I have a strange relationship with sports, I suppose.
I was a pretty nerdy kid. I was active in debate, mock trial, choir, Boy Scouts, 4-H, and other things I’ve forgotten. At the same time, I played a lot of sports: Baseball, basketball, cross-country, flag football, even a bit of wrestling. I’ve always enjoyed being active, and I have a fairly well-developed sense of balance and coordination, though I’ve never been terribly athletic. After college, I started hiking, doing yoga1, riding my bike, and eventually doing triathlons. Santa Barbara has beautiful weather year round, so I figured I should take advantage of it. Still, I never never identified as a “sports fan.”
I started watching football as a social thing. Gwen grew up around it, and our friend Andy was a fan, so we started watching Monday Night Football as a group, starting with just the three of us and then expanding over the years. Then, as I started to ride my bike more, we discovered professional cycling on TV, and the addiction kicked in. May, July, and September evening were sacrificed to the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a España. Sunday afternoons in the spring were given over to the Classics: Milan-San Remo, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and the Queen of the Classics: Paris-Roubaix. The networks started cutting back their coverage in the post-Armstrong era, but we watched whatever we could and cursed them for what we couldn’t. I don’t watch much TV anymore, and what I do watch now is almost exclusively live sports.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been good at following a local sports team. Last year I tried to follow the Dodgers, but my general dislike of baseball on TV just got in the way. And despite being surrounded by Lakers fans, I don’t really enjoy the NBA.2 That left the LA Kings. Now as it turns out, I know a bunch of hockey fans, and their enthusiasm started to wear off on me. And Gwen I watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs one summer in college, when the Dallas Stars won it,3 I so I thought I’d give it a try.
It turns out, I love hockey. There’s the elegant flow, lonely keeper, the team play. It’s a like a faster-moving version of soccer. It’s also got the season-long grind of baseball; you don’t play every day, but you get beat up three days a week, and if you go all the way your season starts in October and ends in June. It’s played by a bunch of guys who obviously love the game and understand the importance of their teammates. The NHL doesn’t get the same media coverage that the NFL, MLB, and the NBA do, and I suspect the sport might be better for that.
So for someone who doesn’t consider himself a sports fan, I’ve been watching a lot of it recently. And I consider it especially ironic that Gwen and I today bought a big new TV almost exclusively to watch sports.
Oh, yeah: Go Kings Go!
UpdateFitness: Ran 3.25 miles
Writing: 320 words, 265 average
1 Thanks to work having a yoga instructor come to the office three days a week.
2 As team-oriented as basketball should be (and usually is at the college level) the pro-level is too dominated by “rockstars” for me.
3 Gwen’s mother was a Stars fan, and during the playoffs we were living in an apartment in Houston. It was during the summer, we didn’t have huge demands on our time like we did during the school year, so we started watching. And given how many of those series when to six or seven games and to multiple overtimes, we watched a lot of it.