Throughout my life, I must admit that I have never been the hugest sports fan, but I do like some of them for various reasons. I like watching baseball games because of the opportunity to eat fried foods that I might otherwise feel guilty about eating elsewhere. There is something about eating fried foods in an open air environment that is quite liberating. While living in LA, at Dodgers’ games, I also found that I could squeeze in at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise while doing the wave and hitting beach balls in between every other play.
My appreciation for basketball began while I was at UCLA. I understood that we had a pretty good team and so had a pretty good reason to put on our UCLA-branded attire and partake in lots of taunting of the opposing team. I also liked football games, although much less, and mostly because I liked doing the 8-clap.
I find that sports are about as entertaining as watching an exotic animal giving birth. For instance, if I were on my way to work and happened to see a giraffe about to give birth, I would probably stop because, well, I would already be there and all. Since the giraffe and I’d already be there, it’d be sort of exciting and so I would feel compelled to watch. This is like when I walk into someone’s house and find him/her watching a basketball game. I would sit down and fix my attention on the game because it’s right there in front of me, and I couldn’t help but be mesmerized with all the running back and forth across the screen.
Watching the giraffe give birth is also similar to my regard of watching sports because I don’t actively go seeking animal births as much as I don’t seek out sports. I never know what sports are in season and am made only mildly aware from the clips I see on the TVs at the gym. But if a giraffe were standing outside my house or a baseball game was on the TV at a friend’s, then sure, I would watch.
But lately when I hear people talking about sports, I feel a pang of envy. I am envious because I can hear the excitement in their voices, the way they talk about their favorite teams as if their teams were their personal, long time friends. I, too, want to care so much about my favorite team that I absolutely cannot make any other plans that coincide with the televising of their game.
More than just a desire to start following and watching sports regularly, I want my eyes to light up and glisten when my team scores. I want to be able to shout and belittle my favorite player when he makes a mistake, all the while knowing I don’t really mean it, that I would take it back if he just started playing like he meant it, gosh dammit! I want to care, I want to want to watch. I want to be let into the sports fans’ club.
Last week, when Alan had Sharks’ tickets and was trying to decide who to take with him, I knew I had to make my case. This could be the sport that made it all click for me, and what better way to tell if it was than seeing a live game? Somehow I convinced him that I would really appreciate it, so on Tuesday I found myself sitting in the cold pavilion watching the players slip around on the ice, battling each other for the small black puck. It turned out to be very enjoyable watching the players tumble over the walls of the rink and spilling onto the ice, taking off in all directions. It was great learning how to make the shark mouth, but most of all, it was fascinating to see the fights breaking out on the ice — pound, pound, crack, slam! The noises, you could hear it all. It was almost Jerry Springer meets Baby Giraffe Being Born good.