Monday, October 02, 2006

What I hate about professional sports

I am not a big sports fan. I am not much of a sports fan at all. I don't mind watching an occaisional game, but I don't think I've ever followed all of the stats of any team in any sport. I actually used to pay a little more attention to at least the large goings-on in sports, enough to make polite small-talk with my (mostly male) coworkers (well, enough to add one or two semi-intelligent ideas to a conversation before letting them do the rest of the talking), but lately I have trouble doing even that.

I think that this summer's Cardinals baseball season pretty much sums up why. Since about midsummer, all I've been hearing from baseball fans is how bad the Cardinals are doing. I hear cracks about "maybe St. Louis will get a professional baseball team" and such. But from what little news I've managed to watch, they've been basically leading the division the whole time. It sounds like they've come close to slipping into 2nd place in their division, but they just recently became the division champs. This is what everyone's been complaining about? A team that has been either headed for the World Series, or barely missing it? You're kidding right? So they lose games sometimes. Apparently they're still doing better than all of the other teams they're up against for the Championship. Gee, our team doesn't win every game by a landslide. They must SUCK.

Then this morning I actually saw a sports report on the early news, and they had an interview with a fan from the stands at yesterday's game. I can't honestly repeat what he said about the Cardinals, but it involved a lot of "We've got to do this", and "We've been doing that". Um, excuse me, but "We"? As far as I can tell, this was Joe Blow sitting in the stands drinking a beer. He's not on the team, doesn't work for them, or anything. Pride in a local team is great, but don't project yourself as part of that team--just because you bought a jersey doesn't give you ownership. This actually reminds me of how some parents do the same thing with their kid's sports games. I'm talking about the parents who are not coaching, just the cheering squad. They get this serious expression on their face as they talk about all the work "we have to do". Um, your kid is the one playing. If you want to do the "work", then either sign up to coach, or join an adult intramural league. Otherwise, buddy, you're just a cheerleader. If you don't feel like cheering on your kids beccause they're losing (or because they're not winning fast enough), then you need a serious attitude adjustment.

I guess the main point of my little rant here is that people take sports way too seriously. They're GAMES. They're supposed to be FUN. The pros are there to ENTERTAIN you. I'm talking about both teams here, not just the one that you're rooting for. Only one team will win any one game. And no, not every player will play his/her best game every time they take the field. But, unless you're one of their teammates, chances are they're much much much better than you will ever be. Learn to accept it, and then sit back and enjoy the show. Athletes are paid so well because they can do things that the rest of us just can't. It should be a joy to watch men and women in prime physical condition performing impressive feats. Even when they lose, the feats are still impressive, because they're losing to other men and women in prime physical condition performing impressive feats. If you're just not impressed by a team that's their division champions for 2 (or is it 3 now?) years in a row, then I think your standards are just a little too high for me.

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