Monday, January 17, 2011

I Used to Watch Football, But Now I'm Self-Righteous

I attended my first college football game when I was 21 months old. I didn't really have much of a choice in the matter, but I ended up enjoying it and became a football fan for life. Well, at least that's how it was supposed to go.

Through my teens and early 20s I didn't attend as many games as I had in my pre-teen days, but I was a strict football follower. I not only watched as many college and NFL games as possible, but checked the ESPN website several times a day, listened to ESPN radio, and made regular visits to team sites, including teams I didn't even like. Why? When I like something, I fully immerse myself in it, even if it's just a passing interest. It is the thrill of knowing as much as possible about a subject that draws me in, not always the subject itself. I'm a know-it-all and, therefore, a whore for anything that has lots of statistics and meaningless trivia that I can cram into my brain to take up the space where I should be storing the Krebs Cycle, the equations for the three types of photosynthesis, or that simple action potential figure I can never remember. Important things don't stick with me, useless crap is permanently ingrained. So, I followed football, and then baseball because they provided me with a refreshing amount of useless crap.

I then acquired a good deal of tangible, useless, sports related crap; the material incarnation of my internal collection. I liked the idea of it all, but I didn't really like it. It did not satisfy my desire to know, just my desire to wear polyester, which is not a very strong desire at all. I had no idea what to do with the figurines, the photos, or the other bits of clutter. I didn't want to display them proudly, they are certainly not art, and did not appeal to my aesthetic, but I felt they needed to be displayed as a monument to my obsession. Never have bobble-heads caused such internal torment.

Eventually, I didn't have time to follow as many games. I realized that I didn't really want to watch the ones I could; I liked the idea of being a hard-core football fan far more than I liked football. I would watch a few games while doing other things, but I never really paid much attention. It was just something I was supposed to do.

Once I was no longer engrossed, I started to see things differently. I had dismissed the bad behavior of the players and the violent nature and offensive attitudes so common to the sport. These are things I fight against, and I had been supporting them. While I never really made a decision to stop watching football, I found it increasingly difficult to root for the individual players, and for teams that supported and even fostered the conduct and atmosphere I deplored. Also, I decided not to get cable when I moved. This was possible because so much of my TV time had been devoted to sports, that once I took that away I was only watching BBC America, PBS, and home shopping channels, with an occasional stop on CSPAN to check out BookTV-I like the idea of reading, but am lazy and find it difficult to multitask while doing so,  I have no culture nor shame.

Now that I am too self-righteous to follow football, I have time for things like watching random videos on YouTube and nail polish.  I think its clear I've made a noble decision, and hope that I can continue to live up to my new found ability to take the high road. As long as it's not too high, I'm terrified of heights.

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