Sports. It seems they’re a topic of conversation in our society everywhere you go. The competitive drive, the tailgate parties, the moments of touchdowns and home runs and goals. The high of a victory, the thrill of running the ball, the low of a fumble or strike, the hush before a play . . . No matter the sport, blood, sweat, and tears thread the fabric of athletic performance. It seems everyone has a love of the game.
Everyone, that is, but me. I realize I’m the odd man out, born with an overall sport-inhibitive genetic makeup. When the conversation turns to ‘who-just-beat-who’ or ‘who-just-scored-what’ at a party, I automatically tune out, wandering on to the next group in search of a new topic. When I rifle through the newspaper, the sports section immediately gets shoved to the side without so much as a curious glance. And the drone of a sports commentator calling each play over a televised or radio broadcasted game? Forget it. In my mind, few things are less annoying. Personally, it summons dusty memories of the infamous teacher on Charlie Brown. You know the one . . .“Whaa-whaa-whaa-whaa-whaa…”
I do enjoy attending most live sporting events but, I admit, it’s the excitement in the air and the social aspect of the outing that I find makes it exciting, not so much what actually happens on the field or court. (I know, I know. It’s terrible!) I’ve tried to get my head in the game and have struggled to conjure the passion I see bursting from others around me. But, to my dismay, I still find myself looking up from a conversation when the crowd goes wild, wondering what the heck just happened.
There was one tiny exception to my otherwise aloof-minded outlook on sports. Twenty years ago, I fell for this guy, a die-hard soccer fan and player. (Of course, you knew it would involve a guy, right?) I’d stand on the sidelines of his games, talking, laughing, and cheering for a win. It was still a social gathering, but I found I did actually want them to win because I wanted a victory for him. I loved to watch him move up and down the field, and I loved the way he loved the game. I knew it made him whole, and in some way that completed me too.
Lucky girl, I’m still married to that guy. And, yes, he still loves soccer (along with about every other sport on the planet). Sports are a big part of his family, each of his three brothers playing at least something competitively. His dad was once a football player, an avid golf player, and even coached golf at the college level. These last few weeks, there’s been some conversation on the general topic of sports in the family, as our thirteen-year-old nephew, a fanatical sports enthusiast and athlete, has recently and unfortunately landed himself in a full leg cast. My sister-in-law commented with her personal viewpoint on the matter, “There is life without sports, and it’s quite wonderful too!” I couldn’t agree more, but my brother-in-laws immediately began to chime in about the importance of discipline, inward happiness, fine motor skills, and competitiveness. One even mentioned they wouldn’t be who they are today without sports, a sentiment echoed by my very own husband.
After some contemplation, I realized it comes to this—I love the love others have for the game and the satisfaction they get from it. I could sit contently, listening to the personal stories and success behind the athletes who give all for a game they love. It’s the people behind the game that draw me in.
But, ask those who know me well and you’ll get the cold, hard truth: physically, I’m certain I’ll never truly embrace the world of athletics (and, trust me, I’m doing us all a favor). After far too many over-the-handle-bar-accidents, resulting in broken bones and chipped teeth as a kid, I’ve even given up on the concept of nostalgic family bike rides. I’ll never play an organized sport—kickball on our neighborhood street with childhood friends was the extent of that for me. I also won’t wear out too many pairs of running shoes, except perhaps while chasing my kids. A friend ran the Boston Marathon last month and joked about me joining her next year. (Ha! She so knows better!) Fortunately, though, I’ve somehow inherited the important values that often come with sports—determination, disciple, motivation, an understanding of fairness, and a fearless competitive drive. For me, that’s enough.
And for my husband, who leaves every game possible on every television in our house all at the same time? (Yes, he’s obsessed with TVs almost as much as sports.) Well, I’ll keep running around the house and turning them off in his absence, first with a sigh and then with a smile. Why? Because, ultimately, it is an indication that he is here—a reminder of who he is and what he loves—and the happiness and comfort that fills me because of that far surpasses any annoyance toward the hum of any game. ♥
What about you? Are you a competitor, a spectator, or the feed-‘em-lots-of-wonderful-food-and-party-when-it’s-over type? (In case you haven’t figured it out, I’ll have to go with option number three.)