Short of the YouTube commenter base, there is no greater pit of stupidity and vulgarity than in the ESPN.com comment sections. The overall tone of the comments is so vile that, several months ago, ESPN made the decision to force people to use their Facebook login to make comments. So, naturally, people created fake Facebook profiles with names like “Ohessu Thucks” and went right back to insulting each other in the most juvenile and repugnant ways possible.
Sports tend to make otherwise normal and rational people behave in bizarre fashion. After all, “fan” is nothing but a contraction of the word “fanatic.” That guy who paints his face and screams profanities in the stadium on Sunday might be a respected lawyer on Monday. I logged into Facebook on Saturday night after the Big Ten Championship Game to see friends of mine writhing in virtual pain, their lives immeasurably damaged by the failure of 21-year-old men they don’t know to score more points on a football field than other 21-year-old men they don’t know. The amount of personal self-worth that some people put into their favorite sports teams, whether professional or collegiate, is incredibly powerful, and in many cases, difficult to understand.
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