Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Sports Fanatic

I've never been a huge sports guy, but I've always been able to BS any conversation about sports.

You know, those people that can spout off the most ridiculous stats. In college, I found myself surrounded by people. I had a room-mate that knew all the stats of every highschool football player in Missouri. I had two other room-mates that would go back and forth for hours about baseball stats... from the 1980s... when we were less than six years old.

Hockey is the only sport I can have a semi-knowledgeable conversation about. But for the past few years, I've felt this need to educate myself a little more. See if knowledge encourages loves for the sport because the intense emotions attached with sports have never made sense to me.

It's an experiement that has worked in some ways and not in others. My love for the World Cup and Premier League football has grown. It helps that I now am great friends with an Englishman, know the owner of a soccer bar, and team USA had a great run this year.

Baseball I'll never get. I find the game boring. Not even downing beer after beer at a game can numb the pain of sitting in the heat, watching a play happen every few minutes.

Football I can understand the love obsession with, but having the Rams as your hometown team doesn't help passion grow.

During this experiment I tried to figure out what made people so passionate about their team.

At first I thought maybe it was a religious experience. Soon I found this not to be true, because too often people turn to God when their team is having trouble.

Then I thought maybe it was just the sport, but too often my buddies are too drunk by the end of the game to really know what's going on.

So naturally I thought it was a social aspect, but hell, half my friends will sit at home alone watching a NASCAR race or football game.

Then I realized its local pride.

It's hard to be patriotic for America because so much of what our country represents is out of our control. People like Terry Jones, the Westboro Baptist Church, or hell, even our politicians give our country a horrible world rep, but freedom rings true and there's not much we can do to stop these maniacs.

We can't be pride-filled for Earth until the aliens start arriving.

That's not even including religious extremists, terrorist, and haters the world round that at any moment, for no justified reason, can kill you just for going about your day.

Sports are on such a local level, that there's almost this feeling of control there. You know your enemy, Cubs or Red Wings fans, and they know you. There aren't any suicide bombs, corrupt politicians, or book burnings. There's just two different colored jerseys, beer drinking fans, and a 2-4 hour event to prove who's better.