Fans or freakazoids? You make the call

4:22 PM, Oct 9, 2009   |    comments
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Let's put it out there right off the bat: I'm a sports guy.

Seriously. Give me Fox Sports Net and ESPN and I have minimal need for the rest of the package. Watching the Twins, Wild, and Gopher Hockey guys is a bonding deal for my family. You'd be hard pressed to whip up a better evening than a fire in the fireplace, a junk pizza from Papa Murphs, a cold libation, and a Twins playoff game.

Recently, I've mulled over what exactly it is that I 'like' about sports, after a brief conversation with my dad in the middle of the Monday night Vikings-Packer game. Actually, calling the encounter a 'Dad Rant' would be more accurate.

I walked into their condo to drop something off that night and found my mom deeply engrossed in the highly hyped atmosphere, even though she'd be hard pressed to tell you what a quarterback actually 'does'. The noise, spectacle, and people dressed in wacky purple stuff, faces painted, in various states of intoxication apparently was quite thrilling to her.

My dad, on the other hand, was not enjoying this deal. He got out of his lounge chair, barged up to me, and barked something like "Don't these misguided idiots have anything better to spend their money on?"

He had a wild look in his eye so I talked him down off the ledge, reasoning that since no one tells 'him' how to spend his time, money, and energy, it doesn't make much sense to pass judgement on their pastimes. I actually risked setting him off further, by telling him the accusation sounded a bit arrogant.

He calmed down, and I left... but later got to thinking about the 'root' of what he said.

I am a fan of sports... because I grew up playing them. I achieved the modest amount of success I did by outworking people, and hitting hard... and often. Competitive sports were a way to release anger, which I had plenty of as a kid. They also revealed what friends and teammates had inside... their toughness, depth of heart, and their propensity to roll over when things got tough. After a short stint as a college wrestler, I began playing sports just for fun... and watching, simply because I enjoy watching people do things that 'I' can't. 

There are those who love sports 'live', and need to be physically present for the crowd energy, the spectacle, or the feeling of community.  I guess that's why 56,000 people crammed the Metrodome for the Twins season ending series against Kansas City. (OK, the excitement of a division title didn't hurt, but I got that from the couch). Even in hard economic times, some Viking fans lay down thousands of dollars to keep their season tickets, even though it means scrimping on necessities, or being late with the mortgage.

I can appreciate that... but truth is, most days I'd rather get hit in the head with a board than sit in a dome with thousands of people.

I like replays, eating a brat or drinking a beer that doesn't cost ten bucks, and lounging in my boxers. My girls can ask questions, get to know the rosters and rules, and I don't need to worry about some guy sitting behind them screaming f-bombs every time someone drops a ball.

And while I admire the guys on the field, I don't 'identify' with most of them all that much. That's difficult when they're multi-millionaires without a ton of real-world responsibility, while I'm grinding out a living trying to keep the wheels on straight.

O-K, I'll get down off the soapbox... and telepathically send an apology to my dad.  

Now hand me the remote, and pass the cheetos, will ya?


(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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