The 44th Super Bowl was held on February 7, 2010 (a Sunday).  I jotted down the following note to put on Facebook:

Hmm, should I go see a movie during the big game? I imagine it would be pleasantly empty of the customary mouth-breathing troglodytes.

I didn't post it.  I had a real bug up my butt about sports that Sunday, and really wasn't thinking highly of those who enjoyed them.  (I wound up eating at Red Robin instead of seeing a movie; it was pretty empty.)  I don't feel so strongly today.  In fact, I'm feeling particularly introspective regarding sports etc.

I think my introduction to sports was the summer before second grade.  My mother, without consulting me, signed me up for an (American) football training camp thing.  I hated it.  I would much rather have been at home reading a book or playing on my Nintendo than running around in the sweltering heat.  I quit after two sessions, and my mother let me, perhaps seeing the error of signing me up for it without my input.  I think this exposure to "sports" colored my thought process on it for a long time.  When I moved and met Scottish, he was involved in t-ball, or perhaps softball or baseball, I don't remember exactly.  I do remember being honestly confused as to why he would be involved in this terrible endeavor when he had a Nintendo, and books, and board games, and toys at home he could be playing with.

And yet, I did occasionally play sports with friends and acquaintances growing up.  I didn't do so because I legitimately enjoyed them, but because my friends enjoyed them and I wanted to participate in their activities with them.  I can assure you that sports-playing was never instigated on my part; I was always a hanger-on in such activities.

Now, there are sports and sports-like activities that I've enjoyed over the years.  I took to taekwondo for a year or so before my mother made me quit because of slipping grades.  I took tennis lessons at the local tennis club in elementary school, and I recall liking those as well.  I love throwing a frisbee around, and even played a single game of ultimate once that I really dug.  Wallyball, rollerblading, ice skating, Australian Indoor-Rules Quidditch, ping pong, and skiing are all sports or sports-adjacent activities that I've enjoyed over the years.

My father wasn't around when I was growing up (not that I know whether he was a sports aficionado or not), and the rest of my family (grandparents, an aunt, and my mother) never expressed any interest in sports whatsoever.  So I never had that fanaticism instilled in me growing up; I never had a family-favorite sport or sports team to be interested in or root for.

I think I've disparaged sports because they're a fandom that I'm not a part of, and I needed to define my identify by being against certain things.  As I've aged, broadened my exposures, and listened to the wisdom of others, I've realized that defining myself by being against things is a narrow-minded and backwards way of self-identification.  Today I'm still not terribly interested in mainstream team sports, and don't pay attention to their various championship ordeals, but I'm passive in my disinterest.  I don't feel any need to make my disinterest overtly known to those around me, and I try not to make "hand-egg" jokes or feign ignorance about sports allusions I actually understand, though I will continue to annually question why it's called the "World Series".

thumbnail credit: "10 20 30" by Giovanni Arteaga (CC-BY)

Daniel C. Hodges