Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sports Talk

Baseball season has started again. I know this not because I’m a fan of the game, but because my Red Sox obsessed friends suddenly started mentioning it in their Facebook status updates. Thus begins another sports season, which means all summer there will be conversations in which I cannot participate.

I was not born with the sports gene. I was never a strong athlete as a kid, and the shame of being a boy who’s not good at sports pretty much sucked all of the interest in them from me like a dry sponge in a bathtub of water. Now that I’m an adult male, and thankfully not measured by my athletic abilities, or lack thereof, I’ve come to respect sports and even like them somewhat. At least I like the competitive aspect of them. But since I’ve spent the majority of my life actively avoiding things that require you to buy equipment and keep score (video games excepted), I know very little about them. Sure, I know the basic rules to most of the major games, but I’m lost when it comes to players and stats—the two factors that make up 99.67% of sports talk.

It’s too daunting a task to try to get up to speed on a particular sport, which would be like trying to learn how to speak a new language or play an instrument. It would take a frustratingly long time and suck up the remainder of my rare and precious free time. Besides, my brain is already filled with movie trivia and Simpsons quotes, I'm not sure if I can add anything else without running the risk of losing important information like my wife's birthday or my social security number. I’ve tried to join betting pools, thinking that if I have money on the line, I’ll be motivated to study. Turns out that me joining a pool is the equivalent of walking up to a stranger on the street and handing them a wad of cash.

Because I’m ignorant about sports, I’m left out of a lot of conversations. Get a bunch of guys together and sports is guaranteed to come up at some point. When this happens, I’m left ignorantly nodding my head, trying to keep up with the barrage of facts and figures that have no relevance for me in the slightest.

It’s worse in one-on-one situations. A guy will never ask another guy, “Do you like sports?” The sports assumption is always made with questions like, “What sports do you follow?” or, “Who’s your team?” or the trickiest query, “What did you think of the game last night?” When faced with one of these questions, my admission of my non-sports status is usually met with a puzzled and disapproving look that says, “Why don’t you go stand in the corner and knit a sweater or something?”

When in my office, guys don’t understand that the picture on my desk of the Bean wearing a football jersey and holding a beer and a remote is a joke. They view it as an invitation to talk sports. The subsequent explanation about the picture is both wordy and uninteresting. It’s hard to explain irony.

I secretly hope that my kids get into sports, so that I will be forced to bone up in order to better communicate with them. However, growing up under my roof it’s more likely that my kids will watch Bugs Bunny than baseball.

So as this summer’s barbeque season approaches, I know that I will find myself at a party, drifting from one sports conversation to the next, until I inevitably wander over to a group of women who are talking about TV.

However, I don’t watch “American Idol” either.



SciFi Dad said...

I never played sports, but I follow them enough to be conversational, except football, which I can discuss with a bit deeper understanding.

I don't assume other men follow sports though, mainly because some of them follow pretend sports like soccer or rugby.

Cameron said...

I played sports in school, but I quit following most sports, mainly because I figured out that a lot of them are lame. After Michael Jordan retired, I quit watching basketball. After Ozzie Smith and the rest of the 'good' Cardinals quit, I gave up baseball. The only 'sport' I now watch is Nascar...I know, I know, it's not a sport (it's a way of life). Nascar is a little more relatable, because they hit people with their cars, and I often wish I could hit the jack-ass in front of me with my car.

Anyway, here's what you should do....when somebody says, "Did you see that game last night?", you should reply with, "No man, I was watching that kick-ass jai alai tournament, did you see that on ESPN telemundo?"

kyooty said...

if it helps, my hubbie doesn't watch sports, but cartoons?? yeah

Amy said...

I am so happy that it is baseball season. That is my favorite sport. My team is not doing that great right now.

Halftime Lessons said...

Wow...you and I are two of a kind. No sports knowledge, no interest.

But careful about getting too engrossed in your sports conversation with the guys..cuz while you're obsessing, I'm sidling over to whisper with your wife...

Great to find my twin!


Daddy Geek Boy said...

Halftime...You and I need to hit some bbq's this summer.

Kyooty...It does help to know there are others out there.


Cameron...that's brilliant. Until the moment when I run across somebody who knows what I'm talking about. I live in LA, it could happen.

SciFi...I think this is one of the few areas where we don't seem to be exactly alike.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

HUH??? you don't watch American Idol??? I don't understand...I can't put my mind around that. I get the sports..but Americna idoL?

What about So You Think You Can Dance? You watch that right? Please tell me you watch that? America's Next Top Model...America's Best Dance Crew...I'm throwing you a rope here! :)

M said...

Although I can't realate on not knowing a whole lot about sports, I can kind of relate to the conversations. I get the same weird looks when I jump into a conversation about sports and know exactly what I'm talking about.

I don't know if they feel threatened or just think I'm a freak.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I don't follow sports either. Well, I do like hockey. I used to go to Flyers games but since I became a mom, forget it. I've got too many playdates to keep track of let alone stats and players.

And I don't do American Idol either. I simply don't get that show. There must be other men out there like you who are not into sports. Really. You just have to find them.

TentCamper said...

I am the same in a lot of ways. I love sports...well some of them. Football, hockey, soccer. that does not mean that I can recite stats and know names and dates and stuff. when I talk about sports it is mostly like, "You see that game? close one!! Love them exciting games." That is about it for me...then I start nodding and smiling

Amber said...

You do know that once you try and memorize new things that your memory won't actually let you choose what you loose to make room right?

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