September 1, 2019

BUT MAYBE NOT FOUR HOUR GAMES (self-reference alert):

For Love of Watching the Game: Reflections on sports spectatorship (Jonathan Clarke, August 30, 2019, City Journal)

All sports fans have mini-crises of the soul. We periodically lament the endless hours devoted to spectatorship, time that might have been spent mastering a foreign language or the oboe. But, in general, my conviction has only grown that my time as a fan has been well spent; indeed, an hour spent watching baseball is among the surest investments of time that I can make, second perhaps to spending time with my children. On my death bed, I might regret the years I had spent in my twenties writing two unpublishable novels; I know I'll regret the dolorous hours I have spent commuting. But I doubt I'd ever regret much of the baseball, the football, or the basketball. So long as I can be propped up in front of the television, the shape of the Yankees roster come April will remain a matter of interest to me. 

There is a paradox at the heart of watching sports, which is that sports are serious even as the outcome of the games--even the highest-stakes ones--clearly is not. Though I would like my storied alma mater to win its football games, I can't pretend that it's important that they do. The strivings of individual athletes are often fascinating as parables of self-mastery, but those strivings are not my own. The meanings we search for between the lines are sometimes elusive. What brings us back is that sense of hope and renewal that a new season, like the birth of a baby, can provide.

Spent some time watching an EPL game in a pub recently and struck up a conversation with a former MN Twins employee, who started with the team in '87, so he had all kinds of great stories from the two World Series.  But, eventually, we got to the point where we were commiserating about games being too long for us now and the beauty of a soccer game being done and dusted after two hours. 

Posted by at September 1, 2019 6:53 AM