The Matter With Sports

Once, in a college class, I casually — or perhaps not so casually — made the comment that people could afford to get obsessed about sports because the games really don’t matter. It’s something you allow yourself to feel passionately about, knowing it isn’t going to change your life anymore than you allow it.

Sports don’t matter?

That shocked some of my classmates, disgusted others (who didn’t even deign to respond), and amused my professor, who agreed with me.

Let’s look at what I think does matter. Poverty, putting food on the table or the simple ability to pay your bills responsibly. Family and close friends, especially as we grow older. Our health, whether it’s maintaining or regaining it.

sportsCertainly I understand the commitment professional coaches and players are going to have. It’s their livelihood, and a high pressure one at that. Yes, it matters to them. In fact, it’s likely to have a lifelong effect, one way or the other. So for anyone who makes a living in the world of sports, it matters, to varying degrees.

To those of us who just watch, bitch & moan, cheer at the top of our lungs and all the rest, it’s entertainment. It doesn’t matter.

I’m from Minnesota, which means I’m not used to seeing championship teams. In 1987, however, the Twins shocked everyone by winning the World Series. Their fans, and I was one of them, were euphoric. Good memories, fun to relive, but those games didn’t change my life one bit. Okay, I got a sweatshirt.

They won again in 1991, a top-notch World Series, and while the euphoria wasn’t the same (we’d been there before), it felt GOOD. Yet once again, it didn’t change my life, or the lives of too many of its fans. Maybe some won big money from ill-advised betting (a redundant phrase in my book), but no doubt the vast majority of that money was quickly spent, probably not wisely.

trophyStill, there is a certain camaraderie that develops. My mom is friends with her next-door neighbor, a reclusive man who few in her building have gotten to know, because he’s heard her yelling when the Vikings score a touchdown. He’s a bigger fan than she is and loves to talk about the game, what they did wrong and on rare occasions, what they did right (for some reason, Vikings fans never like to talk about their team has done right).

In the end, sports don’t matter, any more than your favorite television show or beloved novel does. Yet…of course they do,  because they’re  an outlet for all that does matter. It gives us a chance to vent our emotions and say what we have to say in a safe environment.

And damn it, it’s fun.

Image Credits: (Football Players) © Bigstock; (Sports Equipment, Trophy) © Graphic Stock

9 Replies to “The Matter With Sports”

  1. When my kids were younger, I coached my younger son’s soccer team for a few years. “It’s only a game” could never be uttered to some parents. And they transferred that to the kids. They were only 5-6 years old! Let them have fun and learn while they are having fun. The dad coaches were even worse. They would roll their eyes when they were playing the team ‘with the mom as coach.’ It was fun, but it was hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t understand teaching kids that attitude. If you’re a professional athlete (or coach), or an Olympic hopeful, I understand that difference. Parents who want bragging rights…I’ve seen it, and I’ve watched their children break down and cry. It’s abusive.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That camaraderie can indeed develop in the most unlikely of circumstances…and between those whom you’d not expect to get along otherwise. Finding out someone is a fan of your team – or teams – can be the start of a wonderful friendship. Good conversation starter if nothing else!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I like sports…and value them. But I think their importance in our lives needs to be weighed against those things that truly have an impact, such as hunger and our health. However, friendships that develop over a shared interest can save us, and I have at least one of those directly related to football. So you’re right, get the conversation going!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thoughtful post. I work in sport development and in a recent interview I was asked what my biggest weakness was. I replied that I love sport too much and that was a weakness. Raised eyebrows on other side of the table (it was a job in sport) but I went on to explain that just because I love sport doesn’t mean everyone else does and I need to work as if I didn’t. That weakness then becomes a strength when you’re trying to get people active for health reasons. So congrats you are spot on – it’s just a game….maybe whisper it though LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I love sports, and I think it does have a place in our lives, but there needs to be proper perspective. I was speaking primarily to our roles as spectators in this post, but it does have broader application. Thank you for your comments and help in putting all this into perspective!


  4. I don’t watch sports (I used to watch tennis a long time ago) – but participating has brought such depth to my life. I play womens’ doubles tennis and I have such dear friends from that. It’s truly a sport for a lifetime.
    I’m glad you wrote about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Playing is a whole different game (pun intended). While I am woefully not athletic, I do believe in the value of playing sports. But as a fan, sports have as much importance as we give them…and some people give them way too much importance!!

      Liked by 1 person

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