Thursday, December 15, 2005

Sport relations

I know many people that are "sports" fans, i.e. they just love sports in general, and follow whatever sport is in season. They know the teams, they know the players; they know stats, rankings, rumors, injuries... anything and everything. They know pro sports, college sports, majors and minors; they know classes, leagues, and all sorts of other terms and phrases. I just can't do it. I try, but I can't.

See, as I am with relationships, I am with sports; I pick a game, I pick a team, and I stick with that one monogamously. I find it very difficult to stray... oh sure, I'll look at another team sometimes; occasionally I'll find myself quite interested in another sport, even. But that's a very rare occurrence, and I always feel kind of dirty about it afterwards.

My sport is baseball. My team is the Dodgers. That's all I need, that's all I'll ever want. Sure, we have our ups and downs (christ, we had some serious issues this past season), but we always work it out, we always find ourselves together at the start of the season, ready to begin anew.

Now, I'm quite happy with my one team. I go to their games, I buy their merchandise, I read the articles and keep an eye on the player stats. And that's enough for me.

For some guys, one team, even one sport, just isn't enough, and I don't understand it. Like I said, I've tried... but I just can't root for other teams. I can't care about other players. Admittedly, I was quite happy when the White Sox won the Series this past year, but that happiness wasn't for myself; it was for my friends and co-workers from Chicago who finally saw one of their long-running loser curses end. It was like watching the friend who'd always been miserably alone finally find true love, and attending the wedding. Even with that happiness, however, I still felt pangs of remorse that my Dodgers and I hadn't had that experience.

Maybe that's why I can follow baseball so easily, because it is in essence, a monogamous sport. Baseball has always been a hometown game, everyone from one city rooting for their team to beat that other city, and prove who's better. Why else would rivalries in baseball always be between neighbors? Yankees and Red Sox. Los Angeles and San Francisco, and to a lesser extent, the Padres. Not true neighbors, sure, but coastal neighbors, marking their territory along the shoreline.

And there are major rivalries between actual neighbors, and thanks to interleague play, they can finally shine. The fact is, in most major cities, you're one or the other. In Chicago, you're either a Cubs fan or a White Sox fan. In New York, you either love the Yankees or the Mets. In San Francisco, it's the Giants or the A's. In Los Angeles... well, I don't like to talk about that. Let's just say there are a lot of Dodgers "fans" who apparently think that just because the grass is greener on the other side, that means they should move next door.

Of course, these "fans" explain quite a bit about why so many Angelenos are willing to cheat on their spouse just because they see a bigger pair of tits. All I can say to them is, by now they should know that those OC racks are fake.

Now other sports aren't as monogamous. Take football, for instance. Now, sure, most football fans have their home team (and coming from a major city that has no home team, it's admittedly hard for me to know that feeling), but they still know about every other team, every other player. My co-workers all watch football, and they all know what every team is doing, what every coach is thinking, and what every player can achieve. It doesn't matter to them who's playing, they'll still watch the game, and care about who wins. They're paying just as much attention to the relationships around them as the one they're in.

College football is even crazier. I don't know of one college football watcher how isn't completely aware of how every team is doing, and who won't be watching every single bowl game at the beginning of the year. Even when they have their own teams to root for (I won't even get into the UCLA-USC rivalry), they still take the time to pay attention to everyone else. Maybe it's only because of the amount of betting going on, but frankly, I think there's more. Of course, there's always more going on in college relationships than meets the eye, so...

Then we get to basketball. Now, basketball fans tend to be quite homegrown; LA people are Lakers fans (although this year they're Clippers fans... again this fairweather shit), Bostoners are Celtics fans, Chicagoians are Bulls fans, etc. Yet here's the strange thing; even being hometown fans, they still root for certain players, regardless of what team they're on.

The fact is, EVERYONE loved Michael Jordan. Everyone roots for Shaq. Larry Bird, Dr. J, no matter where you came from, you'd root for these guys. Maybe it's only because of their prominence in merchandising, but maybe not.

When the Dodgers sent Paul LoDuca, one of their biggest fan favorite players, to Florida, he was gone. Sure, he got a standing O when the Marlins came back to LA, but was anyone gonna follow his career after that? No. Derrick Jeter, hands down one of the best players in the game for a few years now, and even a one-time SNL host... does anyone watch Yankees games soley to watch him play? No. Because in baseball, it's all about the team, it's monogamous. In basketball, it's about who's got the hottest ass (in a manner of speaking, of course).

I refuse to comment on NCAA March Madness at this point, because the fact is, college basketball is one of the worst offenders in this case. I don't know one person following this stuff who doesn't know every single team. Fuckin' hound dogs, they be.

Now, what about smaller sports? Golf, tennis, boxing, Xtreme sports... these games are all about stars. And the people watching these are even bigger starfuckers than basketball fans. They're playas, all of them, going back and forth between contenders at the drop of a hat. Even worse, they're like princesses... oh, this guy's got more money and fame, I'll drop whoever I'm with to fuck HIM now!

You'll notice I skipped hockey. Yeah, that's because I can't make heads or tails about that sport whatsoever. Or its fans.

I also skipped soccer, but that's because soccer is an anomaly. Soccer's like S&M, you either like it or you don't. And when you like it, it doesn't matter who's playing, because it's the action that's more exhilarating than anything else. No matter which team you might favor, when a goal is kicked in, it's exciting no matter what.

I also skipped a few of the bar sports that have gotten popular lately; pool, poker, darts. These sports are like dating. There's no real feeling involved, you just know that you like what you see, and you enjoy it, without attachment to anybody.

Luckily, there's one event that ties it all together, lets all of us, monogamous and playa alike, see eye to eye, and that is the Olympics. Because at that time, it doesn't matter who we're fucking, or how close we are to them (or distant, for that matter), we're all rooting for the same thing. Suddenly, we all see eye to eye; regardless of situation; we all find one common ground, and that's the ego. After all, what are the Olympics for, other than an attempt to prove that our partner is better than the partners everyone else have?

Just as I've felt pride in seeing other women eye whoever my girlfriend is with jealousy, I feel the same pride in seeing my country's contender standing on top of the awards platform, accepting a gold. Sure, sometimes I feel bad that another country didn't get that medal they'd worked so hard for... but I get over it fairly quickly.

Eh, overall, I'm happy with monogamy. Think Blue!

Note: I excluded the World Cup and the upcoming World Baseball Classic from the last bit about the Olympics, as the feeling's about the same, and therefore redundant. Deal with it.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home