Here's a letter to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press that I emailed today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.
To the editor:
I just watched the fourth game of an NBA playoff game between the New Jersey Nets and the Miami Heat. Miami (Lebron James, et al.) won the game, of course, a firm step (3-1 in the series) toward their eventually winning the NBA Championship.
I wrote "of course" and "eventually" advisedly, because I know – everyone knows – the Heat will win the NBA title for the third year in a row. In fact, knowing this inevitable outcome of playoffs, I wonder why I – like millions of viewers – continue to watch the games. More poignantly, why did tonight's Nets fans keep screaming and chanting from the stands during the game? Why did the Nets coach keep coaching? Why, indeed, did the Nets players keep playing? For that matter, why, knowing the Heat will win it all in the end, do all of these folks, during the weeks to come – players, coaches, fans of other teams – keep crying out, keep hoping and trying to win?
What does this have to do with issues regularly presented on Voices?: Questions about the state of the economy, the environment, the world. Why do folks keep caring, keep writing, keep chanting, keep marching about these issues, when – by many mainstream accounts – the game is already lost?
Here's the answer from a dejected Nets fan who, upon exit from tonight's loss to the Heat, was asked by an interviewer why he kept cheering even after the Heat's victory was apparent: "What choice do I have? To quit?"