Why I hate sports
Hi. My name is Rob Anderson. I’m an in-shape 27-year-old male. I stand at six foot, three inches. And I hate sports.
Should I see myself out? Oh. Wrong door? Okay, thanks I’ll just leave out this other one. Hey, actually I think the knob isn’t turning or the hinge is stuck or something. Can one of you guys help me push it? Oh. I have to pull it? Okay cool, sorry.
This is how I feel in a room from September-February as everyone I know drops every mutual interest to talk about football. I actually had to Google ‘When is football season?’ to get these months right, since it normally creeps up on me and ruins my everything. The sad thing is that I couldn’t even find a search result for a timeline of football season since every American has it hardwired into their brains since the moment of birth.
But it doesn’t end in February. Football overlaps into the basketball. Which overlaps into major league baseball. Which overlaps into football again. They roll into each other like a unstoppable force. It’s a nightmare where I’m pulling apart a Russian doll to find another one inside that is impossibly larger and more important than the last. These three sports are hell on earth. They have made a Tripartite Pact to make me miserable year round.
So why do I hate sports so much?
Like any subject or person or idea that you hate, it starts with disinterest and builds. Let’s say there’s a woman you work with named Wendy. Wendy doesn’t appeal to you. She doesn’t really add any value to the company and gets paid more than you. She has an innate belief that she’s more important than everything else, she interrupts conversation frequently, but always needs your help when her bluetooth computer mouse won’t connect. But you can’t ignore her. Everyone invites Wendy out to happy hour, includes her in fun work gossip e-mails, and creates things like ‘Wendy Day’ and gambling on how often Wendy does certain things. Now you fucking hate Wendy. Wendy fucking sucks.
Sports are my Wendy and my disinterest comes from a few things. First, I’m terrible at sports. I don’t have any coordination, agility, flexibility, endurance, balance or impressive strength. I can’t follow something with my eyes and have something different in my hand hit that first something quickly. I can’t throw an item with power, force and direction while also looking manly and proud. These skill sets are peppered with sour experiences and general deflations that fueled my hatred.
During my first week of college I was still closeted and earned the nickname ‘Big Rob’ — something that I enjoyed since the implications were those of strength and masculinity. Freshman orientation week was packed with activites to enjoy with your new dorm mates. My new friends and I approached the quad and saw an inflatable jousting arena and we needed a representative from our dorm. Without hestiation everyone started chanting “Big Rob!” as my soul collapsed. I actually had to bring validity to a nickname that I didn’t ask for but secretly desired. I slowly climbed up onto my raised platform and shook uncontrollably from my lack of balance and monumental anxiety. Needless to say I was pushed off of the platform twice by a small, pale boy with an oversized white t-shirt and no nickname.
About seven years later I was in Chicago auditioning as a commercial stand-in for a professional athlete. After an easy audition I assumed my call back was going to be a breeze. After my slate the casting director pulls a football out of her bag. They explained that in these takes I would catch the football and throw it back. “Okay, sure!” was my exterior vocalization of “Dear God please let this end.” I caught the ball like a nervous mom and I threw it back with a hard push and stumbled forward, but locked my knees, like a baby cow trying to walk to for the first time. My arm also landed in a position that said both “Hey girl!” and “I might have osteoporosis.”
Though my personal experiences were negative, I also don’t believe that sports leagues warrant the cultural significance that they retain. I understand and can appreciate impressive physical feats. Crossfit, Strongman and the Olympics make sense since physical feats are measured in a way that can be qualified and happen in a realistic timeframe.
This doesn’t compare to a group of men with soft bodies standing around a diamond wearing a male version of a jumpsuit and catching balls while sprinting between glorified white bumps extended out of expensive dirt that’s hard to get out in the wash. It just doesn’t. And if you like that, cool. But don’t call it America’s Favorite Pastime and make me feel like an alien for not being interested.
Another factor is the mentality of sports fans. The want for a team to succeed is rooted deeply in their gut. They watch the screen with wide eyes and clenched teeth, waiting to see if the foot of their player will kick an object in a way that will position it between two metal poles in the air. So committed and determined that they are one synapse signal away from shaking a small baby until it’s neck collapses.
I’m a competitive person with legitimate passions, but sports people are fucking crazy. Somehow in their hearts they weld the thought of sports with family and life itself. Like very time the Giants lose a game your deceased father is rolling in his grave, disappointed in you and what you’ve become. I just don’t get that. Especially since the Giants are a New York team and you’re in Cleveland.
As the Super Bowl approaches and I focus on the food and advertising, I’ll find myself getting through another year of sports. Another year of finding the one TV in the corner of the bar that’s playing music videos from 2006. Another season of sitting around a discussion of player predictions as I predict how much alcohol I will need to get through this day. And another year of my Uber drivers asking me the score of “the game” as I pound my head violently against the window, hoping that one of the two breaks and we can have something bigger to worry about.