Tuesday, March 24, 2020

On the Loss of Sports

As I reflect upon now two weeks of the Q-Life, there are a number of things whose absence is meaningful to me. I miss interacting with smart people in professional settings. I miss whatever it is was passing for normality before all this. I miss 24% of my net worth. What I miss more than anything though, is sports.

I am not a sports freak. I am in fact, a University of Virginia sports freak, and I take a great deal of interest in the success and failure of my Wahoos, irrespective of the sport. But the great mass of public, professional sports is really not on my radar. I follow no professional sports team of any variety with anything close to real interest. I don't mind attending pro sports events in person, but I do it rarely. As I age, I make a promise to myself around New Years every year to watch more baseball, but I never do. My friend Dan and I attend a Packers game every couple of years together, but it is more about the weekend than it is about the sport (at least for me. Dan is a deranged Packers fan). 

With all of that as background, I must admit to missing sports in the time of the great quieting. Of course, I miss March Madness, the greatest sporting event known to man. But I miss pro basketball. I miss the spring training noise. I miss watching the big golf tournaments. It isn't just the watching, though. It is the reading, and the talking, and the listening. Sports--even those in which I have little interest--have formed the soundtrack of my life. Even though I didn't WATCH these sports, I followed them at a distance, if for no other reason than to be an informed participant in the conversations of other men. Ladies, don't take this as a swipe, but to the extent that I have had conversations about professional sports in my life, it has virtually always been with men. There are three grown women in my house, and annually on Super Bowl Sunday, at least one will inquire who is playing. 

Some may consider this antediluvian, but there is a not insignificant component of being a man of a certain age--at least in the circles in which I travel-- that requires one to have at least passing knowledge of what is going on in the major sports of the season. Again--I point to my lovely daughters. They are not only women, but they are young women. There simply is NO requirement for them in their everyday lives to be up on whether LeBron or Giannis should be the NBA MVP, or why the Astros batters seemed to get beaned all through the beginnings of spring training. 

So all of this was sort of a windup to the actual pitch.... and that is, a world without sports (or at least mindless chatter about sports) is a little bit frightening to me, because it is one step closer to the feminist Valhalla of a world without men. Sports small talk is the stuff of a giant slice of male interpersonal relationships. No sports, what do we have to talk about? 

1 comment:

BigFred said...

Across all socio economic strata, sports is always a "safe" discussion topic. Recently waiting for a meeting to start I quizzed a guy who was by accent from the VERY South side of Chicago and I asked him while he was growing up who he rooted for and he said "The Minnesota Vikings." As he and I are about the same vintage I asked "How in the world with Walter Payton at his prime, in the Ditka/McMahon era could you root for the Vikings?" And a guy from across the room chimed in and said "Because he is a F*king White Sox Fan from the South Side!!"

Newer Post Older Post Home