Jewish World Review June 20, 2011 / 18 Sivan, 5771
LeBron Shows Hate Is Winning the Day
By Mitch Albom
They say it with glee.
"LeBron thought he was so great. Ha-ha. Look at how he messed up at the end!"
All across the country, people rejoiced in the comeuppance of LeBron and his
So much so that far more people were rooting for
At the same time, U.S. Rep.
Finally, under the weight of that chorus, he did. And today, just a few days later, nobody cares what he does with his camera or his crotch. It's as if a thirst has been quenched.
There's a thread that runs through these two issues. Some call it "Hating on." I call it "Rooting Against." It seems this is becoming at least as popular as "Rooting For."
Maybe even more so.
Think about it. The passion to see people fail feels hotter these days than the pulling for a winner. After
The Yankees are the team personification of Rooting Against.
I'm not saying there aren't things not to like about all of these people. But there also may be things to like. Or, at least, things you can ignore.
But we are drawn to Root Against. It has a seductive, burning appeal, a certain satisfaction we draw from another's failure.
By the way, I am as guilty of this as the next guy. But lately, I've been wondering why.
After the NBA Finals were lost, James made these comments about the negative fans:
"All the people that were rooting for me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before. … I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live….
"They can get a few days or a few months … on being happy about not only myself, but the
Not surprisingly, he was vilified for this. He apologized, said he wasn't superior to anyone. Didn't matter. The hate rained down.
I'm reading his comments, and while they were ill timed, I'm wondering exactly what he said that wasn't true? We all do get back to our lives. In fact, we never leave them.
Are we so unhappy in our own daily travails that we revel in the chance to see someone else fail? Wouldn't it be just as easy to root for someone to win, or to do better, or to come back -- and if they don't, just shrug it off and try to find something else to pull for?
I know it sounds Pollyannaish. But the temperature of this country has gotten very hot, anger is a far preferred to kindness, and when "Fail!" becomes our battle cry rather than "Succeed!" we should at least ask ourselves why.
After all, that old baseball song says, "It's root, root, root for the home team; if they don't win it's a shame…." There's no line about cheering if the other team gets clobbered.
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