If you’re a sports enthusiast, this article may offend you. At the very least it will probably cause you to shake your head and mutter a string of words under your breath. I’ll go ahead and apologize for the contents, and I’ll understand if you want to skip this week’s words of wisdom. After all, the opinions expressed in this column are, well, mine. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper. In fact, I’m pretty sure they don’t.
My father tried his best to cultivate a love of sports during my childhood. Any sport, but especially football. By age four I sang the Kansas State University fight song just as well as any alumnus. I dressed in green and gold for Colorado State and sat on the couch, cheering when my dad cheered, shaking my head in disgust to mimic his head shaking. But I just never got it. When I turned twelve my father gave up.
Attending Baylor University back in the late 1980’s didn’t increase my love of sports. Most students didn’t attend the games, unless they took part in band or cheerleading. We had better things to do than watch our teams lose. I owned my fair share of Baylor themed clothing, giving a pretense of school spirit. My clothes were cute and trendy, and I fit in with all the other students faking their college loyalty.
Somehow I managed to marry a die hard LSU Tigers fan, proving opposites really do attract. John hosted sports party after sports party, encouraging me to sit beside him and cheer for his beloved tigers. Oh sure, I’d try, at first anyway. I’d sit beside him, imitate his cheers and boos. I’d last a good ten minutes, maybe less. Then I’d offer to make a plate of snacks, deposit them in front of my husband, and disappear into a corner with the other sports ignorant party goers. We fit nicely into the corner, scooting our chairs close together, drinks in hand, discussing the new shops downtown or the latest show streaming on Netflix.
A few years ago my cousin texted me a cartoon with the note, “This reminded me of you.” As I read the four squares I had to laugh. I’m not sure who the author is, but it could have been me.
In the first square a sports reporter holds a microphone towards a football player. “You were sportsing pretty hard out there. A lot of sports happened. Why do you think you lost?” Sportsing? Yes, that word summed up my entire world of sports. And it sounded just like something I would say, if I was trying to have a conversation with someone about sports.
In the second square the player replies, “We sportsed our best and scored points, but the other team was sportsing too, and they scored even more points.” Right? Isn’t that exactly what happens in every single game? Then the reporter asks a profound question: “What’s your strategy for the next match?”
In the third square the player responds, “We need to stop the other team from scoring points while we ourselves score many points.” Exactly! Why do fans spend hours arguing about team strategy? Aren’t the next steps pretty obvious?
In the last square the reporter tells the viewers, “Now back to the studio for ten hours of sports analysis.” Now that part of sports really puzzles me. Why does it take so long to analyze what the teams could have done better? Isn’t it simple? Stop the other team from scoring points while scoring your own points. What am I missing?
But the last line makes me laugh the hardest. The player announces, “My income is higher than most countries.” That’s the biggest reason I don’t understand sports. Why do we pay athletes so much money, while our teachers and first responders make pennies on the dollar?
Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1985 and lives in Grand Cane, Louisiana. She also writes books, which are for sale at www.jannfranklin.com. You can reach her at email@example.com