I don’t love watching sports.
I know. That’s darn near blasphemy to say such a thing. Particularly in the midst of the Winter Olympics. Particularly when the Super Bowl is less than a week away.
So, let me clarify. I love reading about sports more than watching the match, game, set, meet, tournament, etc as it unfolds. Unless, of course, my kids are playing. In which case, I grab a book and learn all there is to know about the newest endeavor my family is embarking on.
My sports MO started waaaaay waaaaay back in high school when a young man sat behind me in my geometry class. He was a golfer. It was spring. He would walk into class the morning after a golf meet and drop his used golf tees on my desk.
Nobody in my life had ever golfed. But, said boy was cute and he flirted with the best of them, so, like the nerdy girl I was, I researched his favorite sport. Mind you, this was back before the internet, making a trip to the library my only viable form of research. It took time.
Fast forward, another boy, another sport. Fast forward more years to children and many new sports. So. Many. Rules. So Many New Vocabularies. So many nuances. So many opportunities to learn and love new things.
Today, I celebrate a few things I do love about sports.
- Reading about new things: on this day in 1971, Satchel Paige became the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. This little tidbit led me down a rabbit hole of books and online articles about Satchel Paige, the history of baseball, baseball greats, poems about baseball, coffee table books filled with beautiful photos capturing amazing baseball moments, Minnesota-specific baseball…. There is no doubt that I like a good educational rabbit hole!
- Which leads me to another love: seemingly useless information. Seriously, you never know when it might come in handy. Trivia nights. Thanksgiving dinner table talk. Chit chatting in the grocery store line. Impressing my kids and impressing upon them that useless information is fun and helpful.
- Celebrating people and their contributions to society: in case you missed it, February is Black History Month. Baseball, and so many other things in our world, would be far less robust without people like Satchel Paige. Henrietta Lacks and her stolen genes that have shaped medical advancements since 1951. Richard Allen–minister. Maya Angelou–poet. Arthur Ashe. Ruby Bridges. Mary Fields. Bessie Coleman. And so, so, so many more.
- Helping people learn: clearly there’s a reason why I work in a library. I’m surrounded by books and technology and information. And my literal day job is sharing that with everybody who walks in the door. It’s a well-known secret that librarians have super powers when it comes to paging through books or googling in search of obscure information.
While I publicly outed myself, those who have sat in the bleachers with me already know I’m a rock star at reading between half-times. Sometimes it’s fiction, sometimes not. Regardless, books teach us how to navigate all the nuances of the world around us. They help us communicate. And learn. And appreciate. They impart wisdom and knowledge and history. They celebrate the past and help prepare us for the future.
In short, they help us connect with others on new levels. Case in point, I married that cute golfer from geometry. And while I don’t hit the links with him on a regular basis, I know exactly what he’s talking about when he comes home on Tuesday nights after men’s league.
If people are important we learn about what matters to them. And my family’s passions are why I know way more than I should about sports I have never played. It’s why I am willing to put my books down and actually sit in the moment, in the stands or on the couch, and experience life from a new perspective.
so, how ’bout those bengals?~ jody