Such fandom represents the quest for social solidarity in modern society. It is similar to the religious fervor that ties people together and that fosters essential social cohesion of which sociologist Emile Durkheim spoke over a century ago. Social connectedness is what gives meaning to people in their lives as members of communities on multiple levels. Without it, societies would cease to exist. In the past, shared religious beliefs were the source of such ties in much of the West (and continues in some parts of the world), while nationalism, or national pride is a more modern source. In the current era, love of country is often supplanted by enthusiastic fandom focused on loyalty to sports teams and their wins and losses. Wars between countries fought on fields and trenches become socially constructed as war-like athletic skirmishes on artificial grass fields created by a "civilian leisure class", as Steve Almond notes in his riff about football and its real physical risks for players ("Is it immoral to watch the superbowl?" Jan. 24, 2014, The New York Times Magazine). Some sporting events bring together national pride and sports fandom such as the Olympic games beginning today in Sochi, Russia.