Recently, a friend of mine got a whole bunch of crap dumped on her because she wrote a very nice post on social media, expressing her disgust at one team’s displays of poor sportsmanship.
She had nothing negative to say about the actual SPORT that the team plays. In fact, she compliments one of their rivals on their role model-esque class.
And yet, after the post went viral, she was harassed, threatened, and ridiculed for her post. I guess, if I think about it, that’s the exact kind of behavior I would expect from people who defend an unsportsmanlike group of pseudo-athletes.
Well, her haters are REALLY going to love this confession.
Are you ready?
I don’t like sports.
There. I said it.
Allow me to defend my position, please, before you release the Anthrax spores.
When I was a kid, my parents became concerned that I was…shall we say…the opposite of active? I was a bookworm. I didn’t run and climb trees and all of the other stuff that kids are expected to do. In fact, I was a klutz. I walked into walls, tripped over my own feet, and had more bruises than a truckload of apples that had been dumped off a rocky mountain.
(You know what’s cool? I said all that in the past tense, as if anything has changed. It hasn’t.)
Anyway, my parents decided that I needed to get over my hatred of motion, so they signed me up for softball.
Nobody knew it, at this time, but I am legally blind in one high and hopelessly nearsighted in the other. Even with my visual impairment, I was able to break a record for the city sports league, that summer…for catching the most balls…with my FACE.
Every practice, every game, I left with a bloody nose or black eye.
Still, my parents had committed me to this sport I never asked to be a part of, so I was under an obligation to finish the season.
Shortly after my final game (and dental repair), my eye problem was diagnosed.
I guess my parents must have felt a little guilty for my season of blind terror, because they never insisted that I play any type of ball sport, again.
Instead, Father brought home a quarter midget race car and informed me that I was going to be a race car driver.
I was so excited. I had never watched racing, but I figured that it would be self-explanatory. Race cars were cool. Heck, in fifth grade, driving ANY car was cool. I wasted no time in telling anyone who would listen that I was going to be (*ahem*) a RACER.
The day came. I was going to sign up for my very first race.
I was ready. I’d read the rule book, studied lines, and learned all of the terminology and flag colors. Halfway to the track, my mother must have realized that this was a ten year late abortion, on her behalf, and suicide, on mine.
She turned the car around and drove home. Some guys came and got the race car.
I never even got to hear it run.
She knew I was upset about the whole thing, so she signed me up for karate.
I enjoyed karate, and made it up to the green belt in no time. However, to get any further, I would have to spar with other karate people. Apparently, the only thing Mother felt killed more kids than sparring was quarter midget racing.
I wasn’t allowed to go to classes, any more.
A summer at a lifeguard-training class had me feeling pretty confident about my water skills. When I got into high school, I immediately joined the school swim team. That is how I learned that I could only save people who were drowning in slow motion.
A friend of mine had horses, and I took up barrel racing. I did very well until, one afternoon, when I was eating my lunch and watched my horse run the cloverleaf without me.
He got a faster time, too.
You know how some kids say that they were the last to be chosen in gym class? I ENVIED those kids. My classmates would actually choose kids who were ABSENT before they picked me.
So, yeah. I suck at sports.
Because of my lack of an athletic gene, I decided to dislike all sports until I discovered flat track motorcycle racing, a decade ago. This is a sport where men and women race…at speeds topping 130 mph, on some tracks… inches away from each other, with little-to-no protection.
The rewards are few and far between. There is no celebrity status, no big money, no paparazzi or book deals. These are the most down-to-earth and genuine people you could hope to meet. Most impressive of all is their incredible sportsmanship. It’s nothing to see two guys working on a third racer’s bike, with parts borrowed from a fourth guy and tools, from a fifth… and then see all five of them line up side-by-side on the starting line to fight tooth-and-nail for the coveted win.
I see other athletes, in other sports, punching opponents and screaming at coaches. I read about some athletes who commit robberies, rape, and even murder. I hear about fans of these athletes, harassing a former fan for having the fortitude to speak up against the terrible example that these players are displaying, as potential role models for children like hers. I can’t do a thing but shake my head in disgust…
And, maybe, write a little blog post in her defense. You see, these people that inspired her to speak out against unsportsmanlike behavior? The people that are threatening her and calling her awful names, under the guise of being “loyal to their team?” Yeah… these are the kinds of people that make me glad that I’m not a sports nut.
A nut, yeah.
But not a sports nut.