If this this is you, please seek help.
Hi, friends! It’s good to be back.
Between shopping for gifts, dog sitting for my friend and his girlfriend, and feeling like death, I’ve been quite the busy guy lately.
But that is in the past and I’m here again with some delightfully opinionated opinions that may or may not be right based on your opinion of my opinions.
Over the weekend I had a chance to relax with my family, and when I relax with my family, there is always one of two things on TV: sports or news. I’m almost certain that my family would be perfectly happy if the only channels they got were ESPN and FOX News. I’m pretty sure those were the only two stations I saw, but that’s okay. I’m not complaining about that. I’m simply pointing out something so I can elaborate on it in the form of a story/rant.
Of course, this weekend was not the first time I have ever seen a sporting event on TV. To tell you the truth, I’ve played just about ever sport at one time or another during my life, and I’ve played basketball since I was four years old. I played all throughout high school and planned on playing in college until I realized that it didn’t make sense for someone as lazy as I am to continue to put so much effort into something. So I stopped playing and started coaching at a high school a couple years later.
Why am I telling you this, though? It’s not funny, and usually people come here for the humor, not the anecdotes (though I rarely find what I say to be funny, and I feel I am an extremely underrated story teller).
Well, my friend, I am telling you this so I can lay down some credibility for myself. I want it to be clear that I am writing this as someone who has played sports his entire life, not as someone who thought sports were meaningless and trivial and didn’t matter in life’s big picture.
As someone who has played sports his entire life, I can honestly say that I enjoy playing them, but I don’t understand people’s infatuation with other people playing them.
I mean, when I’d watch ESPN during the NBA lockout, fans were almost literally freaking out that there was the possibility of having no NBA games for a year. Why? If these people really like basketball so much and if they really feel like their lives are a meaningless void without it, they’re perfectly capable of going down to their local YMCA or neighborhood playground and playing pickup games with their friends.
The same can be said about baseball and football and any other sport, really.
I saw a special on ESPN the other night (unlike my family, I actually do watch things other than ESPN, but this rant isn’t helping me prove that) and there was a special on about Steve Bartman. If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you don’t know who Steve Bartman is, so let me give as brief of an explanation as I can:
Steve Bartman is a Chicago Cubs fan. The Chicago Cubs are a baseball team. The Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908. In 2003, the Chicago Cubs were playing the Florida Marlins (who happen to be my favorite team) in a best of 7 series. The winner of the series was going to go to the World Series.
Baseball is a game that lasts 9 innings, and the game was in the 8th inning. The Cubs were leading 3-0. A Marlin player hit the ball down the third base foul line into the stands, but close enough to the field where the fielder could still catch it. Unfortunately for the Cubs, though, Steve Bartman reached out his arm and deflected the ball away from the Cubs fielder who was about to catch it. The Marlins went on to score 8 runs in the inning. They won the game and they won game 7 the next day to go to the World Series (which they also won).
This is Steve Bartman deflecting the ball
Most people would assume that Steve Bartman would be forgotten about. After all, he wasn’t one of the Cub’s pitchers who couldn’t seem to throw the ball anywhere but right down the middle of the plate. He wasn’t the short stop for the Cub’s who dropped what would have been a routine double play. And Steve Bartman wasn’t on the team the next game the Cubs lost to the Marlins, so it can safely be assumed that he had pretty much nothing to do with the Cubs losing the series.
However, that’s not how people treated him. After he deflected the ball away from Moises Alou, the Cubs outfielder, the entire stadium began chanting “asshole, asshole, asshole” at him, they threw food and beer on him, and they threatened to kill him. Steve Bartman may as well be in witness protection because nobody has heard or seen him since that incident.
This brings me back to my original question: Why do people care so much about other people playing sports? Do they feel like they’re living vicariously through these professional athletes? I’m very curious to know what drives people to such ridiculousness when cheering on their favorite team. I just don’t get it. The only people who do more drugs than athletes are musicians and Charlie Sheen, a typical NBA locker room has more firearms than the upper Midwest, and 99.99999% if professional athletes wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire, so it’s not like these are quality people who you’d want your kids to act like. Honestly, in most cases, if they did anything but play a sport the same people who cheer for them would demand they be put in jail.
Honestly, I think it’s kind of pathetic. There’s a big difference between cheering for a team and being a fanatic. For instance, when you cheer for a team and they lose, you go on with your day like nothing happened. If you feel your life is altered (positively or negatively, it doesn’t matter) by the result of your team’s game, you’re a fanatic. If you cheer for a team and you happen to see they’re on TV while you’re flipping channels, you may stop to watch for a few minutes. If you’re a fanatic, you schedule your life based on when your team plays so you can support them from your couch because without your presence six feet from the TV screen, your team may not be as motivated to play hard. The $45 million they’re getting pales in comparison to the motivation you and your Cheetoh stained T-shirt can deliver.
In other words, being a fanatic is like being a high schooler: it’s only acceptable if you’re in high school. So if you’re a fanatic, there’s a good chance you need help. I’ll be more than happy to give a complimentary back rub, but I’m afraid you need real help. Not even my world-renowned back rubs can cure this problem.
This is the kind of "support" I can really get behind