Blitzball plays a big part in Spira. In many ways, it’s like soccer, as a “world sport”.
Jecht’s revered in the blitzball world. I guess you can say he’s similar to a Pelé in that respect. Even Tidus remarks how the announcer gushes over his father.
In Tidus’ day, blitzball looked like a state-of-the-art sport. Check it out: flashy cameras, advertisements, professional leagues, stadiums, superstar athletes, etc. – it’s all there.
Also during this time, Zanarkand was at war with the city of Bevelle. I didn’t quite put it together at first. During this time, Sin destroyed Zanarkand before Bevelle got to them first.
Yet the people of Zanarkand didn’t seem to care as they swoon after Tidus, getting his autographs. Sin was ready to destroy the Zanarkand. And Sin is Jecht. Ironic, that the audience lined up to participate in a sport commemorating their hero. Then he, as Sin, killed them.
Or maybe they all knew, and just wanted an escape. That’s understandable. War sucks. But you don’t get the feeling anything else is happening, not even war, during the blitzball game. It’s partly because the story wanted to reveal the basics at a later on in the game. But, like us, their attention disproportionately focused on entertainment rather than other actual events.
This mindless fanaticism with blitzball, at their own peril, mirrors the blind fanaticism Spirans have with Yu Yevon. Wakka is evidence of both. And religion has an “us vs them”, the “religious vs the heretics”, into a type of sport with opposing teams. And with all of the religious symbols and gestures, Blitzball is “like” a religion.
Like in the real world, ya?
Religion and sports are all the people have left, and really all the people know. Sin ravages Spira periodically. Yet people still watch and play Blitzball games. Even into the future, when Tidus should be saving the world, he’s playing a sport!
But there’s more. Tidus becomes professional athlete turned coach turn General Manager of his own blitzball team. He has to learn how to budget, scout talent, sign up and compete in tournaments…all while Sin and Yu Yevon are threats. Why would any sport take up so much of one’s time?
When the fighting’s over, blitzball starts including all the technology it incorporated 1,000 years ago. All the while several factions are competing for dominance in Spira. Perhaps the sport is still a distraction to placate the masses?
Good thing the sport’s really fun. I love playing Blitzball! I wish I were one…