This past Friday I was glued to NFL news because players contracts were expiring and that meant they were free agents. I wanted to see what would happen with the Ravens. I said on my status on Facebook that I was on pins and needles because of the free-agency, and I got the following comment from my brother.
Remember when you hated sports? Who are you?
I hate to admit but he has a bit of a point. Growing up I was not huge on watching sports, though it wasn't like they were verboten in the house. My mom was a regular football watcher, so I followed that on occasion, but I never really sat and learned the nuances of the game. The Superbowl on the other hand, that was something to sit and watch. Baseball bored me to death because it took forever, and I wasn't much for watching hockey. There were a number of factors that contributed to this.
First and foremost, I didn't have the patience to sit through a game, especially on TV. It seemed like they would make a play, and then commercial, play, commercial, play, commercial. There's only so many commercials I can take. I thought there were more interesting things to do than to just sit and watch a game.
Next was location; I was too far to watch a professional league game, especially while in parts of Arizona. I lived 4 hours from Phoenix, so to even think of going to any sort of a game would have meant making an entire weekend out of it, and in the case of football, missing school. That wasn't going to happen unless it was a special game. New Mexico doesn't even have a major sports team, so unless you followed college sports, you were following a neighboring state.
I went to a high school where sports were the big thing, it didn't help that we had been champions in our division, to the point that we had a record for a winning streak after several years. It also gave many of the athletes an attitude, and it wasn't nice. After dealing with folks like that, do you really think it would give me a reason to want to pay attention to sports in general?
Finally, most of the sports teams where I lived sucked. The Arizona Cardinals were just about a guaranteed win for the other team until two years ago; the Diamondbacks were pretty mediocre until their World Series win in 2001, then they went back to mediocrity; as for the Coyotes, they have yet to make a good showing at the playoffs if they even make it that far. Come on, at least have a decent record if you want to get me interested. I followed the Phoenix Suns a bit more because they could at least make the playoffs in most years, even if they were competing against the Bulls when they still had Michael Jordan.
So what changed? Moving out here, which gave me better access to sports teams and non dickheaded fans and players. It's ironic though that I follow Baltimore teams rather than DC teams, considering that I live near DC and work near DC, so there are a lot of DC team fans in the office. Thing is though, I just like Baltimore better, I like the city and it seems to have less fair-weather fans than in DC. It started with football, the Ravens went on a hot streak in 2006 and made it to the playoffs so it caught my attention and I started following them, getting more into it in 2007 and especially 2008. JH did get me into watching the Orioles, though I can only watch them live. I still can't stand watching baseball on TV, I'd rather turn it on as background noise. Hockey didn't come about until last year, and that was after being taken to a game by LM. Now I can't get enough of it. That's another thing that changed my attitudes, seeing games live, and if I play my cards right, I'll be seeing a lot of live football.
It doesn't hurt that talking sports with some folks, especially talking football has been quite the equalizer in some ways, but that is another entry. It does make for great conversation in the office, especially the day after a game.
So who am I? Someone who discovered he's capable of liking sports, the right factors just had to come into play. Access to games, winning teams, and decent folks to talk sports with, a winning combination!