I have an antagonistic relationship with sports. My dad was a star pitcher in high school, a brown belt in Karate and coached a Little League team. I liked to draw and not sweat. As his oldest boy, I couldn’t have been anything less than a disappointment, but he was good about not making me feel like one.
I let Dad take me to an Oakland A’s game once because it was in San Francisco and I knew I’d get a hot dog. As far as I was concerned, the only downside to the event was the actual game itself. I knew from Dad’s constant commandeering of the TV that pro baseball games were a lot like golf (and golf, as everyone knows, is boring)—lots of people standing around waiting for a guy to hit a ball with a big stick. The only real difference between the two is that chasing the ball down after the hit involves carts in golf, and running in baseball. Baseball is essentially golf with a track and field component.
At that particular A’s game, Rickey Henderson set a new record for the number of bases stolen over a career. He neither hit the ball nor threw it. Instead, everyone applauded him for running away from the ball a lot successfully. I fell asleep shortly thereafter.
I played two seasons of Soccer when I was in the lower grades, but I didn’t enjoy the experience. The ball seemed to always be gunning for me, and the number of hits I took to the crotch confirmed I wasn’t being paranoid. Really, I should have been grateful. The alternative to being waylaid by the attempted murder of my burgeoning manhood was running back and forth and back and forth across the field. Because someone had decided that soccer is a winter sport, this was unpleasant. Only heavy wheezing and cold, stabbing air through my lungs could make me long for the times after the big hits when I was stuck on the sidelines, holding my breath and doing my best to keep my groin from falling apart.
Now, I’m married and my disdain for sports is a huge asset. My wife also grew up in a house where crowd noise from the television was more common than silence. Since neither one of us watches sports, you’re more likely to hear conversation or the news or (more recently) songs about not biting your friends (thank you, Yo Gabba Gabba). Not saying this is better than sports noise, but it’s better for us.
My aversion to sports can sometimes make it difficult to engage in conversation with my male peers. Thankfully, Star Wars. That seems to be universal. When I meet women who are into sports it weirds me out–I always think they’re lying. I think of females as the sensible sex and when one of them goes off the Reservation like that it really messes with my head.
I understand the point of sports, I think. It builds character. It’s good exercise and teaches you about teamwork and pushes you to achieve more than you thought possible.
I don’t know. I don’t think any of that explains bowling.
Must all males enjoy sports? Also, what can we do about the females who join them? Island or Asylum? Weigh in below!