Increasingly, the fan-athlete relationship has led to extreme acts of devotion: from tattooing to riots, superstition to shrines, sports fans have long been compelled to prove their allegiance to their favorite athletes. However, as dedicated as these individuals are, many athletes do not acknowledge or interact with those fans, instilling a sense of desperation amongst many of their loyal supporters. With the recent surge of international sports coverage, broadcast media has delivered emotional manipulation to audiences worldwide.
In this critical fiction, the construct of spectacle has been radically ingrained into the creation of a new sport, Devotion, where the traditional athlete-fan framework has collapsed. To play, participants must individually demonstrate their own commitment to The Object, a lab-created, ovoid-shaped being that senses extreme acts of commitment, responding only once the Standard of Deviance has been reached. Created by a team of psychologists, Devotion represents the first psycho-social sport fully constructed with psychological intention. As a result, sport is no longer team-based, but internalized; Spectacle is no longer public, rather private and ritualistic.
For years now, athletes have self-inflicted countless acts of emotional and psychological abuse upon themselves–all for the prospect of one-day proving themselves to these seemingly apathetic entities. As a result, Devotion has lured countless players to commit the most bizarre and extreme rituals, once reserved for their own fans, now, their only chance at “winning”.