There was no joy in Baltimore on Saturday night. The Ravens lost their game against the Colts.
Football is often said to be a substitute for armed warfare. It has its strategies, its heroes, and its casualties. The city of Baltimore – or most of it – would probably have preferred a win against the colts to a win in Afghanistan or Iraq.
War is a game played for mortal stakes. But there is less difference between war and football than is generally realized. There is nothing at stake in most wars – just like football games. Still both sides are so keen to win they make fools of themselves. Supporters wave flags and sing victory songs. And if their team wins, THEY feel like winners, even though they played no role whatsoever in the victory.
Nor are all wars bloody affairs. Many societies conducted stylized warfare…often with very few battlefield casualties. The West was able to dominate the world, say some military historians, because the Greeks…and later the Romans…and later the Europeans…were more ready to die.
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