Not all of the losses on the island are life-shattering. The absence of live televised sports may not catastrophic except for those who work in the business (or who run sports books in Vegas – scant sympathy for them here). But in a world that is now governed by diversions, the sports-shaped hole is irksome at best.
For those of you to whom one ball is the same as another, I give you full license to scroll away. I hope you’ll come back tomorrow when this current fit of madness has passed. And Lynn, I will eagerly anticipate your statement about the hockey game breaking out at a fight, which has become something of a ritual between us.
I enjoy sports, I will confess. In another lifetime I was a fair little athlete (‘little’ being the operative word). Now I find compelling enjoyment in almost any soccer or hockey match you offer me, a bit less so in basketball or football (don’t talk to me about golf). But any game with a set of rules and structure will lead me on an obsessive quest to master an understanding. One rainy weekend in London I even forced myself to learn the rules of cricket during an England-India test match. I must confess I have not yet figured out rugby, but I was trying gamely when the Six Nations League went dark.
My rooting interests are complex. I will cheer for any Boston team and most from Pittsburgh (where I was born) unless they are playing Boston. Anybody who beats the Yankees is okay in my book (unless it is the Cincinnati Reds – I have still not forgiven them for 1975). The Mets are okay, although they beat my Sox in 1986, because they gave me such joy in ’69. If there is no rooting interest or historic villain, I will root based on some imaginary gallantry. Oh, and I always want the bull to win in PBR. You get the idea.
All of which leads me to the shocking statement that I am rather enjoying the replays of old sporting events that have attempted to fill the gap. After all, all sports are based on memories. I love the Red Sox because my grandfather and my brother did. I love the Bruins because I met them when I moved to Boston and had no other friends. Every play of every game reminds me of a play I have seen before or of someone who shared the moment. It doesn’t matter if I’ve seen the game. The emotions remain the same.
Someday, we’ll root for new players and crown new champions. But for now, I will still get up and holler when Christian Laettner scores THAT basket against Kentucky, even though I have cheered it in the same way hundreds of times before.
[This Post was adapted from a essay originally published on Facebook the day listed above]