Quirky (adj.): characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits
No other word can encompass sports and its most sincere followers more effectively than “quirky.” Adrian McPherson agrees. Dallas McPherson probably does too. We all know that “quirky” is Timothy Kurkjian’s middle name. Quirkiness is vital to enjoying what sports has to offer to the fullest. Sometimes Juan Pierre hits a home run. Sometimes Samuel Dalembert scores 35 points in a single game. Sometimes even Matt LaPorta is the centerpiece of a blockbuster deal involving CC Sabathia. These events, whether in the moment or in retrospect, make the rigid sports fan tick. The three of us can undoubtedly include ourselves in that conversation, which is, above all, what brings us here. Millions of unfortunate souls, like us, are not blessed with the greatest athletic gifts to make childhood dreams become a reality. Most of these people would concur that playing the game holds an unequivocal enjoyment advantage to simply being a bystander. Thus, in order to match the exhilaration of playing, us bystanders must understand sports holistically and embrace the unexpected, because without unexpected you have bland, with bland you have boredom, and no one likes boredom. Allow me to elaborate and hopefully introduce myself to the world in the process.
As I paced through the streets of downtown Indianapolis on the afternoon of Saturday, April 4, 2015, I saw beauty at its finest right before my eyes at every turn of my head. One could not conjure a more delightful scene. With a sun-soaked, 65 degree day and Lucas Oil Stadium as a backdrop, four of college basketball’s giants roamed the streets. In no better setting than Indianapolis, possibly the greatest basketball town in America, four fanbases gathered, clad in blue, green, and red, sharing looks of disgust or Big Ten nods in respect as they passed each other. Stepping inside the Convocation Center, I saw pillars filled from top to bottom with the logos of the 68 NCAA Tournament teams, 68 unique cultures with one common dream. Off to my right, a man in a vintage Indiana cream sweatshirt, joining us in this epicenter of basketball simply out of his love of the game, could not contain his jubilation, belting, “WE GOT THOMAS BRYANT!” at the top of his lungs. He became a kid again. We all did, the thousands of us there. Only one word could serve as the explanation for this madness. “Sports,” I muttered, unable to prevent myself from grinning ear-to-ear. Sports can unify a city or polarize a nation faster than Bill Raftery can say “man-to-man.” Blink and the Kansas City Royals are 10th in baseball in attendance, infiltrating the 2015 All-Star Game along the way. One “Decision” can transform a hometown hero and American darling into a villain partitioning the sports world into exactly two sides. Sports give us Goliaths. The backbone of its popularity. The conversation-starters. The ones that everyone loves to hate. Sports also give us Davids, whose singular purpose seemingly is to slay the Goliaths, blessing us with outcomes that leave even Luther Vandross speechless. Sports is a better glue guy than Josh Gasser, allowing complete strangers to stick together.
As we embark on this journey, we have positively no clue what the future will hold or what the end result will be. However, we have one goal foremost on our minds: sharing our hobby with the rest of the world. We love sports because Brad Johnson has more rings than Dan Marino. We love sports because the lineage of World Series Game 1 starters includes Anthony Reyes. We love sports because Max Paulhus Gosselin became an elite role player for two weeks. Sports are quirky. We’re quirky. Let us show you why it’s a perfect marriage.