By Mark Smith
I’ve met quite a few people who don’t like sports. I actually had a group of friends full of them, which caused me to start writing as an outlet for having a conversation about sports, but they have since come to their senses. While I certainly don’t agree with people who dislike sports, I do kind of understand it. Sports are pretty much useless as a form of entertainment. Music, art, reading, and writing can all add valuable contributions to society, but the only real advantage of sports is making exercise fun. Character-building for things like discipline, teamwork, hard work, etc. can all be learned through other outlets, and sports can actually be harmful and cause serious health problems.
That, of course, doesn’t mean sports are actually useless. They do teach all those positive characteristics I mentioned, and they do get people out of the house for a little exercise. While they may not contribute to society, they do entertain many, many people, and as a form of entertainment, that’s all they really are supposed to do. It’s really about individual preference.
What I have rarely met, however, is someone who likes sports but actually has a good reason for disliking another sport. I can understand liking certain sports more than others, but I don’t really understand how one can simply dislike another sport. Sports are fun because they include (in no order) exercise, strategy, competition, teamwork, and a distraction, but they all include those in some form or another. Depending on how you feel about those characteristics and how they relate to your enjoyment of sports, your ranking of the sports will be different from someone else’s, which is fine. What I find is that people are either socialized into disliking it by family, friends, community, or whatever, aren’t good at it, or don’t understand the nuances. Considering most of us are armchair fans, the second isn’t a good reason. As for the rest, once you give it a try and learn, you’ll gain at least an appreciation for it, though you may never love it.
But I’m continually surprised by people who simply dislike a sport. This weekend was a perfect example. With this past weekend being the opening weekend for the NFL, usual baseball tweeters began tweeting non-baseball stuff, and there were quite a few people who weren’t happy about the new influx of football information on their timeline.
Now, I do understand somewhat. Most of the people I follow are baseball or Braves-related, and I expect most of my timeline to be related to such. I don’t have a particular interest (note “particular interest”, not dislike) in politics, soccer, the NBA, or random people asking athletes to RT them, and sure, I would prefer a timeline of things that are about what I want to read about.
But that really isn’t possible. We all have different interests, and while we expect certain people to talk about certain things on Twitter, we also like when people are fairly well-rounded. People come to KLaw chats to talk literature and cooking. People chat with Marc Normandin and Kevin Goldstein about video games. Do I particularly enjoy those parts of the chats? Is that why I read those people? No, but I understand it comes with the territory, and when I’m not at all in the mood, I (gasp) move past those parts.
Otherwise, I don’t know what you expect. I love baseball, and she’s my one true love (for those concerned about my actual relationship priorities, please do not hold the rest of this against me … unless you’re a beautiful woman’s body. Sorry, I couldn’t resist). But I’m a man, and I have needs. I can’t go a few months without sports, and while it’s still baseball season, I’ve got to get ready for when baseball has “her time”. I like the blood, sweat, violence, teamwork, and euphoria of a sports season, and I won’t restrict myself to one sport. Baseball understands that I like football, basketball, and golf, and she understands that, while I may stray for a while, I’ll be back again. Baseball is who I end up with, who I take to meet the family, and who I choose above all others. But I have no problem with any other sport, and I’ll continue to tweet about it. If you have a problem, unfollow me or ignore me. Baseball nags me enough about that gutter that needs fixing.