In the last 20 years, I’ve gone to one professional baseball game, maybe three B league baseball games, possibly four college basketball games, one B league hockey game and a handful of kids soccer games. In the same period, I’ve watches a few Super Bowls (most for the commercials) on TV and no other sporting events through that medium. To say that sports plays little part of my life is an understatement.
I blame my parents. Well, not really. But the story goes that being a December baby, and based on the school year testing cycle, I was intellectually ready to start school, but told that I’d be one of the younger kids if they let me in early. If they held me back, I’d be one of the oldest and probably excel in sports….so here we are…me not being able to talk to an average man about sports.
It’s kind of funny actually. There is this big assumption that just because I have a penis, I know who Ken Griffey is. And this actually happened today. I volunteered for the Michael Jordan Celebrity Golf this weekend as I’ve done for the past 3 years. I met a nice guy who was volunteering with me and he mentioned that he was excited to see Mr. Griffey. Apparently they had interacted with each other years ago. Regardless, he starts talking to me about the Mariners (Seattle, I think) and such and I just nod. I find myself doing this a lot actually when dudes start discussing sports with me. They assume every guy knows everything about every sport. And while I know the name Ken Griffey, I couldn’t tell you much about him. I probably know more about his golf game from watching him each year at this tournament than his professional sports career.
I’m considering brushing up on some really obscure sport, and then talking to most sports oriented manly looking man I can find at the next bar I’m at. He will have some sort of sports jersey on and probably a baseball cap. I can strike up a conversation about Vicki Adams or Scott Andrews and see if they play along even though they have no idea who I’m talking about. While I’ve gotten good at faking my manliness, this guy would feel like he should know what I’m talking about and probably end up saying something stupid like, “yea, they really had a good season this year,” even though the season for curling really doesn’t exist except for every 4 years during the olympics.
The sad part is that there was kind of a time when I was into a sport. I went to Temple University from 1985 – 1989 and during the first two years, went to every home basketball game the Temple Owls had. We even hung out with the team after hours downstairs in Johnson hall and played pool with them. I still remember their names and often wonder what happened to them all. Looking back on that time, my interest in hoops might have been more oriented around the fact that I made friends with these people and watching my friends play made sense whereas watching a bunch of strangers play offers zero interest to me.
So I’ll continue to go to that Super Bowl party each year. I’ll keep faking an interest in sports when a random person insists on talking about his team. And I’ll make lots of wives jealous when I tell them I’ve never watched a Sunday’s worth of any sport, turned on ESPN or insisted my wife and I go catch a game in another state because a big rivalry is taking place. I’ve probably saved thousands of dollars in the process. So in the end, I guess I’ll thank mom and dad for having faith in my ability to start school a bit early.