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My first and last thought on "the rumor"

Posted by Terry K. on April 29, 2003

The Germans have a name for it: Schadenfreude. It doesn't translate well, but basically means a "secret, dark (emphasis on dark, as in evil) desire to see others fail". Alabama fans are tense because we've sat and watched other programs and their fans enjoy one episode of Schadenfreude after another at our expense. It got so bad at one point that many of us... yours truly included... began praying and hoping for something terrible to happen to rivals... and the worse, the better... so that we would have our turn to gloat, to point fingers and laugh, to rub their noses in it.

Well, I was reminded recently, reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, why this is not the way to live a good life. When one invests this much hatred into a rival, one lives one's life vicariously, second-handedly, in the fate of another. Like it or not, the other becomes all-important, almost godlike, in our lives. One loses all meaning to oneself in such hatred, and ceases to matter outside of that hatred. But like the shadow that depends on light to exist, so too do those who put so much stock into watching others fail run the risk of losing themselves in the light of their own perverse scrutiny. Hating others is a weakness and is self-defeating, for hatred requires cementing oneself to one's object of hatred, enslaving oneself to the task of watching... and sometimes trying to bring about... the downfall of the hated. So much so that, even if such is ever accomplished, the hater finds oneself the merest coherent fragment of the person they were, wasted, time lost... sometimes measured in years and decades... hating. This is the worst type of second-hand life, for it has no joy at all in it.

But what has any of this to do with Coach Price, one may ask?

Coach Price's fate is not in anyone's hand but his employer's, no matter what anyone here... or anywhere else... thinks. We should leave his fate to them. If we choose to tie ourselves to his fate, whether we hope for the best or to the worst, we are living the second-hand life. If we worry about what rival fans think, we are living the second-hand life, because one has to invest one's own worth in the eyes of others to even care. And especially why worry about how we appear to those we should care nothing about? I will not tell you how to live your life, but I would offer this advice for those seeking relief from the constant, current pressure of being a Bama fan: Stop caring so much. Stop caring about how we appear to others. Stop living your life vicariously and live for yourself. Most of all, in a world where sports are meant to be an escape from troubles (i.e., entertainment), stop letting them become your life.