On Day 8 of 30 Days of Blogging, my friend Jason provides a topic:
Talk about sports
Why yes, of course. I am a fan of sports.
Actually, and this may come as a shock to my friends and family (especially based on recent social media posts during Tennessee's rise to the Sweet Sixteen during the Big Dance known as March Madness), I am a fan of sports. More specifically, I am a fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteers, although my excitement mostly confines itself to football and basketball. Swimmers and baseball players are usually really cute and all, but I'm not ready to sit through that, even with ballpark nachos. I tried to explain how this happened back in September, when I expressed too much enthusiasm for football season, but all that did was contribute to the current situation. After I wrote that, I was confronted by a friend.
"So you're a fan... but you don't actually watch any of the games?"
"Well, I, you know... I look up the scores online when the game is over."
"Wow. You're truly a superfan. I'm surprised the media hasn't done a profile."
OK, so I didn't actually watch the games. But I totally nodded when people talked about how great they were. That's like watching the actual game, right?
"Do you even watch the highlights?"
"You mean, like, on Sports Center?"
I know that Sports Center is a thing because I've dated guys who watch sports, and I'm friends with girls who watch sports, and I know a lot of straight guys. All of those groups love the Sports Center.
"Yes, like on Sports Center."
"I could, you know, call Comcast and get ESPN."
You know that moment in comedies when someone says something really stupid and the entire room jerks to a silent halt, except for the dubbed in sound of a needle scratching across a record? That moment happens to me a lot when I attempt to engage in sportsball discussions.
"You already have ESPN. It comes on basic cable."
And what do you know? I actually DID already have ESPN.
So I started watching Sports Center after games. That's how it started. Just a few minutes after each game, hoping that they would mention a specific play and talk about why it was good, so that the next day when I talked to friends I could be all, "Hey, what about that third down hustle when the backback picked that interception off the kick? Huh? Wasn't that awesome?" But they didn't always talk about the games on Sports Center, and when they did they didn't always talk about specific plays or specific players. The only way to guarantee that I could make any attempt at all to discuss the game seemed to be to actually watch it. I started with the gateway drug known as "Sports Center", and then all of a sudden I was mainlining entire games, scanning the channel guide feverishly for the green blocks that say College Football and then figuring out which one my game was on.
Then I started making snacks to go with the game.
And sometimes making frozen drinks in the blender.
And looking away from my video game long enough to watch entire plays.
And Tweeting about it.
So yeah, friends, I watch sports now. I don't always know what I'm watching, and I don't always understand the calls.
I know when everyone else is clapping, though.
And I watch the games.