But since I don't go to basketball games, I've been thinking about this outing quite a bit. I've realized that not only don't I care who wins or loses, I don't even care that someone wins. I mean, what difference does it make, really? I'm not talking about alumni spirit or bragging rights. I mean, what difference does it really make?
Right, it doesn't make any. If we could look past the winning and losing, we might be able to appreciate a sporting event in terms of physical prowess, grace, coordinated effort, etc. Fanaticism about who scores the more points spoils it.
How could winning and losing be neutralized? I don't suppose that they could stop keeping track of scores...Maybe if a game just ended arbitrarily at some point determined by chance? How might that affect spectation and everything else connected with the enterprise?
It's possible that something like the following could happen:
- Attendance would plummet immediately, until spectators overcame the fear that the game might end after, say, only five minutes and they wouldn't get their money's worth. Longer games and shorter games would even out according to the laws of probability. People would adjust to post-game plans' necessarily being tentative.
- And bookmaking would take some initial hits, with a number of smaller shops going under because of having failed to understand the mathematics of the new odds. Was the "winner" the team that was ahead a greater amount of time, or the team that was ahead when the game abruptly ended? Or was it the team whose average points-ahead to time-ahead ratio was greater? Or did it even matter anymore who was ahead? Was there anything to bet on anymore?
- Injuries would unfortunately increase a bit at first owing to players' losing sleep over their coaches' new strategies for approaching the game. Were they supposed to get a lead and sit on it or try to build the lead? What was that about the points-ahead to time-ahead ratio? Or had it become about something other than being ahead?
- Most teams would lose at least one player, with many losing two or three or more, owing to the players' deciding to concentrate on academics, which had come to seem less daunting by comparison. Did it even matter anymore who "came out on top"? What did that mean anyway? Most of the former players would declare philosophy as their major.
- When everything settled down, the fans who would be fans regardless would accommodate themselves to the change and carry on as usual. As would the gamblers; they have to bet on something. And the alumni, many of whom rarely give their alma mater a thought but for the rituals of winning and losing athletic contests. They'd all figure out what constituted "winning." Someone has to. They demand it.
Basketball would continue to be more like religion than life.