Sports Boredom

Deborah San Angelo, Staff Writer

It’s Sunday afternoon and I hear the sound of a game going on behind me. It’s like a foreign language. But I’m not in a foreign country, I’m safe at home with friends. Some of them are in the living room, watching a football game, getting excited and talking jargon. What am I missing?

If I understood football, I might be okay, but nothing can make me understand why some people care so much about it. They’re zealous, devoted and I don’t even want to put in the effort to learn the game. The rules seem complicated, but I like the uniforms. I enjoy watching the players knock each other around, especially in the mud on a rainy day.

Some of us were born without the sports gene. We walk around at Super Bowl parties with blank looks on our faces. We watch passion pour out from the fans like sweat does from the players. We’re sure there’s something we’re missing.

I can see how invigorating it is to root for your team and see them win. It’s having something you believe in and stand for. But for me, it’s background noise. I don’t understand why sports have the impact they do. It’s watching the movements of a ball. Billions of screaming people watch a ball get thrown, caught and kicked.

Somehow, I’m able to maintain my composure through this. Then I’m bored. I wonder if it’s boredom that makes baseball players just stand around, scratch their balls and spit.

It’s not that I dislike sports, but I have a hard time watching them. Where’s all the war-like fervor coming from? There’s something very primal about a sport, like survival of the fittest. There’s a camaraderie built in a team sport and self-reliance in an individual sport. Mental and physical toughness take root as members of a team become invested in one another. It makes them take charge of themselves as individuals, knowing that it will strengthen the team.

Occasionally, I’ll watch soccer. Maybe even the whole game if it’s aired in Italian, a language I’m trying to learn. It’s easy to understand what’s happening on the field and there’s always action. But if I had to root for a team, I’d have to go with the team with the most attractive uniforms.

In high school, I faked my enthusiasm at football games. Faking enthusiasm is exhausting. If I was a cheerleader, I would have died of acute fatigue.

Most players say they’re in it more for the fun than the victory and I believe them. Athletes are fortunate to love playing a sport. But what about the rest of us nerds, geeks, artsy types and assorted athletic flunkies? Are we missing out?

The rest of us have to find alternative ways to achieve similar results. There are many ways to be part of a team. Besides developing a positive body image and self-esteem, athletes get comfortable with the idea of winning and losing. So, when those highs and lows in life occur, they’re not so unnerved by them.

People who love sports seem happy. At least it looks that way to me. Although I’m not paying much attention to the game in the living room, loud happiness particles are being generated around me.

There’s a positive buzz in the room with lively eruptions. A sport is a social event: the noise, drinks, random food and laughter and, finally, there’s no substitute for hanging out with friends.