Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What if We Decided Not to Blame Anyone?


1. (in the Bible) A goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev. 16). 2. One that is made to bear the blame of others.
Make a scapegoat of.
whipping boy - fall guy - goat"

After attending all three days of competitive play at the Ryder Cup, I too got caught up in the discussions in the aftermath of the Meltdown at Medinah. 

"Who should we blame?" all the commentators asked. Various candidates were offered (Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, and Captain Davis Love chief among them). "Did we lose it or they win it?" was a conversation I engaged in as well. After discussing some of the above candidates, we decided it was a little of both -- some of our guys lost matches they could or should have won, some of their guys (chief among them Justin Rose) won matches they had every reason to believe they had already lost.

Jim Furyk reacts to a missed putt on the final day.

As the sting has faded though, I've been thinking more about our need (and by "our" I mean Mankind, Humankind, all us people, etc., not just Americans and not just the Ryder Cup) to attach blame and find a scapegoat. Particularly interesting, or troubling, is the definition above: "one that is made to bear the blame of others."

I understand that with multiple 24-hour sports, news, and golf television and radio it is inevitable that in the endless effort to fill air time every result and action will be overanalyzed. But I can't help but think that at least part of why we do so, or even listen while others do, is to find someone to "bear our blame." Not the blame of losing an exhibition golf match (anymore than our average counterpart in Europe can take credit for the victory), but for our collective discontent and feeling that we're no longer the masters of our domain.

So at least as far as this Ryder Cup goes, I'm not looking for a scapegoat, not placing blame. The Euros won, and did so with passion and flair. Let's just leave it at that.

Random observations from three days at Medinah:

"USA! USA! USA!" is insipid. C'mon people we can do better. I suggest that for the next Ryder Cup on U.S. soil (or even Gleneagles in 2014 for that matter) we enlist Sam's Army or the American Outlaws (which are U.S. Soccer supporter groups, not biker gangs) to instruct all American fans in some proper songs.

One of the five coolest moments in my sports spectating life was watching and listening as Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson got the fans amped up on the first tee on Saturday afternoon, then hit while they were still in a frenzy. If you didn't see it, you have to watch.

Not sure why, but golfers on the whole strike me as the most universally likable athletes.

Except for Sergio Garcia, who I've never really liked.

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