My wife is always asking me “why do you love to watch sports but you don’t do anything athletic yourself?” which usually gets me all riled up and defensive. I play golf, but that’s more of an activity, not a sport. I sat down the other day and thought about this a little further and came to the conclusion that I probably use sports vicariously – I’m not any good at them myself but I’ll put my emotions behind some team or athlete and ride the wave. This seemed to be the rational thought process, but upon further examination there is more to it.
Being in team sports is not unlike being in band – it’s a collection of similar minded people that work together for a common goal. There are varying levels of talent in a band just as there are varying levels of talent on a sports team. I suppose that living in Green Bay, WI makes it a foregone conclusion that you follow the packers, but some locals are indifferent to the team. Professional sports is a whole different bag versus amateur sports because of the insanely high amount of money being thrown around. However, if you want to get that next big contract you have to perform and you also have to rely on the performance of your teammates – so the ultimate motivation is still the same and that is the success of the team.
I always marvel at the high level of skill that athletes possess, especially in football because they are putting their body at tremendous risk so often. An athlete’s body is his/her livelihood – that’s tough to actually wrap around the lay person’s mind. Using the band analogy it’s kind of like watching a guitar playing just shred a solo from the audience – you have to tip your cap when someone’s skill just blows you away. I didn’t make it past little league baseball when I was young, but I did manage to get into some bands when I was a young adult. I plan on getting back into a band in some fashion when my kids are older – you’re never too old to play music, or baseball for that matter.