I love to watch sports. And I like to read about my favourite athletes and look at the scores from the night before. But I don’t like to do it alone. For me, sports is something social and really much less enjoyable on my own. While my son, Matthew, is away at camp, the joy of sports is not there quite as much for me.
I don’t live in a house with big sports fans. How did a big sports fan like me find one of the few males in Canada who doesn’t just dislike sports but basically resents them? I think David enjoys some of the snacking associated with viewing big sporting events, but that’s where it ends. I remember at our wedding, my brother said in his speech that he could see far into the future. He thought of the day that the Jays were back in the World Series or a certain Toronto hockey team dared make the Stanley Cup finals. I would be sitting on the couch with the guys and David would provide us with great snacks!
My brother alluded to something key in his speech – sitting with a group enjoying the game. A social environment. It’s hard to watch baseball in the summer by myself. If I turn the Jays game on in the evening I feel the wrath of an angry toddler who gives me the evil eye and says one word to me, “Dora” She’s not interested in watching baseball with me.
But sports is not just about watching the game in a social setting. It’s also about talking about it, for hours or sometimes days. You need someone to discuss that great play or missed called strike. When Kevin Pillar makes one of his incredible “Superman” catches it’s not enough to see it on my TV from all angles. I have to share my thoughts with someone else.
There is a reason why Superbowl parties are so popular, and it’s not just because of the good food that is typically served. It’s about the social setting, of friends getting together to enjoy the event together. Even if you know nothing about football (how many downs was that?) you can’t help but be with the crowd and get excited by great plays. Your team may not have made the playoffs, but you have to watch that final game of the season with your best buddies.
So while the baseball season is in full swing and the soccer World Cup is about to reach its crescendo, I am feeling a bit of sports withdrawal. Is it sad that I’m a bit lonely? I’m not a bar or pub-loving type, so that’s out. But hey, there’s a reason why Toronto bars are packed in the morning lately as patrons catch a World Cup playoff match and of course want to do so in a social setting (or maybe they don’t have cable and it’s the only way to watch the game).
People come together over sports. Strangers stand side by side and cheer together for their team. Huge crowds packed Maple Leaf Square and Jurassic Park in downtown Toronto when the Leafs and Raptors were on their short playoff runs. Sports is inherently social, and I like it that way. How many more days until Matthew returns from camp?