Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sports and Me: The REAL Story

It's no question that the world loves sports.  Most Yankees, especially those with "Y" chromosomes, go nuts over football, baseball, car racing, and/or basketball; some Americans, as well as people of other nations, adore soccer, gymnastics, figure skating, ice hockey, cricket, fencing, and similar activities that are too numerous to name.  It's an industry that rakes in billions of dollars every year; sports fans, it seems, just can't get enough of whatever sport(s) they like.
That right there causes a problem for me: I'm not and never really have been a sports fan, so most references to whatever athlete(s)/team(s) would just be meaningless to me, even though the vast majority of my friends could easily understand them.  I could blame the fact that I wasn't really raised around sports, but that doesn't mean I couldn't enjoy them; I had little experience with video games until I began playing them regularly at my friends' house when I was about ten years old, and I couldn't stop talking about them after that.  In fact, I didn't even see a Star Wars movie until I was twelve, and do you know how many SW novels I've read in the past seven years?
Despite all that, I have realized that sports just aren't for me.  In the past, I accused sports fans of taking their devotion to whatever team and/or player too far, not realizing that I was doing essentially the same thing with Hilary Duff or Anne Hathaway.  Instead, I have just realized that, try as I might, I'm just unable to comprehend sports.  It's not the rules of the game, per se; on the rare occasion that I have watched a sporting event, or "participated" in one via a Nintendo console, I was able to grasp the scoring system and such well enough to understand them.  The problem is that, for most sports fans, such events are more than just a bunch of guys fighting over a ball in order to win points; there's all the rivalries and such that seem to make it more than just a game.  The same could apply to books; although I love reading, those who aren't literary fans would just take a look at some of my favorite novels and say, "That's nothing but a bunch of words on a page!", but, to me, a book is much more than that.
So, why is there little chance I'll ever be a sports fan? For more than one reason.  First off: I'm just too compassionate for sports.  I can show you a perfect example of why: In December 1999, I went with a group I was involved in to a hockey game.  A team that most residents of my region would consider a "home team" was playing against a team from some city I'd never even heard of at a local venue.  Did I enjoy it? Moderately...but there was a feeling during the game that I just couldn't fight.  The home team started out in the lead, but then the visiting team overcame them, only to have the home team reclaim the lead with only about a minute or two left in the game.  When the latter event happened, the crowd went wild, and I even joined in, because I was happy for them...but, in the back of my mind, I was thinking: How does the other team feel, since no one seemed to care when they were in the lead.  Any sports fans who are reading this probably are sitting there rolling their eyes and saying, "There are no emotions like that in sports!" Oh, I know; that's why they're difficult for me to understand.
Second off: I have no idea how some people decide which teams they like or dislike.  Of course, it's natural to root for the "home team"; I even own some shirts with the logos of colleges within my home state, so I have no problem with that.  I also am not bothered by those who have a certain athlete they like for whatever reason, such as Christians who admire Tim Tebow for his faith or girls who have a crush on David Beckham; I don't see that as any different than me liking non-sporting famous people such as Victoria Justice, Kevin Max, or Steve Jobs.  What I do have a problem with is when people have an arbitrary rule about what team(s) they like, such as, "I don't like any team that uses the color green in its logo."  Sure, I've heard similar stories unrelated to sports; not only do people vote for political candidates without knowing where they stand on the issues, but a doctor I used to see once told my mom and I that a patient chose to see him because he (the doctor, that is) had the same name as the patient's dog, and that dog was a good dog, so, if the doctor shared the dog's name, he must be a good doctor.  Still, I can't understand the rationale behind such thinking, whether it has to do with sports or not.  Equally annoying is when people want to tell others what team they should like; when I was a kid, a neighborhood friend was very insistent that I like the football team that is largely considered a "home team" in my area, instead of the New York Jets, who I only liked because of the last word in their name.  This guy loved the Philadelphia Eagles, but was not from that area, so, I called him out on that...but he was still insistent.  How could he expect me to follow a rule that even he refused to submit to? Again, that's why I don't get sports.
My last point before my conclusion: I don't have the patience to be a sports fan.  It's no secret that most sporting events take a long time; between commercials, "time-outs," and everything else, they usually last for at least two or three hours.  However, I usually can't even sit and watch a movie or read a book for that long; I despised The Fellowship of the Ring when I saw it in the theater, because I just needed a break after an hour or so.  (Lord of the Rings fans, don't worry; I have the entire trilogy on my DVD shelf, and plan on watching it in its some point.)  So, I just can't sit through an entire NFL or NBA game; it wouldn't take long for me to lose interest and go find something else to do.
In conclusion, let me say this: Although I may come off as the kind of person who avoids anything sports-related at all costs, that really isn't true.  When I was in fifth grade, I willingly did a book report on a Matt Christopher novel about basketball, and I've even watched and enjoyed movies such as Facing the Giants, Hometown Legend, Hoosiers, and even the little-known flick Believe in Me. (Look it up; it's actually quite good!) Still, I consider myself to be largely outside the sports community, specifically for the reasons above.  Does that mean that I refuse to be friends with anyone who does enjoy sports? No!
For my absolute final thought: If you know me, you should be glad I'm not a sports fan.  I was in a computer class once with a guy who was obsessed with Dragon Ball Z, and he ended up causing a female classmate, who was a fan of that Japanese cartoon, to not care for it anymore; his addiction to it just drove her away.  I think everyone reading this knows that obsessing is just my tendency; if I were obsessed with sports, that might make others not like them anymore, which would just ruin things for everyone.  So, my lack of interest in sports may be a great thing.
Any comments?

No comments: