It was after midnight here in California; most 18 year olds' would be in bed, studying for a test the next Monday, or on the phone with their lovers
me...its February 4th now, and I was still in shock on the Giants Superbowl win. really
Ever since I could remember, sports have been my life. I started off as an observer (naturally), then I became an analyzer, then a commentator, every little step before I became a full blown addict. While most 11 year old kids were riding their bikes and playing games; I was trying to figure out what a 4-2-3 double play meant. I surrounded myself with sports, I knew I would forever be embedded with them. One time in 7th grade we had to do a collage report on anyone that was our hero. I remember my friend Michael had done Tony Hawk, my other friend Magan had done her report on Shel Silverstein, I had done my report on the newly traded Jason Kidd. My first sport was basketball, and I was a Nets fan, so it was perfect for me. I went on to explain in my project how much Kidd meant to the Nets, and how even Byron Scott can find ways for him to make the team better; I even went on to say how much better Keith Van Horns' numbers would be. That was the first memory that I had that I knew I was going to be very knowledgeable.
Now I know what you are thinking; either "this story sucks" or "hey I was just like that!". Trust me, the story gets better. Of course I began to grow up, evolving into a teenager and puberty and all of that nonsense. But my thirst for sports just became more unquenchable. My father had always been a Dallas Cowboys' fan for as long as I can remember, his faint chants of "Emmit!" still ring in my ear. My next sport was football, and boy did that serve me right. I made sure no stone was left unturned. I learned the players names, what colleges' they attended, where in the draft they were taken, I wanted to know the players. In my freshman year of high school I started playing football, and I was the middle linebacker in a pretty simple 3-4 formation. I was the voice of the defense, I screamed out "fireside sky blitz" which was just a OLB blitz while I dropped back 5 yards into coverage and the safety's came up a bit. For anyone who actually has played sports, know that it is totally different than watching. Obviously it is, but the knowledge I had of football made me a force; I was not the biggest MLB (5'6 180 LBS) and I was not impressing anyone with my numbers (54 tackles, 1 Int) but I made sure I was the best I could have been.
Sports are not only a fun thing, they are sometimes the ONLY thing. Now please excuse me if I drag this on, but I think this story helps me make my point that sports are important to me. I had a girlfriend (who will remain nameless) and man I was "in love" everything was great! I was happy, nothing seemed to go wrong for me. I'm sure most of you reading this have had that experience. A kid who thinks he is in love, how many times have you heard that. I remember one time (one of the rare times) I had snuck over to her house when her parents went to the mall. We kissed and the I laid on her bed while she went to the bathroom. She came back and I was not shirtless, not pants less, I had not even taken off my shoes, I turned on the TV to watch the Heisman presentation. To her disbelief she was kind of upset, but she just laid next to me and watched it with me. "What is a Heisman, babe?" she asked. "its the MVP of college football" I replied. "Who is going to win?" she asked immediately following my answer, "If I knew I would not be watching, sweetie". Matt Leinart won the trophy that year and I felt a rush of emotion that I had never had before. I was so happy I literally jumped out of my shoes, then hugged my girlfriend, and ran out of the house to go celebrate with my friends.
Great boyfriend right?.
With every teenage love story comes a teenage break up story
Yes, we "discontinued" our relationship. I was bummed (the biggest understatement I have ever made, but I want to make this short and sweet) and guess what I had turned to...right! sports. By this time (my junior year) I was so much into sports, I focused my attention towards that instead of my "heartache". Instead of "why did she break up with me" it became "why did Hines' drop that pass? it was in his hands". Now that I am a sophomore in college, I look back on that time and laugh heartily.....how DID Hines drop that pass?!
As a fan, that is all I really am. I do not get paid millions to tell people how much yards I think Alex Smith will pass for. I just beef with other fans and discuss how i think the season will go...for free! And I think that is the beauty of sports, that we can sit down and talk. Me and a stranger might never talk, but on BleacherReport (name drop!) I can read how he thinks A-Rod is a baby, and even though he is a stranger, I can tell him how I feel, and bam...we have something in common. Take September 11th as an example, ( I know I am sorry I am using this example, but it is perfect) we not only united as a nation, we united each other around sports. Suddenly the New York Knicks were not this sad excuse for basketball, they were an escape from this catastrophe. Hurricane Katrina brought everyone together, from Reggie Bush helping build houses in New Orleans to Stephon Marbury having a melt down in front of reporters during a post game press conference.
I hope this unity never ends. I hope that it will only get stronger. And even though I will probably never get a Red Soxs' fan and Yankee fan to sit in a room together, that unity is still there.
Thank you for reading my article. It seems sappy from my point of view, but hey that's why I write for BleacherReport, because your guys' (and girls') opinions mean more. =]