Still others may end up cheering the military whether they want to or not because sporting rituals now conflate it with athletics. After all, it was hard to tell whether Fighting Irish and Crimson Tide fans were celebrating the arrival of the game ball or the paratroopers who delivered it. Likewise, when the San Diego Padres take the field on Sundays dressed in camouflage jerseys, are fans rooting for their home team or the military that inspired its outfits?
This militarized pageantry seems here to stay — sports franchises benefit too much from the cheap thrills and public relations opportunities it affords. The military covers the costs of flyovers and paratroopers by logging those events as training exercises, and it hopes the theatrics will result in recruitment boosts.
What comes next? Navy SEALs sneaking through the bleachers to deliver free pizzas? Beer sold in combat-boot-shaped cups? Or maybe miniature drones dropping T-shirts onto the crowds below?