Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sports Help Men Avoid Feelings

As featured on Click2Houston.com:

This time of year is difficult for a man; there's nothing good on television.

What I mean by that, of course, is that there isn't much to watch in the way of sports. For many men, sports is the only thing worth watching.

The football season is months away, baseball is at its tedious early-season stage, most people's knowledge of hockey begins and ends with the film "Miracle," and the only ones paying attention to soccer are us Anti-American Europhiles who are hell-bent on having the U.N. take over your town.

"What about basketball?" I hear you say. "It's playoffs, baby!"

Exactly. There's nothing good on television. I question the legitimacy of a sport when the players haven't figured out how to dress properly.

As a side note, due to my lack of interest, I had to check the official NBA Web site to ensure that it really is time for playoffs. I discovered there that the NBA has something called a "D-League."

Apparently the "D" stands for "development," but think of all the other words that start with "D:" deficient, dull, dumb and dunderheaded. Who's going to go watch a load of D-League players? Give me C-League, at least. Do D-Leaguers have to repeat the season?

Most amusingly, there is a team in the D-League known as the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Really? Mad ants? That's the best they could come up with?

What do their fans say? "Go Mad Ants! Get angry, you ants! Play like someone's taken all your sugar!"

But the thing is, if there were a Mad Ants game on TV tonight, I would watch it. I am male and I have to watch sports. If I don't, the terrorists win.

Actually, I think a man's seemingly constant need to watch sports runs a bit deeper. Watching sport is a kind of emotional opiate.

The common perception by women is that men are emotionally D-League -- we don't quite get it. In truth, though, we do get it. We just don't like it. Feelings are hurty and troublesome. Feelings are the Bo and Luke Duke of our souls, upsetting our happy Enos Strate status quo.

I've never bought into the idea that men feel particularly differently than women. I think we just respond to feelings differently. Also, we generally don't seek out particularly emotional experiences. I know women who watch films that they know will make them cry. How does this make sense?

"Sometimes it's good to cry," my wife insists.

Sometimes it's good to get a colonoscopy; neither event, however, is really my idea of a good evening in. So, I watch sports.

I can sit there comfortable in the knowledge that at no point will I be introduced to some cute and quirky female character whom I will fall in love with, only to watch her make an idiot decision or die of a horrible disease. At no point will I be confronted with my own prejudices. At no point will I be forced to question my moral foundation.

There are moments of high emotion in sport. I will always remember the way the whole of Cardiff seemed to jump when Wales won the Grand Slam. A particularly important rugby achievement in this part of the world, it was met by rapturous celebration in Wales' capital city. My lasting memory is of all of us in the Maltster's Arms in midair as the final whistle blew.

But that kind of thing is rare. Generally all you get from watching sports is a handful of people you don't know running around for a few hours. If you are watching basketball or soccer, you get the added feature of watching people you don't know pretend they are injured.

Watching sports is easy on the soul. It settles all the frustrating things that might be dwelling there. In my case, watching sports helps me to take my mind off the paralyzing fear of exams I'm facing next month. I know I can trust Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo to do nothing more than run around like a sprite and pout.

Somehow that puts the world at right.


Chris Cope said...

In what way are they mad? Are they really, really angry? Or are they mentally unstable; mad like King George III and wearing their underwear on their heads? Or are they mad in that good way: mad ants displayin' their mad skillz? "Skills" spelled with a "Z," of course, because they are in the D-League.

Crystal said...

Youse in my town!!!!


fwbaseball said...

Hi Chris. The D-League team in Fort Wayne is named after General "Mad" ANThony Wayne; the Revolutionary War Hero from which Fort Wayne derives its name. Rarely do I side with the names we come up with for our sports teams, but this is one I actually defend. The city was very supportive of the Fort Wayne Fury CBA team before the league folded. It was nice to see the NBA put a local spin on the team through the name and affiliations (Pistons - who actually started in Fort Wayne - and Pacers).