Go Team!!


Over this past long weekend, I noticed something that has been developing for some time now, i.e., I hardly follow sports anymore.  It took me about two minutes to read the New York Times Sports Sunday section and about a minute to get through Sports Monday.   Sometimes I view this disinterest as a sign of maturity and high-mindedness…that in a world plagued with so many intractable problems I don’t give myself over to such triviality.  But the truth is, the real reason for my apathy is that at this time of year about 94.6% of all sports writing is about college and professional football, neither of which I have any interest in whatsoever.

It’s been this way for as long as I can remember.  Which for many years was a real liability in the man’s world that I inhabited in my  twenties and thirties.  I remember going to work (yes, that happened) on Mondays and all anyone wanted to talk about were the games from the weekend.  I faked it as long as I could and then usually retreated to the bathroom.  Which, believe me, is not a place you want to spend the kind of time that I did.

Over the years there’s been many times that my apathy morphed into antipathy toward the sport.   For some reason, football has always seemed like such a right-wing, conservative adventure to me .  Oh yes, I just remembered some of the reasons.  It may have something to do with those prayer huddles that find their way into game day. ( I’ve always wondered what the team atheist or even rarer, the team Jew did while Jesus was being asked to bless the team with a victory.  And, of course, I’ve also wondered how conflicted Jesus may have felt when the other team was also pleading for a win.  Or, if HE had bigger fish to fry and ignored both of them.)  And then, there is the terrific violence which is glorified by the players, coaches and sometimes, the fans.  This is far from the ethos of the non-violent, pacifist residue of the 1960’s me.; the brutality of the game is certainly a lot closer to the hippie-loathing Republican brand.

Ironically, my avoidance of the sport has an arc that actually mirrors the season.  As it progresses, I get more and more distant from any factoids that might penetrate my metaphorical anti-football helmet.  By the time college Bowl games are being played, I’m well on my way to knowing nothing; and by the time the Super Bowl comes around (which I think is sometime in January), my football non-IQ has fallen to an absolute zero.  A goose egg.

Super Bowl Sunday is my day.  I don’t know who is playing and care even less.  Sometimes I feel like I’m the only straight man in the country not watching.  (I was cautious about writing that last sentence until I heard an interview with a man who is about my age that heads up some gay rights organization.  He explained to the interviewer that at an early age he knew he was gay.  He added that as a young boy he wasn’t interested in playing or following sports;  nor did he collect baseball cards or things like that.  That really confused me.  If that’s how he knew he was gay, where does that leave me?)

I’ve never seen an essay that ends with a parenthetical sentence…which explains this one.


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