Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I Don't Like Sports

I'm sure nobody stayed up all night when I said my next post might be about why I hate sports. Most of the people that I know like sports, and I currently live in a part of the country populated by the most rabid sports fans imaginable.

I just never could bring myself to care. I'm not saying I don't enjoy throwing a ball around with my boys, but I sure can't sit and watch a game. It doesn't matter which sport: football, baseball, basketball, soccer, NASCAR, golf, they all bore me equally.

I've tried to care. Believe me, I've tried to force myself to watch a game to fit in. I've tried to force myself to care which team beat which team, or what the difference is between March Madness and the World Series. Trust me, for some reason, my brain does not contain a part that allows me to care. I've been known to answer the question "Who do you think will win the Super Bowl?" with "I think it's a sure bet on the Spurs." Yes, I know the Spurs are a basketball team (I lived in San Antonio). I was deliberately being "a dick".

I'm actually amused by the look on people's faces during those rare years when I can make it through the Super Bowl without actually knowing it happened, showing up for work on Monday, and when I'm asked what I thought of the Super Bowl, I ask "Oh, that happened already?"

Now, I have nothing against sports fans. I realize that some people for whatever reason are totally excited by this strange form of entertainment. I tend to pick on Philadelphia fans though, because they are completely rabid, and the fact that they can scream-spell out a six-letter word for a bird when they're drunk does little for my estimation of their intelligence.

I've even learned to be polite and fake caring about one team or another in polite conversation with a stranger, when I can't divert the conversation to a more intellectually stimulating topic like the weather.I'm serious, sports bores me that badly that I'd rather talk about "oh, looks like Mr. Sun might show himself today" than "I hope the Steelers beat the Patriots". (I think both teams play the same sport, but if I stopped to verify, it might bore me to sleep.)

I cannot understand how a sports fan can say "Look what we did!" when his or her favorite team does something great (or even mediocre, but does it better than the other team). It makes no sense to me. The fans didn't do much more than yell and spend money on overpriced merchandise. They did not contribute to the victory at all. It would be like an Apple fan saying "Look at how much we improved the iPhone!" No, you just BOUGHT the iPhone (yes, so did I). You did not DO anything related to the design or manufacture of the iPhone. I've actually submitted bug reports on the iPhone and iTunes, but I don't claim that "we" did anything to improve it.

There are times when I seriously hate sports. I hate it when I go to watch one of my favorite shows, and a game that is being carried on that network has gone into eternity. Isn't this why we have sports channels? Isn't this why we have like 89 ESPN channels? Put the freaking sports on the sports channels and let me watch my shows on the shows channels. How hard could that be? That or end the game (or even just the transmission of the game on that channel) on time. I'd rather watch House than the 10th inning of a baseball game. Man, is that boring! I love the show Cold Case, but I gave up watching it one year when CBS was carrying football and I never could depend on Cold Case starting on time. You can't even record it, because the recording starts when the show is supposed to start but the show hasn't started because the precious game ran late.

This is what I see when I try to watch a football game: a bunch of people wandering around on the field. Then, they slowly form lines. Announcers babble the whole time. The ball snaps, everybody moves for 2 seconds, then they pile up. Then they get up and wander around in circles while the announcers babble. Fans cheer for some reason that I can't quite figure out. Then a commercial. Cut back after the commercial break to several more minutes of players wandering around in circles and announcers babbling. Pictures of players with meaningless numbers are animated onto the screen while the announcers discuss the player as if he were a stock they were thinking of buying. Seriously, I've tried, but I just can't get into it.

For some reason, I do tend to like football movies. Maybe it's because there's more action. They cut out all the bullcrap wandering and announcer babbling and substitute action and a plot. I can deal with football movies. My favorite is The Program. Omar Epps has come a long way from then. I like his character on House.

I hate sermons that start with sports analogies. I want to throw a pew at the preacher when they start a sermon with a sports analogy. No, I haven't done this yet, and I know better than to ever try it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I never want to hear "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" in church again. I'm sure it was really novel when Mohammed Ali first said it, but it's been seriously overplayed by now and I find myself annoyed by it. Oh, yeah, add boxing to my list of sports if you haven't already. Sometimes the fake wrestling amuses me, but I don't work very hard to watch it. Normally the only time I see it is in restaurants or sports bars. I like the stuff that is so obviously fake that you can enjoy the costumes and moves.

As a dad, I hate it when Christina tries to tell me that our boys might want to watch football with me. Caleb once asked if we could watch the Eagles. I told him to ask his grandfather first, but if he won't, then I'll sit with him but I get to read a book. I'm terrified that either of my boys might want to play sports. It gives me thoughts of joining the Merchant Marine. I can't imagine having to sit in the bleachers in the rain or the snow watching kids wander around the field so I can be proud of my kids for 3 seconds of action. I don't know how other parents do it. I obviously love my kids and want to encourage them to be all they can be, but I'm terrified of them wanting to do sports. I'll back them as best as I can. For now, they're in karate. I don't mind taking them to karate. It's indoors, and is mostly action the whole time.

If it helps, in addition to not having much aptitude for or interest in sports, I was always the last kid chosen when we were forced to pick teams in gym class. Then I'd get something like "fine, we'll take you, but stay out of the way." Seriously, if I wasn't the last kid chosen, it's because another kid was a loser that nobody wanted. I don't think anybody had a problem with me; they just didn't want me getting in the way. No, I don't believe my apathy toward sports is any kind of reaction against that. I never really did care. I wish gym classes had provided alternatives for the few kids who didn't want to waste an hour standing on the sidelines feeling like losers. One size does not fit all.

I guess that's about all I have to say about that. I've tried in my 35 years to understand sports fans. This is just a brief glimpse into my mind, as far as my apathy toward sports goes. I've tried to get into your minds, so here's a look into mine. Maybe I'll update this post if I think of anything else.

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