I am going to give you, Dear Reader, fair warning that this week’s column is all about sports so if you’re not a sports fan and you’d rather be doing something else then go ahead… I won’t mind, I know it’s not everyone’s cup o’ tea.
I actually cannot remember not watching or playing sports. Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around the Hubbard family sitting in front of the TV eating popcorn while watching Hockey Night In Canada every Saturday night with Ward Cornell hosting and Foster Hewitt or Danny Gallivan doing the play-by-play.
Baseball was a little different because, until 1971, all of the World Series games were played during the day so it was a little trickier trying to view those games. Between squinting to see the fuzzy black and white images in the bright middle-of-the-day sunshine and the fact that there was something called SCHOOL keeping me out of the house I had to be creative to see or hear the games. October was always a great time for earaches, or something, if you know what I mean? Wink, wink. If we were really, really, lucky and it wasn’t often that it happened, we’d get a teacher who was a baseball fan and they’d play a radio in the classroom while we did arithmetic or spelling or some other exhilarating task.
There are a couple of times during the year, usually spring and fall, when so many sports are being played at the same time making it a sports lover’s dream and a home handyman’s nightmare.
The CFL schedule is ramping up with the playoffs just around the corner and every game is crucially important and there are only four teams left in the hunt for the World Series Championship so every pitch, at bat and out are also crucially important. And to top it off the NHL season, which I will acknowledge could be a couple of months shorter, (I know…Canadian blasphemy), just kicked off its too long regular season schedule last night. Not to mention the National Football League season is on, too, and they’re still playing golf and tennis and soccer and …See what I mean?
A few months ago at work the “powers that be” installed a couple of televisions in the lunchroom but the TV’s are tuned in to a live streaming news channel. Continuously. All of the time. News. Bad news. Depressing news. Numbingly depressing news. I’ve taken to sitting with my back to the TVs in an effort to abstain from watching them. You know how hard it is to keep your eyes off of a television set, don’t you? Anyway, not watching the news as much has helped me avoid visits to a mental health practitioner or going on Paxil or some other anti-depressant.
That’s another reason I choose to watch sports. It’s a diversion. I like to know what’s going on in the world but I don’t need to be saturated with the stuff.
Sports are a huge part of our world. They enhance economic growth, they are, as previously mentioned, a diversion from the ills of the world, they promote camaraderie and loyalty and confidence and health.
Studies have also shown that organized sport programs contribute to reducing youth crime and sports are used as a rehabilitation tool for offenders as there exists a widespread belief in the therapeutic value of sports.
I am not alone in this sports loving fanaticism. Look around you. It’s everywhere and zillions of people love it. Playing sports or watching sports, either one, or both. My advancing age may be slowing my playing days down a little but it sure isn’t interfering with my sports viewing.
Come to think of it, I think I’ll cook up a batch of popcorn, grab a cool beverage and find some game to watch right now. It’s not 1962 anymore so there’ll be plenty to choose from and all in high definition. Ahhhhhh the life.
“I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.”- Earl Warren (1891-1974).