Dudes and Sports

Posted on December 6, 2009

I would like to apologize in advance for any offense I may cause with the following blog. I anticipate it being a completely misogynistic column. And for those of you who are unfamiliar with that term, a column can mean either a slender upright support or, as I am using it, an article. I will make use of generalities that more than likely are not true in every case. For example, when I say that no dudes like sequins, there are obvious exceptions like, for example, Liberace. And when I say that all of the ladies like to shop, we are all aware that there are notable excep…well, I guess that one is pretty much true in every case. Regardless, please read this column with a grain of salt. I will now pause so that you may go to your pantry to find said grain….(pause)….alright, let’s do this.

I, like all dudes, love sports. I love to play (most of) them and I generally like to watch them. My personal favorites to watch are college basketball (especially the U of A), pro and college football (again, preferably if the U of A is playing), and major league baseball. My wife on the other hand can’t stand them. She does not get the logic behind the passion and I can understand that. On the exterior, following sports is completely illogical. We follow the ups and downs of a team throughout an entire year only for the season to end and it to start all over again from scratch the next year.

But you cannot use logic when contemplating a dude’s connection with sports. I would postulate that I am not alone when I say that I am borderline superstitious when it comes to watching games (holy cow, I just noticed I used a record amount of I’s in that last sentence. Count them, there are four. That’s right, four I’s…incidentally that was my nickname in high school along with “dude who played basketball at lunch and stunk up fifth period”). I remember specifically the night the University of Arizona missed out on a chance to play in the Final Four when they lost a heartbreaker to Illinois. The U of A was up big late in the game (somewhere around 17 points) and that’s when Karina decided to watch the game with me. Starting then, the U of A began to lose their grip on the game. I immediately made the connection that the problem was Karina watching the game and I raced into the bedroom to finish the contest. Alas, it was already too late. The U of A lost the game. I owe the Tucson community a great deal for that transgression. And like a lot of guys I have certain articles of clothing that we notice seem to help our teams win (for example, my red U of A shirt that is undefeated when watching the football team, my brown hat that helps the basketball squad, or my red and blue underoos that give the swim team the required spark to prove victorious in a meet). While I know that what I wear has absolutely no connection with the performance of the team, I also do not wish to tempt fate by not doing my part to help the squad. That’s why for big games I will make sure I do everything in my power possible to will the team to victory. I’ll sit in my game chair with my game outfit on eating the game snacks that saw the team to victory last time and sitting in the correct position (come on leg, don’t go to sleep on me now, it is only the third quarter!). Now, I am (mostly) exaggerating there. I do have shorts I like to wear for games, but at least I wash them!!

I also love to play sports. However, besides some little league baseball I haven’t really played organized sports. And it’s not for a lack of trying. I tried out for baseball in high school to no avail (apparently missing every pitch in the soft toss is not how Albert Pujols got his start). I also tried out for basketball. I was a senior though and could only make varsity. And apparently the varsity team already had the short, uncoordinated, winded guy they needed to fill out the team (dang you Wilhelm Rumpleplutz…that spot was MINE). And I was going to try out for football. I was in a weight training class (I know this may be hard for many of you to believe based on my physique, I was not teaching the class) that was taught by the legendary varsity football coach, an old gruff man. Much like in those inspirational movies, I walked up to the coach in class and asked when football tryouts were. He literally looked me up and down and laughed. Needless to say, it was a short movie. My spirit broken, I did the next manliest thing I could think of and went to the school library. It taught me a good lesson though. I didn’t need to be on the football team and I certainly didn’t need the inevitable knee injuries and respect from my peers that would inevitably result from my joining the team.

So, I find solace in playing pickup games of basketball (and sometimes football) with other guys. And despite the shortcomings I listed above (and others like a general lack of coordination), I can generally hold my own…tears in check after I somehow snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for my team.

Incidentally, I find the paradox between the manly image a sporting man projects and reality amusing. The manlier a sport is seen as by society, generally the tighter the pants are and the more physical contact between sweaty men (ie. football). It is funny to think that most guys on the basketball court would cringe if they accidentally brushed hands with any of the other guys while say, walking around a sporting goods store (ladies, if it helps, you can assume the mall in that analogy). Yet they will enthusiastically bump and bounce up against other guys as long as the game is in process. And trust me, that kind of behavior is only acceptable while the game is in process. Any further bumping, even two seconds after the game-winning basket is made, will award the perpetrator a black eye and a lifetime ban from the court in question. Unless that contact is a butt-pat which for some odd reason is acceptable (once again, timing here is critical…there is a fine line between a purely platonic butt-pat and butt-cuppage – my solution to avoid a mix-up is to avoid buttal contact entirely).

Well, I hoped this little journey into the male psyche proved worth the time to read it. I hope to see you dudes out on the court in the future. I also hope that my wife doesn’t read this column with the oversensitivity found in every woman. If that is the case, I will be bringing my sleeping bag outside to the doghouse.

(Of course I am kidding about all of the generalities I made above. I was completely kidding. I understand that every human is a unique individual, free from the boundaries of behavior society tends to burden them with based on gender. Now can I come back in the bed honey?)

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