HE SAID: Do I Care Too Much about Sports?

July 1, 2009

Last night the Red Sox were leading in a somewhat meaningless regular season game 10-1 in the 7th inning.  They lost the game 11-10.  Kept me up about an extra hour figuring out the different plays that could have kept the game in the Sox favor.

Six weeks ago the Bruins lost Game 7 in overtime, ending their season in traumatic fashion.  Watched the replays until about 2am.  Truth be told, I don’t even like hockey that much.

The Celtics won their first NBA Title a little over a year ago, causing me to giggle like a school girl for about the next week.  The same week that I sported my Kevin Garnett  T shirt every day.

February 14th, 2008 – The Giants shocked the Patriots in the Super Bowl, ending their perfect season and a chance to be known as the greatest team of all time.  I drank myself into oblivion to drown away my sorrows, and puked 4 times at work the next day.  My boss understood, he is a Pats fan too…guess he just handled his liquor better.

fans

Autumn, 2004 – Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years, I buy $500 worth of Sox memorabilia online.  I was making $500 a month as a Minor League Baseball Intern.  Oh, yeah, also blew about $200 at a strip club the night they won because I had just moved to Mobile, Alabama and had no friends to celebrate with.

October 17th, 2003 – Aaron Boone sends a shot of Tim Wakefield for a walk off homerun to end Game 7 in somewhat dramatic fashion.  I turn the TV off before the ball lands and fall right asleep.  Surprising, right? I guess I was mentally drained.  Oh, I guess I should also mention I did not leave my shithole of a college apartment for the next 48 hours.

These are just a few of countless examples of the ups and downs of my life in relation to sports.  So I guess I answered my own question, I probably do care too much about sports.  I guess the follow up would be, is that such a bad thing?

Sure I was about as depressed as Owen Wilson when he was reading suicide books in Wedding Crashers after Boone hit that shot, but I was also probably happier than that same movie character when he was banging hot chicks left and right at the beginning of the movie when the Sox won a year later (hmm, maybe the bigger issue I have is constantly comparing my life to movies, but that’s a separate post altogether).

Some people question the passion I have for sports, or how I can watch game 37 of a 162 game baseball season all the way through.  Fuck it, I enjoy it that’s why.  Go watch your cooking shows or American Idol and leave me be.  I don’t judge.

Basically, I needed to write this post because I freaked myself out a bit at how pissed I was at last nights epic collapse by the Sox.  So I used my readers as my therapists.  Thanks for listening.

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SHE SAID: Do I Care Too Much about Sports?

July 1, 2009

Do you care too much about sports … I might be the wrong person to ask.

Red Sox games in my house as a child were referred to as church, much to the chagrin of my religious mother.  I thought my parents were going to get a divorce when my mother entered the living room during the world series in 1986 and announced she was rooting for the Mets since they were the underdog.  My father, sitting maybe seven inches from the TV, gave her a look that could have started spontaneous fire were it directed upon something that wasn’t comprised of 70% water.

My younger brother learned to read not by stumbling over repetitive sentences about Spot, but by memorizing the sports section every morning.  He retained an impressive amount of information, and knew the fluctuating day to day stats on almost all baseball players.

Sports, when adored and scrutinized to this depth, becomes more than a game.  True fandom encompasses and realizes mathematics, sociology, psychology, art, philosophy, religion, economics … everything.

However, there is a fine line, pointed out to me recently.  It all started with the Bruins.  Game Seven.  2009 playoffs.

I’m going to blame my difficulty in swallowing this loss on my 4 year-old son.  He adores hockey and those of you who don’t know him, might think, oh cute.  But you don’t know my son.  When I say adores, I mean, he went to bed with all 300 of his hockey cards tonight.  Organized by team.  He also sleeps with his hockey sticks, plays hockey games with his lego men, his marbles, and his baseball cards, is constantly, and I mean constantly, quizzing me about which team I would root for in any theoretical match up on the ice, invites anyone who walks in the door to play floor hockey with him, has memorized almost the entire script of Miracle, will only wear shirts with numbers in case an impromptu game should arise, makes me announce hockey games while I’m brushing his teeth, pretend I’m Savard shooting at his mouth when I help him finish his dinner, and these things all happen many times a day every day.  Yes, it’s still cute, but it’s intense.

When I told him he could stay up to watch a play off game if he took a nap he dropped directly to the floor and was asleep within 5 seconds.  I thought he was faking, but he was still asleep on the floor three hours later.  And he stayed up to watch the whole game, the overtime, and ultimately, the losing goal.  I tucked him in and listened to him moaning for 45 minutes.  I felt responsible.  I had introduced him to fandom, Boston fandom, and I had broken his heart for the first time at four and a half.

crying fan

But don’t buy my story that the game was tough to watch because of his emotional investment in the Bruins.  The passion starts with me.  I took him to the games this winter, I set the Tivo to record every game, I personalized his jersey, taught him which player wore which number, the toe drag, the five hole …

And therein lies the fine line.  Caring, becoming attached, adoring – all fine.  Being upset after a loss – understandable. Being four and going to bed moaning after your gods get beaten in overtime – heart-wrenching to witness, but acceptable.  Drinking a handle of B&B and throwing up in your friend’s kitchen sink and at work all the following morning – funny as hell for your co-workers, and tolerable.  Not being able to talk on the phone, as I might have been after game seven of this year’s playoff series, starting a fight with another fan, crying in public (I didn’t do either of those) – not acceptable.

Considerable passion is not understood by all, not even by those who can appreciate athletics.  If you’re thinking you might care too much, that might be an indication that you’re flirting with disaster … but if you’re still able to enjoy the game, I have no answer.