So the first weekend in October has almost passed and what a weekend it’s been. You had some amazing college football games yesterday with several Top 10 teams getting beat (along with ANOTHER soul crushing, last second loss by my Huskers). You also have unbelievable intrigue in Major League Baseball because of the wild card situation in the American League. As of this writing Sunday afternoon, either the Astros or the Angels could be set to play three consecutive days of “win or go home” baseball. You also have pre-season Hockey and Basketball…one of the few weekends of the year where all four major sports are in action. It’s amazing time of year for sports fans!
Quick background for perspective…I am a die-hard Huskers, Mavs and Redskins fan. I grew up a huge Orioles fan but kind of gave up on baseball after the strike in 1994 and when Cal retired in 2001. Part of my sports enjoyment also comes from rooting against certain teams:
To round out my “Axis of Hate,” I also have a couple individual players I can’t stand and routinely experience shadenfreude whenever something unpleasant happens to them:
I should also point out that I tend to vote the same way I engage in sports…I don’t normally vote FOR someone (because there is nobody worthy of my vote). No, what I do is vote AGAINST a particular candidate. My greatest claim to fame in politics was 18 years ago when I voted against a guy in the local school board election…an election I would never have taken the time to participate in had this douche not been running for office. Guess what happened? The election ended up in a tie…937 to 937!
Because we have the greatest political process in the world…meaning we are one of a few countries that doesn’t hold elections on the weekend…the two candidates ended up drawing straws to determine the winner and the person I voted for won! You bet your ass I made sure everyone knew I kept that guy from becoming part of the school board…because if the truth be known…I can be a bit of a jerk too.
What’s my point in all this? I don’t know…I lost my train of thought. Oh yeah…why do we (you, me and other sports fans) watch sports?
I’m days away from my 55th birthday, which happens to bother the hell out of me because I am pretty certain I’m going to end up as a footnote on Nietzsche’s Wikipedia page. I’ve been doing a lot of reflection the past few weeks and wondered why do I enjoy watching football, basketball, soccer (OK that last one is a joke…I’d rather C-SPAN than soccer)…is it for the competition or is it for the entertainment value? A year ago I didn’t watch much football or basketball because the woman I was dating hated sports. She was beautiful, funny and a great cook so I figured I’d try and make it work. Plus she was my equal in being a smart ass and women like that are few and far between. I had a lot less grief in my life because I didn’t have to suffer through the Redskins horrific season; Bo Pelini’s last season as the Husker’s coach or the first half of the Mavs season…which actually was the best part of their season up until, “The Rondo Incident.”
I remember thinking about what I was missing…I still watched some sports but I wasn’t into the passion like I had been in earlier years. Alas, the relationship that could have survived her not liking sports couldn’t survive me hating camping. She sold all her stuff; bought an RV and is roaming the western part of the U.S. We still stay in touch, trade smart ass comments and make each other laugh. Which brings me back to my question…do I enjoy “sports” for the competition or for the entertainment? Most people would argue both but I am starting to wonder if that’s healthy…especially for fans like me who can be a “little high strung.”
I used to think there was something wrong with me (according to the Oklahoma Bar Association there is…don’t think I don’t wear that badge of honor with extreme pride!) because the enjoyment I got from a Husker, Mavs or Redskins win was never equal to the sorrow from a loss. One of the reasons I become a bigger NBA fan was there are 3 to 4 games a week…if the Mavs lose on Monday they have another chance to win the next night or the night after that, whereas in football you have to wait a whole week! I learned that I wasn’t the only person with this perverted sense of “fanmanship.” There are others that take the losses far worse than they enjoy the wins.
The last two Saturday’s have been glorious…watching numerous games between 11:00 a.m. and 10 p.m. I’ve experienced the joys of watching games where I don’t really care who wins but LOVE the entertainment of these games coming down to the wire and not worrying about the outcome being “life or death.” I also get caught up on my reading and decompress from the workweek.
Sundays are fun too if I stay away from any game involving Danny Synder’s team. If you don’t have “NFL Redzone”…check with your doctor to see if your heart is healthy enough (I’m not joking) and if you get a passing physical be ready to enjoy 7 straight hours of “epileptic seizure inducing” game highlights.
So as I’ve gotten older and hopefully a tad wiser, I’ve come to realize that it’s “just sports”…I am not going to dwell on the competition aspect but instead treat it like a movie or TV show. Enjoy the entertainment and try not to get pissed off over losses that don’t have any bearing on my life. Wish me luck!!!!
Bill Becker is the Founder and “Chief Creative Dude” of WeekendSportsUpdate.com. You can follow him on Twitter @weekendsportsup.