Among all the sports of the world, none is as revered by the denizens of the United States as football. The Super Bowl always ranks as one of the most-watched television programs every year; NFL memorabilia, such as sports and jerseys, sell in the millions; and, though most colleges and high schools have numerous sports kids can participate in, none of them get as much recognition as football. I myself am not a fan, and barely even understand the rules of the game, but one thing I do know is that becoming an excellent player at any sport--including football--involves lots of determination and practice. It came as no surprise, then, when a friend of mine who went to a rival high school whose team was--at that time, anyway--the worst in our area told me that, during practice, the guys on the football team walked around the field instead of running like they were supposed to do. One wonders why anyone would try out for a team and not put forth any effort; as the saying goes, "Go big or go home."
That right there is why I don't do sports, whether watching them or playing them. Whether you desire to be the next Michael Jordan, or just are an avid spectator, you won't succeed at it if you don't regularly practice or keep tabs on the stats. I'm sure that, if the desire were there, I could have been at least somewhat successful at sports in high school; however, you can't expect someone, no matter his or her medical condition, to put copious time and energy into something about which he or she is completely apathetic.
That doesn't mean that I always refused to invest large amounts of my time, energy, money, and/or other resources into anything. In fact, throughout high school, my passion for my favorite celebrities led me to do some tasks for which many of you just wouldn't have the patience, especially if you hate technology. When I first got into Hilary Duff in November 2002, the only computer I had was an über-pokey, crash-happy, 3.5 years old purple iMac, with a dial-up connection and an overly restrictive web blocker. Yet, somehow, in the thirteen months or so before I got a new, better Mac, I managed to amass quite a collection of images of Disney stars, complete with random file names and even some custom-made images that looked quite presentable, even without Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar software. Though finding images of famous people may sound like kindergarten work, a combination of poor technology, shoddy software, limited sources, and erroneous websites made it quite an arduous process. If I hadn't been as dedicated to Disney Channel actresses as I was, I probably would have given up after AOL crashed for the fiftieth time. My dedication was evident to others; ask any of my high school friends, and they'll tell you about the infamous binder pictures. They probably had no idea of the hoops I had to jump through to get them.
Though I now have better things to do with my time than collect celebrity pictures, my dedication to entertainment in general is still evident. You might think that working at a library makes it easier to get my hands on any books, albums, and movies I want to, but that's not always the case. The library system I work for has quite an expansive catalog, but there are right many items--usually more obscure ones, such as little-read books from several years ago, or old-school DVDs/videos that have been largely forgotten--that I have had to get from another system through a process known as inter-library loan. At first, doing so wasn't a big deal; I simply put in the request and waited for it to arrive. Later on, though, a slight fee of one dollar per item was added; therefore, all the patrons, including yours truly, have to pay for every inter-library loan received. More to the point, the online searches--finding the best deals on eBay, poring over reviews of films to decide whether or not they're even worth seeing, sifting through music files on sites such as iTunes or Amazon MP3 to find the ones I want, tirelessly searching for lyrics of songs I've recently added to my iPod, etc.--and other tasks, such as walking, taking the bus, or arranging rides to places where I can find whatever media I'm looking for, have taken up quite a bit of my time in recent years.
You know what, though? For me, it was all totally worth it. Genesis 29:20 (NIV 1984) says, "So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her." Though I've never had to work a full seven years to get anything, Jacob's passion for his crush Rachel somewhat mirrors my dedication to movies, television shows, books, music, etc. The amount of time, energy, and money I've invested in entertainment doesn't feel near as large to me as it would to others, because it was all for what I loved. Believe it or not, being an entertainment lover has even made me physically fit; if I wasn't willing to walk long distances, how else would I get to the library, or to the convenience store to get a iTunes gift card, or to the bus stop to take a ride to the used bookstore?
Some may wonder: Can't that passion be used elsewhere? Not only can it be, but it is. For the past year or so, I have been listening to the Bible on audio. I started with the New Testament, and then went back to the Old Testament after finishing the NT this past May; right now, I am currently in Psalms. For a while, I wasn't taking it seriously; I'd have it on while I was eating, and the loud crunching would drown it out, or, other times, my mind would be elsewhere. Lately, though, I've realized that, if I'm going to study the Bible--and I know I should--I have got to take it seriously. So, now, I read the Bible via an app on my iPod or iPad while listening to it, so I'm seeing it and hearing it, which leaves little room for distractions. Rarely do I miss a day; it's always three chapters every weekday, and four chapters each on Saturdays and Sundays. In the event I do happen to forget one day, I make it up as soon as possible. Despite being known for my Biblical knowledge, I had never successfully attempted to read through the entire Bible like that until a year ago; my plan is to keep doing it until I die or Jesus returns.
I will end by saying this: Most of us know people who are passionate about sports. Whether it be someone who actually plays them, or just an individual who is ardently enthused about some team, player, league, or whatever, there are many such folks out there. We all already know that I am not one, right? Well, some have suggested attempting to watch and/or research sporting events to give myself something to talk about with those who are sports fans, usually guys. I've talked before about that, but I realized something recently that was the genesis of this entire post: Even if I attempted to do that, I'm almost 100% sure that it wouldn't last very long, because I simply lack the determination and perseverance for anything sports-related to keep track of such matters. During each sports' season, stats and line-ups regularly change, and I likely would never become enthused about them enough to be properly informed. It's my own fault; over the years, I trained myself to be apathetic about sports by filling my time with other hobbies, especially entertainment. My belief is simply: I've come this far with remaining mostly outside the sporting world; why do I need to change that? As the old adage says: If it's not broke, don't fix it.