When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last month, some saw that as a sign of the apocalypse. All that was missing were frogs dropping from the sky.
Gotham Chopra understood.
“I grew up a Red Sox fan so I know what it’s like to be part of a cursed franchise,” the filmmaker said the other day. “Red Sox Nation suddenly wakes up one day and they’re part of the institution that was organized overnight. It’s a very different experience. Neither better nor worse, just different.”
The difference is, experiences like that have fueled Chopra’s curiosity into immersing himself in what became a six-part documentary series called “Religion of Sports,” which debuted this week on DirecTV’s Audience Network, with the first episode also available on the official website.
“I’m fascinated by the Cubs,” Chopra continued, “and saw the parade they had afterward and heard it described as the eighth-largest gathering of human beings in the history of civilization.
“Maybe there’s no better example, and no greater proof, that sports is a religion.”
See what he did there?
In the current issue of Sports Illustrated devoted to football in America these days, a poll question asks: Is football more important than your ….
The answer “Religion,” as you can see, far out did “family” and “job.” Maybe beause football replaces religion in some way, shape or form with more than one of every four people, if you’re to believe these results.
The bulk of the Q-and-A with Chopra, the son of famous New Age spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, is at this link, but we have more below:
Q: This series isn’t so much about the glorification of sports stars as deities, it’s more on the culture of sports. But there is this worship of sports figures as gods. How might that be a whole different documentary?
A: Yeah, for sure. I’m careful about that as someone who has worked with a lot of athletes and has got to see how what they do on the field, or track or pitch. I’m a dad and can be with my 9-year-old son and say, ‘Look at this performance.’ It’s human potential performed. It’s mythic. But off the field, you don’t know these people, as human beings who deal with all the challenges. And sometimes because they’ve been so focused on this one aspect of their life, they’re off-the-field persona can be difficult, challenging, dark. I’m very conscious of all that and try to steer away from it. Because there clearly is a danger to that. Continue reading