Funny thing about sports: you’re either a fan or not. I guess I’m not. Except when I am.
I’m definitely a supporter of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’ve had season tickets for the last couple of years, if that means anything. And yet there are times I’m at a game and couldn’t tell you the name of a particular player. Those call-ups get me every time. Even if I know they’re coming, I don’t know their number (and my eye-sight isn’t good enough to read the name on their back). And I’m not so involved that I could tell you who even the major players are on the other team (usually).
Then you get into other sports. Pirates (Go Bucs!), I’ll have the game on if I’m sitting in front of the television because I like to have some sound. I could even tell you a couple of the players. Steelers, absolutely. Heck, I’ll even watch other football games that don’t include Pittsburgh teams. I’ve never seen a MLS game, but I started following Juventus in whatever league they happen to be playing (if that isn’t confusing). Basketball, I was a scorekeeper for years in high school and college but can’t stand professional games. I will be watching the NCAA Championship game tonight (Go Zags!), however. Gymnastics, tennis, ice skating, downhill skiing … the list goes on.
So, why do I — someone who has the smallest of sporty bones in my body — care about sports? Is it a way to feel connected? Because I think I’ve posted on here before how cool it is that you can connect with someone so different from you in so many ways when you share a love for a sport or team. Is it just something to fill our time? Why not just get into stamp collecting or word-search puzzles, if that’s the case? Does it improve our sense of self? “My” team is winning so I am a winner? Or even “my” team is losing, but we’ve got a lot of heart? Maybe it’s just that I’m impressed with people’s abilities that outstrip my own … much in the same way that a great pianist or singer will hold my attention.
I don’t know the answer.
I do know that hockey playoffs start soon and I’ll be rearranging my work schedule to make the home games.