I do. I have always hated sports since I was a little kid. Every few years, I try to like sports, but I end up failing miserably. Last year, I tried to take an academic approach, but that went nowhere. It seems that whatever part of my male brain sports is supposed to go is a dark hole where nothing returns. I swear, someone could tell me a rule over and over again, and minutes later, I will have forgotten it. I can remember D&D stats from when I was a teen, for chrissakes, but I don't know... man, it's so bad, I can't even think of what I don't know. Words like "pennant" and "hockey" and "foosball" I know, but only from another point of view.
I am not even sure why I hate them that much. I go along, not even thinking about sports, and then someone on TV mentions some baseball thing, and I get all pissed off like, "This isn't news! Who the hell cares?" Well, experience refutes my logic: a lot of people care. Enough that it's a multi-billion dollar industry, TV news devotes about 25% of all news coverage towards it, and people talk about it so much, it's only second to an ice breaker when people talk about the weather. So why do I forget they exist, and then get mad when I hear about them?
Well, part of it has to be embarrassment. "How about them Redskins?" some parent asks at some parent function. "Did you see how Dan Flouter gooped the nip nock at the 40 yard penalty call? I swear if coach Smith doesn't fneeb the norphin, he's going to take 30 points and send the team back to next month when they lost the flag over Syracuse!" I have to either nod, hoping they just wanted someone to listen to them, or if they want a response, I have to say, "I, uh... I don't follow sports." Reactions vary to that, and I wish I could say everyone brushes it off, but I get far too many people backing away from me like I just said, "On Mars, the high concentration of carbon dioxide makes our voices sound like frog croaks, quite the opposite of helium! Ha ha ha [snort snort] haaaa!" Some ask, "S-so... what DO you follow?" like the very concept of not following sports is so foreign, that they have never actually considered a life without sports. Like if I had said, "I am sorry, I don't eat food."
Part of it is also when sports games interrupt TV shows I wanted to watch. I hate that. When I was a kid, I was allowed to watch TV very little, and most of that was what I managed to sneak in without my parents knowing. So when I wanted to watch the Muppet Show, and it was pre-empted by sports, I got furious! That's like only having one sunny day to do mow your shaggy lawn, and that day, someone borrowed your mower. I find myself shouting, "They have cable channels for this!" This is probably not a fair thing to say, being that separatist about public airwaves. But I feel if people want their sports so much, they shouldn't mind paying for it, or at least changing to a sports channel. Obviously, I am missing the point. Part of the reason I don't watch broadcast TV much anymore is the threat that sports games will have bumped up my show, or even more irritatingly, "continue with your show, already in progress." They also lie with their timers. The clock says they only have 4 minutes to go, and then half an hour later, you're watching people wander about the field while the 100th timeout some coach called is being reviewed on their little TV screen. "Yep. That's a ball, all right." Some channels will even continue with some half-hour post-game show where old players and newscasters talk about what they've just seen, with slow motion replays. And they talk and talk an talk and talk... about nothing. Over and over.
A friend of mine who loved European sports told me that one of the most irritating things about American sports is that announcers talk thought everything. It's obvious they have run out of stuff to say, but keep talking anyway. I feel all of sports is like that: it doesn't seem to have a point, or any progression. Just a bunch of people worried about a ball or flag or something, and then when they get to their final big game, someone wins, and then they do it all over again next season. I just don't get the big deal. I guess I wish people would get worked up over politics, economics, science, or something. But I also know that sports plays a vital role in the cultural psyche: even the Romans knew that. Sports is the original opiate of the masses.
I also wonder how much of my past this has to do with. My father never played sports with me, nor did he watch sports. But I hated him, so it would stand to reason I would like sports just to spite him, and that didn't happen. Maybe it's because most of the bullies that I hated were also jocks. Not really. Most of the bullies were losers who couldn't make the sports team. Is it because I hated gym? Maybe, but we didn't play many sports in gym. Most of it seemed to be stuff like gymnastics, track and field, dancing, and exercises, and so on. More Olympian stuff. We did play football, softball, soccer, and basketball, but for only a small part of the year. And I hated sports BEFORE I hated PE or gym.
I try and analyze my anger. I have discussions with myself about it. What alarms me most is the black hole where information goes in and never comes out. It's discomforting to think that a specific part of my knowledge is unrecoverable, almost like an Alzheimer's of a sort. There are two lines of reasoning I have with this: I am repressing something, or literally some part of my brain is dead (like a clump of dead cells). Neither is very comforting. If it's repressing, I fear that one day, something may break, and a flood of bad memories may erupt and I won't be able to handle them. If it's a dead part of my brain, why is it dead? Is it spreading? How come I can't rewire it? It must be a repression. But of what? Why is it getting worse with age?
At least I got over hating people who liked sports. I harkened it to "everyone has a hobby," but part of me feels bad I will never know or understand this hobby that is so popular, it almost makes me an outcast among normal adults. At work, we all used to be nerds. Now, it seems like half the people are into sports... like the "normal people" are invading my space. And I can never be into what they are into, it's like a secret language. The worst embarrassment occured a while ago, at a corporate function, when some big guy in a suit asked me if I followed some team. I said I didn't follow sports that much. He asked what I did instead and I said I work or spend time with my family, which came out wrong like I was accusing him of not working or spending time with his family. He smiled anyway, and excused himself. Later, I found out he owned some local team. And I was an idiot for not knowing this.
So it would be great if I could get to know sports. But unless I figure out what's wrong with me, I'll never get it.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000258.html