Sports should blow your mind

Brock Harrington

Men don’t understand women. We never have.

However, I think it’s utterly senseless for the greater sex to believe that they indeed know everything about men, our world, our love for all the things women find stupid and especially our love for sports.

Last Monday, Sara Petersen stated she didn’t get it. She didn’t understand why individuals play sports and risk their livelihood to compete. She didn’t know why her boyfriend, who happens to be a Cincinnati Bengals fan (which is surprising because I thought I was the only one), would be irritable the rest of the day because the orange-and-black-striped diseased football team lost yet another game.

Well, Ms. Petersen, I don’t have a solid answer for this – because there are too many obvious ones to choose from. For starters, lets take a look at what is “sports.”

Sports is something that turns friends into enemies and more enemies to friends. Sports is what makes a 50-year-old Ohio man different from a 50-year-old Michigan man. Sports is surprisingly surprising. It’s unpredictable – ask Bostonians. It’s sickening; ask a body builder. It’s tear-jerking: Ask the thousands of people who showed up at the Louisiana Superdome a few years ago to celebrate the return of professional football to a city many felt was dead.

I could go on, but perhaps that clears it up, and perhaps I have lost you.

I agree with you: I don’t get it either, but I love it.

Why do athletes risk their bodies? Can’t tell you. But I respect Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali because I don’t have the nerves to box. Why does a running back keep going, even after being tackled a million times? Well, do you know how it feels to score a touchdown in front of 40,000 plus people? Neither do I, but I bet it’s more exhilarating than the final episode of “Gossip Girl.”

Then of course there are “those guys.” You described them as ones who believe they’re cool because they love sports so much. I politely and delicately ask: What the hell is wrong with that?

I know too many people who go overboard with the team jerseys, the team jackets and the hats – don’t ever forget the team hat. But then again, I also know more people who act the same way but with music.

Those people are often worse because not only do you have to see their shirts and hats of their favorite band, but you have to listen to their music. So what’s the difference between a music junkie and a sports fan?

I also know the “Oh, I’m so cool because I know everything about politics. I’m going to wear every lapel pin I can find on my jacket – I am such a political junkie” person. They’re awful because they turn a conversation about Bazooka Bubble gum into a political speech on water resources.

So what’s the difference?

I know that fathers can sometimes get into fights at little league games. I understand that soccer is beyond comprehension.

Those incidents shock me like Tonya Harding clubbing Nancy Kerrigan did.

Why does this happen? Why does a world class figure skater beat the gold medal out of another skater with a car club? Why do millions of people riot after a soccer game, or a dad go shirtless at his daughter’s softball game? WHY, WHY, WHY?

Because there’s nothing like winning. And this world – and America – loves winners.

But that doesn’t answer all the questions, does it?

When a Buffalo Bills fan hears the words “Super Bowl,” they probably cry. Cleveland fans despise Pittsburgh fans. This happens because they’re a part of two families that hate each other more than the Hatfields and McCoys. Black, white, rich, poor, Jewish, Atheist – if you like the damn Browns/Bills you’re respectable and good in my book, is the thinking.

My final point to why people play and love sports is because, for some actual blood families, it’s the only thing they have in common. My granddad, born in 1919, loved the Kansas Jayhawks. He was a neonatologist with a degree from Kansas University. When my mother was born in the late 1950s, he was watching a freshman named Wilt Chamberlain play for Kansas. The first athlete I was taught to love was Danny Manning. My granddad was the greatest person ever, and I got to know him because I liked watching basketball games with him.

The last time I spoke with my granddad the conversation was about the upcoming Kansas basketball season and the new freshman class. When the Jayhawks finally won the NCAA Championship this past March, I received a call from my mom telling me she was holding a pouch of his ashes throughout the entire game.

That’s sports. That’s religion. That’s something to believe in.

That’s sports, Sara, and you’re welcome to enjoy it any time you want.

Contact sports editor Brock Harrington at [email protected].