Guest Post: The Importance of Sports in the Life of the Non-sporting

Sixty Feet, Six Inches Correspondent IAugust 9, 2009

When Peter asked me to write a guest post about sports, I thought that maybe I could focus on the competition at the heart of humanity or the social advantages sports give society. I then realized that all of that is a bunch of overly academic crap that should be saved for college research paper rather than thrown into the endlessly casual conversation that is the blogosphere.

Let me begin with some self-description. You all know me, I’m the guy who you could pass off a baseball team’s name when talking about football and I probably wouldn’t second guess you. I’m the guy who strays away from conversations about ladders, brackets, and anything that digs deeper than the local team winning or losing the week before. I’m the guy that seems like he couldn’t care less about sports.

At first glance, I would agree, but as I really think about the importance of sports in my life, I realize that there is a bit more to the story. I have spent many memorable and great afternoons with friends lounging about Victory Field as the Indians run the bases below the Indianapolis skyline. I took excited trips downtown amidst my youth to watch the Indianapolis Ice and spend quality time with my grandparents. I gathered my friends together throughout the high school years to watch the Super Bowl and party the night away, regardless of who won in the end.

I was raised with the constant reminder that I had an amazing athlete of a great-grandfather who played for the Detroit Red Wings long ago and even won the Stanley Cup twice. I have forever had an undeniable allegiance to the team regardless of how little I follow the sport that year and how many of the players I recognize. Like I always say, "I got blood on dat team."

Sports are so much more than mere competition, than some form of over-stretched and greatly exaggerated display of masculinity and testosterone gone awry. Sports, to the non-sporting, are like art: fascinating, unusual, and wonderfully social. They are intrinsically powerful because, unlike art, so much of their drama, their struggle is raw and unfiltered. The underdog wasn’t fabricated by a group of writer’s in a Hollywood office. The dynasty isn’t painted to act as a symbol of the futility of existence. It is primal, simple and absolutely real.

I know I went a bit down the road that I intended not to from the get go, but it’s how I truly feel. I would never do away with all the world’s sport fanatics and endless stream of live games and re-runs of Sportscenter clogging up my precious television. I wouldn’t wish away the downtown traffic jam before and after the big games or the impossibility of finding a seat at Buffalo Wild Wings on game night. These are the things that shape a great portion of every American’s life, especially mine, and I would argue for the better.

One thing I would do away with though is all those Red Wings haters. Those fools gotta remember, "I got blood on dat team."

When not writing guest posts for blogs dedicated to topics he doesn't follow, Christian Sorrell studies creative writing at Butler University.

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