Who would have thought after more than a quarter of a lifetime refusing to watch organized sports that I would now have my Tivo set to record the Patriots whenever they air (which in Texas is not very frequently!)? Or that I would be going to a Rockets game twice in one year? Or that I would spend every evening glued to the set watching the Olympics?
I never suspected that I would come to like sports. I never minded playing sports, although I didn’t choose to do it as frequently as, say, reading books or playing video games. I always vastly preferred playing to watching sports. At least when you’re playing, you’re in the action. You’re part of what’s going on.
And that’s the key right there, I think. This is why I’m getting interested in sports. I’m learning how much fun it is to root for something in common with those around you. You have something to talk to people about. You can go to a sports bar and instead of just sitting there, eating and glaring at the patrons whose cheering is interrupting your conversation, you can join in. Cheer. Follow the game.
I think people follow sports for the same reason they follow a religion. (Don’t get all mad, like I’m saying sports is a religion, just listen.) It makes you feel a part of a larger community with a common goal. But sports even has a leg up on religion: competition. Human nature is naturally competitive, so sports gives you the community feeling of religion plus the high of watching your team crush somebody else. Who could ask for more?
It was around the time of the last Super Bowl that I started feeling this urge. And now, suddenly, I was considering watching the Texans vs. the Raiders yesterday. I’ve even sat through an entire Rice football game. And even more astonishingly, they won! Now, don’t expect me to be going to any Rice football games any time soon. Let’s not start thinking crazy…