Why I hate sports

Here is where I do my best to not get all high and mighty. I was raised in a pretty sports-free environment. My father played professional soccer in his home country and has always been a big fan of English soccer, among other sports, but has never pushed it on me or my brother. I was never pushed into sports, only gently encouraged. And so I tried soccer as a wee lad and hated it. I tried basketball and liked it but kind of sucked at it so after a good while I quit it. I skateboarded for a while, and while I also sucked at that, at least that was actually fun and carried a whole culture with it I could get into (think: tight jeans, pizza rolls, and different-colored shoelaces). My point here is that I might have a slight bias, but, as with all things, I will try to be as objective in my case as possible.

So I’ve decided to take a break from my research paper on how to save dying anorexic teens because of a strongly worded argument between two college employees over their supposed football teams of choice. Despite having my “instrumental electronic” Spotify playlist on volume 6/100 (because it makes all the sense in the world that HP should design laptops where 6% is considered extreme), their piercing language was able to penetrate the snares and kicks.

In response to hearing about how vitally important it is to this one man that Team A win, because a 2–0 streak this early in the season is apparently going to be highly advantageous for the team moving forward, I cannot help but think, at this point what difference does it make?

If watching a program comprised 30% of some juiced up millionaires playing with a ball, 40% with obnoxious ad placement, and 30% equally obnoxious commentator drivel is what you consider a good time, I guess more power to you. And, as my anecdote about my father hopefully conveyed, I have nothing against people who watch sports. I would win some misanthropy awards for dismissing that much of humankind in one broad generalizing sweep.

Nonetheless, I can’t help but think there are myriad more productive uses of your time than sitting and mindlessly watching guys or gals in jerseys carry balls to opposing sides.

On sports being innate to us

No doubt, we have a primal instinct to hunt things down and fight, and evolutionary scientists have surely linked our modern enjoyment of participating in sports to that. However, it is not sports participation I am attacking here… not in the slightest. It is the crude voyeurism of getting off to others doing it rather than fighting for that pleasure ourselves. Almost sounds like I’m talking about another [actually harmful] activity here, huh?

The worst part is our passion behind it. Pride in your family? “Yeah, I guess I go to family reunions and stuff.” Pride in your country? “Huh? Yeah, I got hammered last July 4th, so you could say that.” Pride in yourself and your potential? “Um, can you explain that?”

But, pride in your football team? “Oh hell yeah, bro. I’ve got all the latest gear, I go to all the games, home or away. It’s a family tradition. Whether or not Demetrius Marcus III Jr. scores that goal this weekend is basically more relevant than anything else in my life.”

And, I presume, who could blame them? I’m certainly no more of an upstanding citizen than any of them. What grounds do I have to castigate the 85% of males in my age group who watch sports? None! Well, good thing that’s fundamentally not what I’m doing.

I think there are a good many people who watch sports who have brilliant minds and could be getting much more done in that time, regardless of what end it works towards: productivity, reflection, mindfulness, time with family/friends, reading, hell, even listening to music. Anything that is not so overtly mindless as an activity that virtually encourages you to lower your intellectual standards for a whole 2 hours at a time.

And, really, let’s think about this. If you’re the typical 2 sports-watching, Bud Light-crushing, tailgating Chad (of which only the first descriptor actually applies to the rest of this point), you are devoting around 8 hours a week to sitting there, probably eating something mindlessly and drinking some beers, consuming ads and their subliminal marketing messages without a second’s thought, and literally yelling at your television when the running back, a young man with nothing in common with you, who probably isn’t even from the city from which your team support ostensibly derives, runs an impressive amount of yards.

Sports are good, though!

Final point here is that I am hating on sports-watching, not sports themselves, although I do not care much for the latter myself. I love powerlifting, but no mainstream sports. It is simple the WATCHING of sports for which I have some beef.

Don’t hate me

The mere fact that remarking on this is an edgy position to take is pretty sad. However, it is worth noting (for like, what, the third time?) that I harbor no ill will for those who enjoy sports. Hell, from time to time I enjoy watching some of the most mindless television. The difference, I would contest, is that I am not passionate about it, nor do I think the characters in the shows have anything to do with me on a real level. Nonetheless, we all have our vices, and it is worth repeating I do not consider myself a morally superior being for not watching sports. I happen not to have a propensity for enjoying them, and so I have been allowed to develop this moral position from that starting point.

That is that. So please don’t hate me. Or do.

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