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How I Simultaneously Love, Hate, Ignore and Obsess Over Sports

June 13, 2012

The man, the myth, the legend

Some of my fondest memories involve sports. When I think back I can still taste the licorice that I hid in my jean jacket pockets as we pushed our way through the turnstiles of County Stadium to lament over Rob Deer’s strikeouts or watch with our mouths gaped as Teddy Higuera mowed down the competition with his fastball. As I grew, my focus changed from baseball to football, but the memories are equally as clear; I can feel the chant of “Go, Pack, Go!” at Lambeau Field or the ear-piercing screams at the Metrodome as if each game were played yesterday. From playing tee-ball, to watching Kirby Puckett bounce off the fiberglass wall in center field, to taking in countless Vikings-Packers games, sports have played a large role in my life. And for better or worse, they will continue to do so.

I play just about any sport. I’m not particularly good at any of them, but I rarely turn down an opportunity to participate. There is something about the competition, the camaraderie and the energy that draws me in. Take basketball for example. I am an atrocious player, but I still enjoy playing. Watching basketball, on the other hand, is akin to torture. I could not sit and watch an entire game on television if you paid me. Take me to the arena and the live action, however, and I love every minute. Somehow, it doesn’t matter who is playing, but the live-action is always better than the on-screen version.

The exception to my live-action rule is football. Perhaps I try to understand the schemes too much, or I have the desire to follow every detail of the game, but I dislike the stadium experience. I rarely miss a televised Packers or Vikings game, but the stadium just doesn’t do it for me. I can’t see the plays, replays are rare, and I am not a fan of waiting in line for food or the bathroom. And yet, despite my objections to watching football at the stadium, I still attend at least one game a year. Such is the life of a sports obsessed fan.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out. When I watch a televised game, I cannot help but notice my eyes wander away from the screen and out the window to catch a glimpse of the fall leaves blowing in the slight breeze of a seventy-degree day. I think about the more than seven hours I will be sitting on the couch watching and writing about football. I wonder to myself, is it worth it? Usually a touchdown pass, a big run or an interception quickly draws me back in to the game, but sometimes, just sometimes, the daydream continues and I wonder about the beautiful day outside of my basement. Despite the temptation of greener grass on the other side of the couch, I almost never unplug myself from the television and enjoy the splendors of nature.

Conversely, when I miss a game entirely, I tend not to look back. There is usually good reason – a wedding, a birthday party, or a vacation – for missing a contest, but it’s always accompanied by a slight feeling of guilt, like I somehow disappointed my favorite athletes. Therein lies the rub with sports and professional athletes; I love them far more than they love me.

I love the athletes because they’re just like me; well, aside from the fact that they possess ridiculous athletic ability. They’re like me because their lives are filled with incredibly stupid acts followed by amazingly selfless ones. They screw up like me, they forgive and forget like me and they have good and bad days like me.

Maybe that’s what makes athletes so magnetic. They represent the best and worst in all of us. We pay $75 to stand around and watch in awe, cheer on our favorites or hurl insults at them. They represent the people we want to be, the best of the best. When they disappoint, we are reminded of our own disappointments and when they succeed we forget about our troubles and celebrate life as it should be lived.

As we gear up for another NFL season, you’re sure to find me glued to the television, at the Metrodome for the annual border battle and on the pages of this blog analyzing, criticizing and applauding. Somehow it doesn’t matter if I love it, hate it or something in between. As certain as the referee’s pre-game coin flip, the cycle of a sports obsessed fan renews each year.

Will my love of sports ever change? I doubt it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Max's Dad permalink
    June 13, 2012 8:55 am

    Great post.

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