I have solved many mysteries in my life.
I understand comma splice. I know why a martini is best stirred and not shaken. I know for certain I can do 9 mph over the speed limit anywhere on any interstate with impunity.
Well, I’m pretty certain. So far, so good.
But I have never been able to fathom why people watch sports.
It’s not that I don’t like sports. Baseball, soccer, tennis, it’s all fun. It’s fun despite the fact that my playing those sports is endless entertainment for my own spectators as well. I would not insult any girl to agree that I throw like one. However, I enjoy all kinds of activities that I suck at, like writing and being a dad.
But riding my bike as fast as I can, downhill, is nothing like watching someone else ride their bike as fast as they can, downhill.
That’s just weird.
And to watch someone ride a bike as fast as they can, on TV, or beat each other up on the scrimmage line or in front of a net on an ice rink?
That’s just really weird. And really boring.
Sure, hurl your pucky insults now, but if you ask around much, I’m not the only one.
Not only is watching most team sports as dull as whatever it is they print on the inside cover of every owners manual of every home appliance you’ve ever owned, there is no winner in baseball, football and hockey. Nobody wins, they just finally stop playing when a clock stops, or, in the case of baseball, after they do it for a while. A long while.
In a footrace somebody wins because they actually go faster than the second-fastest runner. Baseball is the athletic equivalent of those yellow-beaked “Drinking Birds” in novelty stores. The ones made of glass tubes and bulbs that bob a little farther toward a glass, finally getting its beak wet, and then the whole thing starts all over again.
So much fun.
Don’t even get me started about all the disgusting bodily things these sports animals do during games, things that always prompt a testy “Day-vid” or “Excuse me?” when I get caught doing them at home. I don’t wanna see that stuff.
I’m not the first to note that not only is baseball as dull as red paint on an old Rambler, you don’t even have to be an athlete to play. Swing hard. Hit hard. Jog a short ways. Repeat. Even the team players don’t watch each other during the games.
My pals who see wisdom in shelling out enough cash to buy a decent plane ticket somewhere say it’s really not about the game. They say it’s all about the cultural experience of being there and drinking expensive lame beer and eating expensive lame hot dogs and sitting there a while longer. Nope, longer. Not yet. Longer. And then you go home.
Or they trot out this old faithful: “I go for the people watching.”
That’s like saying, “I like to go to the grocery store to see all the cereal boxes.”
To me, it all sounds like having to pay a couple hundred bucks to sit through jury duty.
Why? What did someone do to sports fans when they were children that makes them think they have to do this?
It’s no small thing, that’s for sure. Of the billions of dollars spent directly and distantly on college and pro sports, more is spent every year. There were more than 100 million tweets, just on final sporting events alone. And even more people pack stadiums to shell out hundreds to get the treatment, and no more so than at a race track. The average attendance for a NASCAR race bumps 100,000 people.
Car racing. It’s like watching traffic on I-225, only they make you pay to do it.
I’ve driven a race car. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. I’ve seen part of a car race. I blacked out before the 48th lap. I came to in another state.
I just don’t get it. And it’s not just sports I don’t play that bore me. Skiing? I can watch five minutes or so. Basketball? I’m good for five minutes there. At least something happens at a clip that doesn’t make you want to scratch your mosquito bites for fun. But golf? Sweet Jesus. Curling? Swimming? Just waterboard me.
Probably attention deficit issues. Same thing causes me to realize I’m suddenly looking at my wife because she’s explaining something that I promised I would do but forgot about and then forgot again what I was listening to.
So, I’ll end this rant here, now friendless, and probably homeless when my wife reads this. I’ve got to unload some Rockpile tickets I got for Christmas so I can go biking all alone.