Sporting Events That Cause Americans to Jump on the Bandwagon
It never fails.
Be it every year or every four years, we as Americans, both sports fans and not, decide that for a day, a week or a month we are going to become diehard, knowledgeable fans of sports that we normally couldn't care less about.
These marquee events come around and prompt us to pick a team or player and root for them in athletic competitions where most of us have an extremely limited amount of knowledge of the rules governing them. We catch "the fever" if you will, of whatever sport and event it is that the powers that be have decided to flood our television programming with.
I'm not sure why we do it. Maybe we want to seem more informed or cultured. Maybe we are curious as to what all the fuss is about.
Maybe we are just bored.
Here now, in my opinion, are five sporting events that cause Americans to jump on the respective bandwagons.
College World Series
This one literally hits close to home for me. I'm a resident of Omaha and attend the College World Series every year. This year, I even covered it as a member of the media.
The thing is, I never watch college baseball. Ever. Neither do most of the hundreds of thousands who attend the event in Omaha every year.
No matter. For whatever reason, we read up on the eight qualifying teams at the last minute and decide who we are going to vote for. Then we go to the stadium, buy a team hat and/or shirt and become Mississippi State or Stony Brook fans, even though we didn't even know what color jerseys the teams wore a week earlier.
The Olympic Games
We are all guilty of this one.
When was the last time you watched Michael Phelps swim in a meet that wasn't part of the Olympics? If you answered never, you are not even close to being alone.
The same goes for most other sports in the games. We don't watch gymnastics, diving, track and field or sand volleyball. I grew up wrestling, and I never watch it outside of the NCAA Championships and sometimes the Olympics.
Despite this, we all tune in to every channel in the NBC family of networks every four years to pour our hearts into rooting for athletes we've never heard of playing sports we never watch.
The World Cup
Yes, soccer is the world's most popular sport. Here in the United States of America, however, it's not even close.
No matter, as every four years we bust out our flags (sometimes American, sometimes not), head down to local bars and root on whatever team we decide we are going to be fans of for a month.
As I said, some of us aren't even rooting for our home country, choosing instead to wave the flag of a nation we've never been to just because our ancestors came from there.
When it's all over, most of us won't tune in to another match for another four years.
You really could fill in the name of any major golf tournament here, but as The Masters is the big one here in the U.S, we'll go with it.
I have a friend who actually takes time off every year during The Masters, just so he can sit at home with the beverage of his choice and watch strangers play golf on a beautiful course from dawn until dusk.
The thing is, he plays about as often as I do (4-5 times a year).
I love to play golf, but I can't stand watching others play it, even if I'm playing with them. I get that there are people who watch every tournament. I just don't get the people who never watch golf who feel like they absolutely must tune into The Masters every year.
Like a lot of people, I tuned in this past Sunday to watch Andy Murray become the first British man to win at Wimbledon in 77 years.
Like a lot of people, I don't play tennis. I think I've played twice for about ten minutes. I remember giving up shortly after realizing how much harder it was than playing ping-pong in my buddies garage in high school into the wee hours of the morning.
Any other time of the year, if I see tennis on TV, I flip right past it. Not Wimbledon, though. Wimbledon I need to watch, and I have no idea why.
Come to think of it, I don't even know anyone who regularly plays tennis.