Okay. Don't tell anyone, but I'm not exactly what you might call a sports fanatic.
I know. Shocking, isn't it?
All my life, the appeal of organized sports has pretty much eluded me. One of my "manly" genes must never have kicked in when I was an adolescent, leaving me more likely to shop at the mall than hang out at the municipal basketball courts.
Even the few sports that have endeared themselves to me have been left by the wayside. Baseball, for instance. During my teen years, few things were as important as rushing home from school to watch the Mets on channel 9. A really great day meant I could catch the end of the first game of a double-header, followed by the entire second game. These days I'm lucky to make it to one Durham Bulls game each summer.
The thing is, I "get" baseball. It makes sense to me. From the pitcher-batter duel to the sudden burst of activity in the field when a ball is struck into play, I understand the purpose of both the individual performances and the collaborative efforts of the offensive and defensive units. When two equally-matched teams meet on the field, it can be a wonderous thing to experience.
I just don't feel the same way about basketball, hockey, NASCAR, or even football.
When I was in college at SUNY Plattsburgh in upstate New York, our university had one of the best hockey teams in its division. I think it cost all of $6 for students to attend the games back then. You know how many I went to? None. You know why? Because I couldn't possibly, not even if you paid me to try, care less about hockey. When the NY Islanders won the Stanley Cup season after season, I lived only a short bike ride from their arena. I might have high-fived an enthusiastic friend or two at school, but it meant nothing to me.
Football games can be infectious, thanks to the repetitive scattering of bodies in every direction and the potential for dramatic plays, but that's about it for me. I know more about the sport than, say, my mother, but significantly less about it than the average 10-year-old boy.
Sports like basketball, hockey and soccer share the same problem, for my tastes. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth... After about five minutes, I'm done. Sure, if I had a deeper understanding of the nuances I might appreciate them more, but I'm just not interested.
At least racecar drivers keep things moving in the same direction. Although, while that might ameliorate my indignation at the zero net distance I associate with the back-and-forth sports, I still don't understand the excitement of someone driving hundreds of miles in a tight circle. Go to the mall and try walking just hundreds of yards in a tight circle and you'll be talking to security before you reach lap 50.
So, there you have it. I have confessed to being less testosterone-driven than the average man.
You can hold out hope for me, if you want to, but you should know something. This July, when we pack up the kids and drive to Durham for our annual Bulls game, I'll probably be just as excited about shopping at Streets at Southpoint mall before the game as I will be about attending the game itself.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler