks can suck a big fat one, and go Broncos. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a basketball team to turn my attentions to.

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