Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Like what you like

My friends have often characterized me as a sports nerd. While I appreciate the kind words, at this point it's no longer an accurate reflection of who I am. Amazingly (and you single guys take note), getting a job, a wife and a kid take up a lot of time. Time that used to be spent dedicated to sports is now spent pondering how everyone in CandyLand doesn't have diabetes or why the characters on SuperWhy need their individual airplanes when it would make more sense to fly together in one larger aircraft.

Fall Saturdays that used to be spent watching College Gameday and then 12 hours of football are now spent at the soccer field and then birthday parties with other dads who are secretly wishing they were home watching the game instead of watching their kid jump in a bounce castle while trying to discretely check the score on their phone.

So I've had to give up some things. I no longer even casually follow the NBA. I know a few superstars and have a vague sense of what's going on in the playoffs, but couldn't even pretend to fake a conversation with anyone remotely knowledgeable on the subject. I've wanted to start following soccer, and for the next month when the World Cup is going on I will, but it will likely fall by the wayside for the next 47 months after that until the next World Cup.

But the one interest I've managed to hang on to is baseball. I know, I know. Football is king in this country where the NFL and College Football are, by far, the two biggest sports where I live. Baseball is something that's merely tolerated from the end of spring practice (for college teams) or the NFL draft until mini-camps and fall practices begin. While I'm not exactly alone on the baseball island, the neighboring football island has a lot more people who seem to throw louder parties than my island.

But I like baseball. I'm actually auditing an online class on sabermetrics (the study of baseball, especially through statistics) for the fun of it. My bookshelf has more books on the sport than anything else. My television viewing takes a hit from April through the end of the World Series and generally just wait for a show to hit Netflix before catching up on it.

There was a time when it bothered me that I was the only one among my friends who was as in to baseball as I was. Not so much from a "why don't they appreciate the game like me?" aspect as a "what am I missing that I enjoy this game and so many of my peers don't?" Part of having a hobby and something you enjoy is sharing it with people around you. When no one is as in to it as you are, it gets tough.

But fortunately, now, I'm perfectly content to go about enjoying the sport without needing anyone around me to enjoy it as much as I do. (Though I may or may not be indoctrinating my son in the sport and pointing out when the announcers are wrong about something.) More importantly, I don't make fun of what other people are in to (well, except my wife for watching "The Bachelorette." That deserves mockery.) So when I see people on Twitter upset about what a celebrity wore or someone on facebook deep in debate about a television show they love, I no longer reflexively feel the urge to make a snide remark.

So you like what you like, whatever that is. And I'll like what I like.

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