Darkness. Near ink black, opaque visual silence. Somewhere in the midst lies a figure who finds himself not only lost in a room that is nearly empty to the eyes but also lost in the somewhere between boyhood and manhood. There are two sources of light in the room one small and reading 3:34 AM, the other muffled and providing the boy-man with a third source of disorientation. The third disorientation differs from the visual sort of the first and the ritual identity crisis of the second; the third disorientation is more of a bewilderment than anything else, he is not lost from sight or space; he is not unsure of how he is this sort of lost. The source of this disorientation is the 34th minute of the 3rd straight rerun of the same Sportscenter in the same night that the same boy-man has watched with the same intensity.
The boy-man, for clarification, is me, and that same night could very likely describe perfectly nearly any single night of my entire high school life. (I was cool.)
The morning after, I’ll watch the same rerun, the information within since rearranged for the sake of entertainment, likely 3 straight times if classes are not in session.
Why? Was I as unwilling to disobey my parents’ strict policy on what was and wasn’t to be watched as LeBron was to lose to the Warriors this past week? Maybe, but then I probably would have fallen short to the ever-victorious peer pressure of my siblings and classmates. Was I probably more playing the role of 2011 NBA Finals LeBron? Too afraid of the ideas conjured in my own mind of what could happen should I be caught, skipping over the what could happen should I get to see Parental Control? Hell’s Kitchen?? Jersey Shore??? Possibly, but then I would have had to have been the best underminer of my parents’ authority in the first place, and I was not. I had legitimate reason to fear their fury. Was I as brainwashed by the program as Greg Jennings claimed to be by the Packers? I wouldn’t know, I haven’t left sports for business in search of money yet, I’ve had no opportunity to purify my mind.
Maybe more importantly, why watch it 3-6 times in a row? This next line is going to prove me to be either very smart, or very dumb. Or a bit of both.
I wanted to make sure I was able to take in all that I could, not miss a single detail. However serious the crisis that is the bias Sportscenter shows towards entertainment (or against America’s past time), their facts are facts. And while they may not know it, sometimes they deliver their facts in a comedic fashion- they show surprise when the Browns release the best player they’ve had join their team in the past 8 years (the Browns are bad, they find ways to lose), they hop on the DJ Hayden bandwagon when they see the Raiders have sitting at 2nd overall (bad teams take bad players), they listen to Mel Kiper’s views of the NFL Draft as supreme (he at least did himself a favor and knew who Brett Favre was back in 1991).
My take on their less than stellar tendencies aside though (again, I wouldn’t doubt that they try to be funny), what was the real reason for watching a program from midnight to four and then again from 7 to noon?
I love sports. I like dissecting and assessing a league, a season, a game, a team, a player just as politicians enjoy dissecting and assessing the universe, the Earth, the countries of the Earth, their country on Earth, and especially their state in their country on Earth every few years. I love seeing 1 man face 9 on a diamond as the last chance at surviving what has been a 161 game long season of similarly pulse quickening trials. I love seeing each year over 300 new players’ attempts at becoming 1 of the already 1600 strong corps, just for the opportunity to stroll out every Sunday for 22 weeks in helmet and armor to protect their cities’ reputation. I love seeing a changing of the guard as a team, after slogging through ten years of irrelevancy or worse, begins its ascent and then fights to sustain it as past giants become more and more vulnerable. I love that nothing is guaranteed other than that nothing is guaranteed each time forces meet on a diamond, field, court, rink- not that it’ll be exciting or boring, not that it’ll be showy or gritty, not that everyone will walk away holding hands (they shouldn’t), not that anything was learned or gained from the experience other than that someone, somewhere has absolutely found a way to get away with subliminal messaging on every goddamned jumbotron throughout America telling me that Dippin Dots and a High Life for $14 is neither disgusting nor a rip off but in fact a delectable, well priced combination that deserves to be a staple in my stadium cuisine. And to be a little real now, (I know I’m only just introduced to you and am only a 21 year old who spent years of his life watching Sportscenter more than anything else, but…) if you were to go back and read my final reason for loving sports with blind eyes, not considering the fact that I wrote it for sports, I’ll be damned if you don’t get at least a single glimpse of what your adult life has probably been and likely will continue to be like (unless you’re the someone, somewhere brainwashing me into drinking beer while eating pellets of ice cream in which case go fuck yourself). Sports are simply what the greatest of movies try to be, better done than any reality TV show and, in other words, a perfect way to do everybody’s favorite past time of forgetting your own life by watching another’s.
I have a theory. When you like something, keep doing it. When you love something, never stop doing it.