More Than Just The Game

This is a self-analytical reflection of myself that I wrote for my Creative Writing class in school. Warning: This is not your typical slapping together of words by strained high school students for a measly grade.

Sports. They’re fun, right?

Whether it is watching gems of athleticism do it in front of cameras or going to the park and doing it yourself, sports is the ultimate pastime. Sports, for the most part, isn’t riddled with divisive politics or racial tensions. All the throwing, dribbling, and hitting is served on a platter of competition, passion, and excitement. They are great for killing time, and form as the best way to exercise and hang out with friends. In the case of investing enough time with the professionals duking it out, you may find yourself rooting for a specific team, based on hometown location or other preferences. I don’t think sports could describe itself better than I did.

Perhaps I only described the casual sport fan. The more intensified sports follower kicks it up a notch with this pastime, to really make it a full time. These folks stand out in the parking lot outside of stadiums just a marginal six hours before the game. They push their friendships to the limit with arguments relating to the game. The game is interest and priority #1.

Maybe I wasn’t painting my face with team colors or throwing riots on the streets after a tough loss, but I was that guy. Sports was the medically unidentified blood type of mine, despite possessing a limited skill-set of athletic ability. All of my free time, including whatever the opposite of free time is, was dedicated to shooting around at the courts with pals of mine or viewing the hometown Celtics and Red Sox on TV, with a subconscious obligation to analyze the game. When my opinions and thoughts, known as “hot takes,” came out of the oven, I would throw it in the ring with other takes, comparing them to the radio personalities on New England’s 98.5 The Sports Hub and the talking heads on Twitter.

Lots of past tense right there, so the cat’s out of the bag now. Currently, I have reached the point where sports do not resonate with me quite like they used to, almost to the extent of apathy. Despite my lack of genuine excitement for the New England Patriots being heavy Super Bowl favorites and my new tendency to check out during the typical Celtics weeknight game, I really didn’t want this day to come along the horizon. There definitely has to be a Ten Commandment in fine print that I am cursing against.

As soon as this trend was becoming a fixture, I installed a factory of excuses to hold off this unfortunate verdict. Rather than diagnose the big picture, I pushed every ounce of my issues on the smaller scale.

  • In 2016, I complained about the supposed lower quality of games in my beloved National Football League. How so, exactly? Just because the hometown Patriots outclass and outplay almost every opponent that comes their way? With each draft class and its plethora of freak athletes that enter the league, each season is just as enticing as the last. I did have the time of a life during the Pats’ miraculous comeback in that following Super Bowl, but everyone is going to enjoy watching a comet emerge from a black hole.
  • As the days of summer continue to get hotter, I drag my feet to a close-by but had-better-days basketball court. Here, I would mindlessly shoot around with pals of mine like we were programmed to do so. I really can’t say we had fun in all. This had to be the always relatable case of your friends becoming boring people. Oh, that’s just me?
  • Oh, what do you figure, now baseball is going down the toilet. Much like the last Patriots and football season, I struggle to consistently invest in this Red Sox season. Baseball has its issues with connecting to the younger generation because of its game length and pace of play, but this is only the next step in an unfortunate pattern of mine.
  • Hold on a minute. I have real and spectacular excitement for this Celtics season. Oh yeah, this team is loaded, and are sure to create buzz around here. *Gordon Hayward is taken away on a stretcher.* So…. where were we? Oh, I just don’t have a lot of enthusiasm with this Celtics team.

No more. No more excuses, because there is no more unconditional sports love. Logically, this could be just, what they call, a “phase.” If I was twelve years younger, than that totally makes sense. This enlightenment of mine probably isn’t the result of me temporarily fading away from the weekly Patriots game with the Bills. This change is real, because sports do not seem real in my world.

As a high school senior in the midst of the college application and decision firestorm, sports should be my security blanket. Most others view sports on their television as an escape from the problematic in and outs of their lives. Well, my whole life has felt like an escape. Sports weren’t there for me to take leisure in after a tough practice or drama rehearsal. Those 25-something year olds cashing in millions of dollars to go reach for a ball were my in and outs of life. Playing on a team or performing on a group develops your character, and I have been escaping from that for far too long.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, following the professional sports world like a religion or career blinded me from what I’m doing now. If all the dominoes fall correctly, I hope I find myself posting these reflectional pieces online somewhere as my future. If that’s the case, then I have to be in touch with myself, emotionally, spiritually, whatever. Every action and step of mine needs to relate to my writing. I’m putting every last fiber in my body for this purpose, because this is all I’ve got going for me. The possibility of me staying a consistent member of the baseball team, forming relationships with coaches and other important figures in the community, and making an overall difference in the community is in the past. My resume is awfully thin due to my incompetency to just go out more. To make up for my blown chances, I have to live my life like it is a string of memoirs and reflections.

I know it sounds shortsighted to connect my avid sports passion to me being stagnant. I really use it to contrast what’s it like for me in the present. Sports consumed me previously. Now, I can’t get over the red flag that sports is a non-factor in my life, in that emotional and spiritual level. I don’t have it in me anymore to get all riled up about the Celtics falling behind in the Eastern Conference standings. Essentially, if I can’t write about it, then it is borderline irrelevant.

So, what’s the endgame in all of this? Any possible reader just sat through a three and a half page timeline of some high school kid liking sports, then he didn’t, and now he’s on some anti-sports sabbatical. Yep, that’s close enough. Think of this in the latter of that description. In a time of my life where I constantly need to be in touch with myself, which in it of itself is me feeling and being important, crazed sports fandom can’t come along this new ship of mine. I wish I hadn’t become so self-conscious about my relevance in society. It’s a hurdle I simply can’t avoid.

Sports: We had a great run. I’d love to keep in touch as friends, but this thing of ours is over. It’s not you, it’s me. No, really.