Why I Don’t Watch Sports Jan12


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Why I Don’t Watch Sports

Being a non-sports guy in a sports guy’s world

So the other week Dave posted an article about why he watches sports, which got me thinking about my own entertainment viewing philosophy.  Before I begin, let me say that I completely get where Dave is coming from and understand why a three-point shot in the last seconds of the game for a huge upset win is a big deal.  There is something pretty incredible about a whole community being able to come together and cheer over a huge victory like that.  These moments are often few and far between for the average sports watcher, however, and yet your average male still follows sports like its his job.  Guys have been obsessing about their public contests since even before the main source of sport-like entertainment was men running at each other with swords.  I am not here to dispute the draw of sports nor to diminish its appeal.  I am writing to increase awareness that there are people out there who may be similar to me and to offer some suggestions to the Average Joe who may be in a similar predicament.

So there it is. I am a 30-year-old male who likes most stereotypical “guy” things, including gadgets, cars, beer, attractive women, and video games, with one glaring exception– I do not like sports.  Well, maybe that isn’t quite accurate. I can attend a live sporting event with mild enthusiasm, especially if it’s baseball or hockey.   I might be somewhat interested in an important game involving one of the Chicago sports teams for a time.  I do have the capability of getting excited during a great play or a close match that goes down to the wire.  However, that is where my interest ends.  I do not spend 60% of my time at work tabbing over to espn.com to check scores and stats, I find the sports section of the paper less exciting then the obituaries, and I probably sit down and watch any given sporting event from start to finish a grand total of once or twice a year.  Why is this?  Well, to start things off, here are some reasons:

It’s just too much work

There are dozens of sports teams, each with dozens of players, in every major league, and then you have college sports, where those numbers triple.  On top of that, each team may play several games in a given week.  If you follow only a few teams, you are talking about a 15-20 hour commitment per week if you want to keep up on the action.  I mean I have a hard enough time keeping straight the names of my coworkers;, now I have to memorize key players of just about every team in the nation in order to have a conversation with another dude?  Nope, I am sorry, but I have too many other interests to follow sports even a bit.

I am cursed with sports

I think one reason I never really caught the sports bug is that I was never particularly good at them when I was growing up.  Now, I don’t think I was awful, and in a couple sports I thought I actually had some skill.  But for the most part, I wasn’t the “first pick in kickball” sort of athlete nor was I being recruited by any major colleges for my athletic prowess.  It was clear from an early age that my time was better spent pursuing my musical talent, for that is what ended up paying for college, not how far I could throw a football.

Another theory is that my sports teams suck.  I grew up in Chicago and had the bad fortune to become a Cubs fan.  I used to watch tons of games when I was in high school, only to be constantly disappointed by the losing-est team in baseball history.  I used to think that the second the Cubs showed any promise and I would start tuning into games is when the team would start completely sucking again.  Not much fun watching sports if you don’t ever get to win at least once in a while…..

I hate the culture

I could rant on for a while about this one.  I detest sports culture and feel it is one of the worst parts of American society.  The rampant commercialization, grandstanding, strikes, lockouts, scandals, drug abuse…these things just turn me off to the whole concept.  Now I fully realize these things exist in all walks of life, including the music industry where I work, but it is so rampant in sports that I almost feel as if the culture glorifies them.  We idolize these athletes who turn out to be drug addicts, rapists, and violent criminals.  But as long as they are scoring wins for the team, we tolerate their imperfections, until it gets to the point where the problems can no longer be ignored.  We hire coaches to make a team win and try and cover up the shady tactics they feel forced to use and then act all surprised when someone finally calls them out on their shenanigans.

Then there is the spectacle.  For example, I find the Super Bowl halftime show to be one of the worst reflections of our society.  What a meaningless and pompous display of excess. I don’t understand how anyone even enjoys that half hour of pure trash and noise.  If you want to have a big name band play a short set, fine. If you want to have a dazzling light show to wow the crowd, I don’t’ even mind that.  But whatever that thing they call a “show” is, it’s not art. Heck, it’s not even entertainment.  Its sort of a “Hey, we’re America and we piss away money on stupid shit” statement more than anything else.

Sports are always so serious as well.  Growing up playing Little League baseball or junior high basketball, I grew to hate them because of the way people reacted when you fucked up.  The names that people call someone who makes an “error” are just about some of the worst words one human being can utter to another.  Apparently missing a pop fly in Little League baseball disqualifies you from your right to exist and proves in fact that you suffer severe mental illness.  No thanks, I’ll stick to music where the worst that can result from a single screw-up is a dirty look from the person sitting next to you.  I am amazed at the darkness this form of “entertainment” brings out in your average sports fan.

So what do you talk about with other guys?

Well, this is one of the tougher things a non-sports fan has to deal with.  There are a plethora of other topics that can be brought up in casual conversation, from work to TV shows to local dining options.  However, I find most typical guys are quite reluctant to truly accept you into their inner circle unless you can show your savvy sports knowledge.  Because let’s be honest, dudes are pretty quiet and simple creatures.  If you can’t talk about sports or sit quietly staring at the flat screen in the sports bar, then you are just setting yourself up for long nights of awkward pauses and mild boredom.

Here are some suggestions for the non-sports guy to still maintain a healthy, non-romantic relationship with the dudes in their life:

1. Take it to the pool table:  This might require some mild skill at pool, which, unfortunately, I don’t have, but it at least is something to do during lulls in the conversation.

2. Drink more:  After 8 or 9 beers, even golf becomes more entertaining.

3. Do stupid shit:  Doing suggestion #2 tends to help with this one.  It seems guys also enjoy bonding over shared experiences they can later relive and brag about to their friends.

Other than that….well, if there are other non-sports fans out there,I’d love to hear your ideas.  The most important thing is to know that you are not alone in your disinterest in this most manly of passions.

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