I want to be a sports fan, I really do.
It seems like so much fun — the cheering, the emotional rollercoaster, the bold-colored body paint.
I like tailgating (mostly the food that’s related). And I like sports-watching parties (mostly the food that’s related). And the company, of course. But as far as that heart-wrenching, emotional connection to the players?
Nada. None. Zilch.
I can’t make it matter to me no matter how hard I try.
One of my husband’s best friends commented on a past blog post of mine about how I wanted to learn to like sports. It was actually one of the best “why/how you should like sports” commentaries I’ve heard to date. (Shout out to Brian).
Learning to enjoy sports 101:
1) The actual game is only about 10% of the story.
2) Learn about the players – positions they play, were they superstars coming out of college/high school? Or were they completely underrated? How long they have been in the league? What are they good or bad at?
3) Learn about the other team – same idea as 2.
4) Always know why the game is important! How close are they to making the playoffs? Does this help seeding? Is it a rivalry game? Etc.
5) Listen to sports radio on the way to work and back home — that’s where you’ll quickly pickup 2-4.
6) Once you have all this info, the game becomes the best reality TV show ever. Anything can happen in sports. The freaking Dallas Mavericks beat the Evil Empire Miami Heat! What an amazing series!!!! Also, the Texas Aggies are going to win a national championship in football this year, so you might as well start with that team. [Editor’s note: Brian is an Ags fan, can you tell?]
6) There is a ton more but I really didn’t want to spend more than 2 minutes thinking about this.
What I liked most about Brian’s comment was Number #2: Learn about the players.
This makes them more than just buff guys in tights, but characters in the intricate story of life.
Did they overcome some amazing feat to accomplish their dream? Do they have a great love story? Are they a good guy or a villain?
These are the things I need to know. But about every player — not just the stars. I need the girls’ version of a stats sheet that features emotional qualities and anecdotes for each player, so during the game I can be like, “Aw, his mama makes great chili, I want him to win.” Or, “That guy left his sweet wife for a centerfold bunny, take ’em down!” Or something along those lines.
I’ve actually enjoyed watching golf lately [golf!] after understanding some of the player’s back stories. However, I will say that golf is easier, simply because there’s really just one person to focus on at a time, rather than the moving mound of look-alikes on the football field.
But bigger than that, I love a good role model. Like a real role model. Sure, I get the value of sports — but when a great athlete is also a man or woman of great integrity, that’s when they’re most powerful.
Like this guy, “The Incredible Albert Pujols:”
[Sorry, you have to click through to the You Tube link — it won’t let me embed it on the blog.]
My Dad sent me this 60 Minutes clip. Albert is an elite athlete — one of the top 10 players in baseball history, in fact. But his most impressive qualities aren’t on the baseball field.
As the video description states: “To people with Down syndrome and the poor of his native Dominican Republic that he helps, he means a lot more than home runs and RBI.” [What’s RBI? Anyone?]
So, I guess instead of just “characters,” I’m most interested in people with character. In role models that not only have God-given talent and incredible determination, but who also use their success to inspire those around them.
That makes me a fan.
“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – Haywood Hale Broun