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The Seventh Inning Stretch

December 7th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

People often ask me why I hate sports or poke fun at the fact that I don’t watch them. I hope you are ready to read because today the gloves come off.

First and foremost I want to put the disclaimer out there that I have nothing but respect for the ability of good athletes. They can jump, they can catch, they can run, they can do all of the things that us bookworms generally don’t do well. I also want to put out there that this is not an attack on the people who watch sports or participate in them. It isn’t my place to judge what you do in your free time and what interests you. I may disagree with your practices, but it doesn’t mean I think you are a bad person. Hugs and kisses and all that crap.

With that said…

I don’t watch sports. I don’t like sports. At times they are overrated. Why? Glad you asked.

1) Fans – Oh boy, where do I begin? There are fans out there willing to beat you up or kill you because you bad mouthed their team. There are fans out there who paint their body two different colors and run around topless in cold weather to prove that they fit in. There are fans out there that can quote statistics from 1972 but have the gall to call people like me nerds. Diehard sports fans are some of the biggest nerds I know of, they just happen to like something more socially accepted than I do so it’s perfectly okay to go public with it.

I’d rather see this than a half-naked man with a letter on his chest, just sayin’.

There are fans out there that automatically assume you watch sports because that is THE one common thing all human beings share, the love for watching grown men grope each other on the field in the name of competition. I’m sick of being lumped into the generalization that all people love sports and to top that off, that because I’m from Pittsburgh, I get a raging Chuck Norris for all things Steelers. When I tell these kinds of people I don’t like sports they act like a deer caught in headlights. Suddenly, every preplanned conversation bit they practiced in their mirror at home went to hades and they realize that they have no social skills to come up with something else to talk about.

It seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, that there are fans out there who say they like sports just so they can fit in. They are so insecure about themselves or so afraid to be their own person that they have to pretend to be someone they are not. I admit, I did that when I was younger and it bit me in the behind later on. Lesson learned.

Don’t get me started about fans and Facebook…holy cow. Every five seconds I receive an update about what is going on in a game. This behavior is supposedly okay but when I quote lines from “The Best of Both Worlds”, an episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation, people get annoyed with me. How come you’re allowed to do it but I’m not? I’d truly like an answer.

Oh yeah, that’s right…because I don’t like sports.

2) Kids – I hate that they have sports teams for grade school, middle school, and high school students. Kids have no business being in a sport that could possibly cause them or others injury. Do you know how many seconds it takes for a bad hit to leave a child paralyzed for the rest of their life?

Every year, three point five million kids suffer sports related injuries. About eight hundred thousand kids are treated in the emergency room annually, most of which occur due to collision with a person, collision with an object, falling be it correctly or not, and / or exertion. Brain injury is the leading cause of death in children who are injured while participating in sports.

Take Soccer…a non-contact sport where using your hands isn’t allowed. What could possibly go wrong?

What bothers me is how fast parents are willing to support this kind of competition. It’s not only parents who support this kind of practice, but schools and society. I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t subject my child to that kind of activity because that is supposedly what all of the other parents are doing. If it makes me unpopular or overprotective then so be it.

Kids go to school to study and learn…that is where their minds (and bodies) should be. You could be the greatest athlete in the world but the moment an injury takes that away from you, all you have left is your brain and the various skills you’ve learned over the years. Companies don’t hire you because you used to be a hotshot athlete, they hire you because of your work ethic, mental capacity / proficiency, and job experience.

People often rationalize risk taking by thinking “It could never happen to me.” Bullcuckie. When something DOES happen people feign ignorance and act surprised. Your kid was being hit by a Mack truck repeatedly for two hours. What the hell did you think was going to happen?

May or may not be to scale.

3) Players – I admit, some players act like or are genuinely good role models. Those players are few and far between however. I’ve seen players blame their mistakes on others. I’ve seen players display unprofessional attitudes during the game and after the game. I’ve seen the amount of money they are paid and that alone makes me taste what I had for breakfast a week ago. Some sports players, not all, are cocky dungbeatles that think they are a gift to women and should receive special treatment.

Pittsburgh recently tore down Three Rivers Stadium where the Pirates and Steelers shared a field and two new separate fields were built for them. Was Three Rivers Stadium falling down? Was it old? It was built in 1970; my house was built in the 1890′s…you tell me. The idea was proposed that a new stadium be built for the Pirates and the Steelers would keep Three Rivers. As predicted, the Steelers’ ownership said that wasn’t good enough. People are losing their jobs and we go on ahead and knock down a thirty year old stadium to build two new ones to appease sports players who make a crapton of money already? Are priorities that screwed up?

I get that sports in itself is an industry and one very profitable for those running the show, but seriously, how many of those players need to be paid a couple hundred thousand dollars for wiping their nose on camera? How many of them need to be paid millions to toss a ball into a hoop? What about the teachers who educate our children to help them be successful? What about the police officers and firemen who put their lives on the line every day? How about the doctors, scientists, and the researchers who have the potential to cure cancer? Are any of those people necessary for the survival of the human race paid even remotely close to what the average sports player makes? No. Doesn’t it make you somewhat angry that you are busting your behind eight to twelve hours a day and barely make ends meet, but had you been recognized for running and catching a ball you’d have been a millionaire by now?

I’m sorry, but favoring and rewarding athletic ability over scholastic ability is one hundred percent wrong. Leonardo Da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Steven Hawking, Charles Darwin, Galileo Galilei, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Nikola Tesla, Martin Luther King Jr., Neils Bohr, Sigmund Freud, William Shakespeare…in one way or another these people changed the world in which we live, and I was just naming a few. Michael Jordan, who shoots a round ball into a hoop, has his own line of shoes and made over thirty million dollars in the 1997-98 NBA season. Yes…ONE SEASON. Doesn’t that make you sick?

Michael Vick still makes more than you do. Fact.

I’ve seen news stories about certain teams donating here and there though it makes me wonder how much of it is for publicity. When John Smith, a gas station attendant from the South Hills donates to the Goodwill, do we see a grand display of charity on the news? No. How many millions of dollars does the NFL or NHL make a year and how much of that is unselfishly given to help our country and its people grow?

4) Workplace and Society – Some sports teams are more popular than others. Some cities, like mine, are so obsessed with their sports teams that companies allow people to wear a sports jersey to work, say, on a Friday, to support their team. That is pretty unprofessional and discriminating. Am I allowed to wear my Starcraft shirt to work? No. Am I allowed to come in to work with a Starfleet uniform on? No. Am I allowed to come to work dressed like Frodo with the guy I hired to follow me around who, every half hour, announces that he is sworn to protect the precious? No. Maybe if I dressed up as Gandalf and threw in some sports verbiage I’d be okay? Turns out no.

YOU…SHALL NOT…PASS…The line of scrimmage.

It’s not okay because it’s not as popular. Think about that sentence. We, the company, will only support and allow you, the employee, to support the things that we and / or society thinks is the most important or popular.

I had a boss once who found out I hated sports so she put a Steeler sign in my cubicle. I promptly took it to the bathroom and took care of business. When she asked where it was I told her I had disposed of it, though I was tempted to tell her what had happened to it and which of the supposedly terrible towels hanging around the office I had used to wipe up with afterwards. She then printed out another copy of the sign and jokingly ordered me to keep it on my desk. I took a piece of tape and taped it flat to the underside of my desk where no one would see it. Technically, it was still on my desk.

It’s just unfortunate that we, as in society, can only publicly celebrate the things that only the majority of people like, even if it’s not for all of the right reasons.

5) Sports are Linear – I mentioned above that I thought sports were overrated. How many sports do you know of where the fans have any direct impact on the outcome of the game? Not many, if any. Sports are a form of entertainment and a rather noninteractive one at that.

One of the few ways fans can become involved is to make up fantasy sports teams and compete with one another. Sometimes there is even a mediator whose sole purpose isn’t to play at all but to help organize things and make sure the players don’t cheat. They follow a set of rules and the winner, in the end, receives either money or bragging rights. Hmmm…a game based on fantasy where people makeup teams and players that sometimes have a Game Master who both work and compete against each other to win in the end? Sound familiar?

All we need are a set of dice and we have a new expansion for Dungeons and Dragons.

Professional sports by themselves are mainly for viewing purposes and I find that extremely boring. I like being able to think, interact, and to problem solve. Watching cars fly around a circular track for hours hoping for an accident to spice things up is both morbid and hardly entertaining.

Luckily, there are ways for people like me to experience the sport and its rules without having to watch it. Yep, video games. I learned sports from video games. I learned hockey from NHL 92/93 on the Sega Genesis. Do I follow or watch it now? Hell no. As far as I know, Tom Borrasso is still our goalie, Lemieux is still our center, Jagr and Stevens are still the wingmen, and Tocchet and Murphy are still playing defense. Playing the game was fun because there was no risk to anyone being injured and it was interactive. Watching it on the other hand…

Why settle for watching it when you can PLAY it?


Well my word count has far exceeded my average so I’ll stop there. I am sure I can expect a lot of hate mail, but at least I’ll know which of my friends aren’t willing to accept someone who is different from society’s norm. In fact, you’ll just be proving my point and I wouldn’t want to be your friend anyway. It’s how I feel and I’m not likely to change my viewpoint any time soon. So the next time you see me quoting random nerdy things on Facebook, you’ll know that I saw something recently about sports and am making a point. My post looks just as silly as yours when viewed by people who don’t care about said topic.

Support your team, do what you like, be involved with what you are interested in, but do not assume that because you and many others like one thing that I will too. Respect those that don’t. That includes driving around at night honking your horn, waking me up, because your team won a game. I don’t do that when I win a game of Starcraft, even if it’s against a Korean, and neither should you.

Let’s see if you learned anything…

Pop Quiz: What caused the guy in the below photo to burn a couch?

A) His sports team won.

B) He heard that Stargate Universe was being cancelled at the end of season two.

C) He mistook Oakland for Minas Tirith and lit a signal fire to signal Rohan that Gondor needed help. (Bonus points to those who get that)

When’s the last time you saw this happen at a chess tournament?

If you said “A”, you’d be correct. Silly I know, but some of us prefer not to get drunk, lose self-control, and burn couches all in the name of their favorite team. Pittsburgh had to pass a law…yes…PASS A LAW to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Just food for thought.

As always, thank you for reading. Please remember that the above is my opinion on the subject and should not be construed as a personal attack against you or anyone in particular. Hugs and kisses.

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