Where do you draw the line when you're cheering for your team -- or perhaps more importantly, against another team? Does a gutsy play by the other guys draw a respectful acknowledgment of a a worthy adversary? Do you applaud a bad call that goes against your rivals?
Do you hope the other team's players get hurt?
I can't stop thinking about this ever since (foolishly) venturing over to the poisonous SSS gamethread for the final game of our recent sweep at the Cell. Now, I don't want to misrepresent my own motives here. I went there not to troll or to discuss, but because White Sox fan schadenfreude is the most delicious of all schadenfreuden. Also, because I was bored at work. But I digress.
Personally, I cannot cheer for players getting injured. Not Favre, when he was kicking the Vikes' asses up and down the field for a decade in Green Bay. Not Buehrle, when he insults the entire Twins organization on a weekly basis. Not even Bertuzzi when he deliberately tried to injure Gaborik, Bouchard, and whomever else. I just don't have it in me.
Injuries are the saddest things in sports to me. I still cry a little inside when I think of what Junior could've done with a dozen healthy seasons, or what Bo Jackson could have accomplished in two sports. What kind of absurd numbers Pedro or Koufax could have put up with the longevity of a Randy Johnson.
This isn't to say that I don't revel in the visceral thrill I get when the White Sox lose. I love it. I love watching Ozzie make that slow, defeated walk to the mound after the Twins knock around yet another member of the vaunted White Sox rotation. My skin tingles every time Konerko whiffs on a snappy Liriano slider and sits his ass back down on the bench where it belongs. But injuries...I cringe when Beckham takes a fastball off his hand, though he's been one of the Sox' better players.
I wince when Paul Konerko gets pegged in the face.
And that's why the truly nasty things in that SSS thread stick with me. I can't understand fans who cheer for opposing players to get injured. Baseball, football, hockey, whatever -- it's the most bush league, unconscionable fan act I can imagine (short of rioting, I suppose, but I don't expect anyone to defend that).
Anyone out there feel differently? I'm not trying to demonize here (well, maybe a little), but I honestly don't understand it.