Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Must Love Sports

As I’ve been pacing myself day-by-day here talking about the big and small developments of the past four or five weeks, I’d been planning on talking a bit today about sports. I’ve said before that I consider myself very lucky to be married to a woman who enjoys sports not just as much as I do, but in much the same manner as I do. We may root for different teams, but to a certain extent that’s beside the point. We both love football so much that we’ll watch the Sunday and Monday Night games no matter who’s playing, and we both love baseball so much that going to a minor league Richmond Braves game not only seemed like a good idea but a must-do (and, for the record, it was totally worth doing). There are differing levels of devotion when it comes to hockey (she’s a lot more into it than I am) but that’s really just a matter of degree, and we’ve certainly been to plenty of hockey games together. There’s also been some give and take, too, in that she’s gotten me much more into college football than I used to be, and I did what I could to help her make a little more sense of college basketball when March Madness saw Old Dominion University go surprisingly far this year. The point being, neither one of us has any trouble at all relating to the other’s interest level in any given professional athletic competition.

Of course despite the allure of live sporting events, that aforementioned interest level is most easily measured in hours spent in front of the tv. Then again, those hours are broken up into catch-as-catch-can spans of minutes more often than not, with the exception of a few stretches of appointment television that fall after the little guy’s bedtime. So when ESPN started rolling out their 30 For 30 documentaries, my wife and I were both on the one hand stoked to check them out, and on the other hand reasonably certain we’d rarely be able to tune in when they were broadcast. Which is why when the first 15 episodes were released as a box set last year, that collection became a no-brainer addition to my wife’s pile of Christmas presents. So that we could get around to watching them all at our leisure … someday.

You'd think limiting the subject matter to the past thirty years would be a detriment, but so far, not so much.
As it turned out, maternity/paternity leave was a pretty ideal opportunity. There were numerous days during that month where we spent most of the daylight hours bouncing between doctor’s appointments, or tending to pressing household projects, or losing track of time in any other number of ways. But there were also five good days where we would find ourselves with a nice midday lull which we could put to use watching one of those hour-long sports documentaries. It felt like an absolutely decadent binge, and while we still have ten episodes to go, I’m optimistic that we can get through most if not all of them by the time this Christmas rolls around. (Summer reruns are due to start up soon, after all.)

In addition to ESPN Films, we also gorged ourselves on actual live, televised baseball, which was fun for a while there with both the Yankees and the Orioles doing pretty well, but good grief has it been a lot rougher going the past week or so. Two nights ago I turned the tv off in disgust when A-Rod let what should have been an inning-ending grounder go right through his legs; last night I killed an O’s game in much the same fashion, and the fact that in both cases it was the Red Sox doing the damage was pretty thoroughly sickening. So really, let’s not dwell on the current slumpiness of my household’s preferred AL East teams (even if that does make this post significantly shorter than I would have predicted a week ago). The season’s barely a quarter over, so there’s plenty of time for fortunes to change yet again. And if they don’t, there’s always documentaries.

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