Jim Rome isn’t the problem.
By now you’ve read about his tweet:
And his apology:
The problem is that Rome’s tweet isn’t an original thought: he is reflecting the collective opinion of a vast number of athletes and sports fans.
American culture is one that says suffering for your sports team is noble and trying to be an artist is foolish. A high school football team draws thousands of fans every Friday; the audience for the entire 6-show run of my high school’s musical is about the same as one football game.
Many people support both athletics and the arts; they are sufficiently enlightened appreciate the value and necessity of both.
But Rome was far from alone in ridiculing marching band. In Rome’s corner of the world, this is the default position.
What can we do? We need to educate our youth, our peers, our communities, public figures. Explain them the value of the arts, help them to learn to enjoy performances. Reach out, remind them regularly, create opportunities to interact. In a generation, we will have made some progress.
Rome’s opinion didn’t arise in a vacuum. He was simply reflecting what he has learned throughout his life. It might be fun to attack him for a day or two, but that won’t solve anything. The solution is much more difficult.
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