Interesting new site.
Several years ago Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard wrote an article about sports in an issue called Politics and Sports, a Symposium. (Volume 2, #19, January 27, 1997) The title was My Sports Right or Left and Barnes’ premise was that certain sports tend to be conservative (or at least attract more conservatives than liberals)
Barnes wrote about attending the December,1996 Army-Navy game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, one he would not soon forget.
“And not just the game, which Army won when a desperate drive by Navy fell short in the last few seconds. What happened moments after the game was even more memorable. Veterans Stadium suddenly went silent. The heart-broken Navy team, having lost to Army for the fifth straight year, gathered inself in front of the full brigade of Navy midshipmen, and together, football players, coaches and Middies sang the Naval Academy alma mater.
Then, after a brief burst of noise, the crowd quieted again. Smoke from cannons fired to celebrate Army’s victory hung over the section of the stands where the entire corps of cadets was standing. Once the Army players collected in front, the West Point alma mater was sung.
The whole episode lasted two, maybe three minutes. It was one of the strangest and most exhilerating moments I’ve experienced in years of attending sports events. And I think it’s fair to describe it as a conservative moment: a hard-hitting football game between traditional rivals, cadets and midshipmen (in uniform) standing throughout the game, the military brass in attendance, President Clinton seated for the first half on Navy’s side, the second half on Army’s. I loved it. (Clinton, by the way, was politely but cooly received at the game)
Barnes wrote, “What makes a sports event conservative or liberal? I’ve got four criteria. The first is the sport itself. Boxing, for instance is conservative because it’s so violent, individualistic and masculine. The second criterion is the crowd: you don’t find many liberals at football games. The third is the nature of the event. Does winning matter to the exclusion of everything else? Is it southern? Is it tradition-bound? If the answer to these is yes, it’s a conservative event.
Thus, the Masters Tournament at a stuffy country club in Augusta, Georgia is a very, very conservative event. The fourth measure: How much commercialism is associated in the event? There’s nothing wrong, from the conservative standpoint, with commercialism in sports, mixing Adam Smith and Edmund Burke. What’s repugnant and definitely not conservative is glitz, such as when a half-naked Michael Jackson sang during halftime at the Super Bowl.
I was proud to have been quoted by Fred Barnes in that article. I had written a letter to him after having seen him at the Army-Navy game in 1996 when Army came back from a big half time deficit of 17 points to win, capping off a big season of 10 wins. They played in the Independence Bowl game where they lost to Auburn 32-29.
From the article Barnes concluded,
A few weeks after the Army-Navy game, I got a letter from an Army fan, the wife of a West Pointer and the mother of a cadet. (She’d seen me at the game) “Wasn’t that a wonderful game?” she wrote. “At half-time, [with Navy ahead] my spirits were very low and I was wet and miserable.” Her son came by to cheer her up. “Don’t worry Mom.” he said, “We’re always down at the half. That’s our strategy. We’ll come back.” Army did. It wasn’t like those “shameful seasons” Army had in the early ’70s, she wrote. Those were the days of Nixon, Vietnam and silly hippie girls throwing flowers at the cadets, calling them “baby killers.” Nope, it wasn’t like that at all.
This article, written some years ago, is still authentic and accurate.
Here is a great article about Army football, by Sports Illustrated, The Salvation of Army Football.