Sports

All I'm saying is that professional sports are way too inflated in this country. Nobody gave them permission to join themselves to the very definition of what makes a man in our culture. Sports are inescapable if you want to be normal.

I was saying something along those lines as I could feel the tips of my ears throb with blood. A coworker had simply asked me if I was going to watch the super bowl this weekend. It was an innocent question, but I rarely pass up the opportunity to ride my sports suck high horse around the track.

I wasn't always like this. Let me take you back to the year 2002. Between Tyler Arnason, Kyle Calder, Steve Sullivan, Mark Bell, and Jocelyn Thibault, the Chicago Blackhawks had the perfect recipe for a Stanley Cup that season. Despite their hyped lineup, they were absolutely terrible. Chicagoans basically forgot this once bloodthirsty hockey team even existed - that is - all but one Chicagoan.

Enter Alex. He was twelve years, and once confessed to his counselor at AWANA that he idolizes hockey. The self-donned slogan I'M A HOCKEY PLAYER - END OF STORY could be found on the title page of his diary. He never missed a game, and no matter how last night ended up for the Hawks he always had enough pride in his city to write the score on the whiteboard the next day at school. He would hand out little pocket sized season schedules that he laminated himself. He watched every game on TV from start to finish.

One weekend, he even emptied the savings account his parents started for him when he was a baby to purchase three tickets to Maggiano's Pucks and Pasta - all just so he could eat plain spaghetti noodles in the same room as two professional Hockey players.

Then something horrible happened. Some terrible men announced on TV that there would be no hockey for the rest of the season. A wages dispute caused the NHL coaches to go on strike. Thus began the 2002 NHL lockout. Alex was bitter - so bitter that he never turned to Sports Center again. He forever resented anything and anyone that reminded him of the lonely desolation of the NHL lockout.

Which brought me here - an angry semi-regular yoga participant barking about how useless sports are in this country. We finished up our lunch and I trudged back to my desk. I checked my RSS feeds, like I usually do after lunch, and saw I had an unread XKCD comic sitting in my tray.

superbowl.png

It was like a knife through the heart. I was overrun with the error of my ways. Surely if the author of XKCD - probably the nerdiest person imaginable - could coexist with the sports world, then so could I.

He is absolutely right. People cannot help what they are passionate about, and if it isn't hurting anyone, they shouldn't have to. Pulling them aside to try to convince them that their passion makes them a lesser person is the furthest thing from polite.

Take this as my formal apology, sports fans. For all the times I have implied you had monkey brains, I am sorry. I cannot promise it's going to be easy, but the next time a stranger approaches me at the bar and implores me for my take on Alabama's team this year, I'm going to do everything in my power to choke back the venom and kindly reply, "I don't have much of an opinion - but I bet you do. Let 'r rip, lonely bar stranger." Enjoy the super bowl, everybody. Tell me all about it tomorrow.