For the love of the game

I’m not going to lie–I spent about 50 percent of last weekend watching sports in some form or another. On Saturday I went to Lincoln, Neb. for the first time ever. While I was there, I visited the state capitol and drove around the historic Haymarket. But I didn’t drive an hour west on I-80 just to visit a new city. I went to watch my favorite team, the Kansas Jayhawks, play basketball against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Then, on Sunday, instead of writing papers as I should have been doing, I watched the Super Bowl (and wrote the papers later).

Would this time have been better spent working on assignments and trying to get ahead for the week? To some people, possibly. But to almost anyone who is a true fan of any team or sport, there is nothing better than getting to see your team play in person. Well…nothing better, except watching your team win in person.

All these athletic commitments–yes, commitments–along with my obvious obsession with the Jayhawks got me thinking about America’s love of sports. In theory, they don’t sound that great: Sit in a hot, noisy, crowded room for two hours watching a bunch of sweaty men (or women) run around and throw a ball at each other or a net. Melt outside in either sweltering heat or freezing cold for three hours while a herd of burly men tackle each other. Nothing about the aforementioned activities sounds appealing…right?

Wrong. Sure, there are plenty of people who could not be paid to go to a baseball game on a hot summer night or watch a hockey game in the bitter cold of winter. But overall, people can’t get enough. Why? Because sports are fun. Whether you’re playing (I would imagine–my parents knew better than to try to put me in organized sports) or watching, sporting events are so captivating and energizing.

Between the anxiety as you watch your team fight back from a multiple-point deficit, the thrill of beating a hated foe or, yes, the heartbreak of a last-minute loss, sports give us something to care about. The camaraderie between fans brings the most unlikely of people together. I’ve had many conversations with people in various parts of the country merely because one of us was wearing a KU shirt. I made friends with people at the KU/UNL basketball game because of our mutual love of the Jayhawks. And never have I given and received so many random hugs from complete strangers as the night in 2008 when KU won the NCAA National Championship in basketball.

So girls, if you’re annoyed your boyfriend is only half-listening as you complain about how you chipped a nail while he’s trying to watch his favorite team’s rivalry game, give him a break. And boys, if you don’t understand why your girlfriend will stay up until 3 am finishing homework she ignored while watching her team of choice play, I have the answer: She does it for the love of the game.

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    • carolzuegner
    • February 13th, 2011

    I have some friends who don’t pay attention to sports at all and I think they are missing something. It is great to be part of the crowd at a college basketball, soccer or football game. I haven’t been to many pro sports, but it’s amazing to watch. Great post!

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