But in the past few weeks, there have been an alarming number of stories coming out about the negative after-effects of a championship title. It doesn’t shine well on the Giants, the MLB, on San Francisco, or on the state of sports at large in this country.
After Game 7, the city got predictably rowdy. Some of the street celebration was all in good fun – cheering, hugging strangers, etc. But, as it seems it always does, things took a darker turn as the night wore on. Cars began to be vandalized. When police tried to organize the mayhem, they were struck with thrown bottles. Many thrown bottles.
And then people started bonfires. BONFIRES. In the streets.
While I have a hard time believing acts like these are terribly attached to the actual game, it seems like we can’t enjoy a victorious season without the municipality falling apart for a night. It sullies the experience, and must elicit terror from people who live in the areas where all of this happens.
This year’s celebration has, so far, accounted for an estimated $140,000 in damage to cars alone. This includes police cars. In fact, several officers were hit by bottles. Some were reported to have been hospitalized. There were two injuries due to gunshots, and a stabbing. It’s truly too much.
There’s something about the culture surrounding sports these days that is toxic. Both wins and losses are often accompanied by some as an excuse to exercise testosterone and adrenaline to the fullest. Maybe what these ‘fans’ need is to spend less time watching sports and more time playing them and blowing off some steam.
Another very sad piece of fallout due to the World Series involved the parade, and the number of school children attending. Because 3,500 students skipped school to see their heroes in the parade, public schools in San Francisco lost $140,000 in state funding, which uses absentee rates as benchmarks.
Considering the role professional sports play in our culture, it is unbelievable that there isn’t an exception made for rare instances like these. Surely there are reasonable solutions that would be able to protect valuable education funding amidst the excitement of the World Series.
I look forward to the day when a national sports title fills the city with pride and excitement, not terror and dread.