Why Do Peeps Dig Sports?

    Someone recently asked me, upon learning of my current profession, why people like sports so much.

    I replied defensively that there are a lot of reasons for people to like sports, which they immediately saw as a way to stall for time to think. Which I did … for a long time.

    Why are people so fascinated with a simple game? What is it about a bunch of adults playing haphazardly with variously sized objects that could possess others to shout, scream, fight and weep?

    To help answer this question, I thought of the different types of people who follow sports.

    There are the ex-athletes who watch sports to relive their glory days and who sit with a beer in hand and start every conversation with, “”I remember back when I used to play ….””

    There are the never-were athletes who wished they had played when they were young but didn’t. So now they settle for memorizing countless trivial facts in an attempt to cover for the fact that they never had enough coordination to play sports.

    There are the guys who don’t know crap about sports and just follow it because in this society it’s expected for guys to know and like sports.

    There are guys who just watch in hopes of getting a glimpse of the cheerleaders.

    There are girls who watch sports only because they think a certain athlete is cute.

    The list goes on. There are fat people, skinny people, short, tall, ugly, pretty, old, young — every type of person imaginable.

    So upon reflection, I concluded that there actually were a lot of reasons why people like sports. Every type of person has a different reason for liking athletics. So that got me wondering why America as a society is so attracted to sports?

    After several more hours of reflection, I came to the epiphany that the reason is the simple elegance of athletics. With life becoming increasingly complex, there is a comfort in knowing that the dynamics of sports will never change.

    Athletics will certainly evolve as players become better and new strategies are developed, but the boundaries will remain the same. It is these boundaries, these simple rules that are so attractive in a world filled with millions of rules that are ignored, broken, bent, reversed and amended in life every day.

    But while the world we live in isn’t always fair, the world existing between the two foul lines has one set of rules that everyone must adhere to no matter how much money you make, how pretty or how popular you are.

    And while these types of people can get around the rules in today’s society, witnessing an athletic event in which they are treated the same as everybody else makes one wonder if this is how the world was supposed to be. Was this sense of equality and fairness ever found within our society?

    Of course, you and I both know that sports aren’t always fair. Look at the Yankees’ payroll, for instance. Or the shoebox the Astros call a stadium, or Alex Rodriguez’s contract.

    But these are instances not where sports have failed, but where society has crept into athletics and sullied its reputation. The intrusion of business into sports has begun to poison them.

    But the erosion of any beautiful thing cannot happen too quickly, and when two teams strive to defeat each other today, one retains a sense of justice that is hard to find anywhere else.

    So there are all the people who use sports to escape the life’s sometimes-cruel reality and can witness a spectacle of fair play, justice and heroes.

    Last but not least, there are poor suckers like me who simply weren’t good enough to keep playing and have to settle for writing about sports.

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