'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
SPORTS ADDICT NEEDS SUPPORT GROUP
ďHi, my name is Bill and Iím a sports-aholic.Ē
I donít know if there actually is a 12-step program for obsessive sports fans, but if so, I should probably attend the meetings. Recently I tried to figure out how many thousands of hours I have spent during the past four decades intently following sports. This includes the time Iíve spent glued to the progress of a ballgame, either via TV, radio, Internet, or the hand signals of a co-worker who is receiving text messages on his cell phone during an important business meeting. (Itís a simple code. For example, the following sequenceó3 fingers, 1 finger, thumbs up, 5 fingersómeans the Red Sox are winning 3-to-1 in the 5th inning. Or the more common sequenceó5 fingers, fist, thumbs down, 1 fingerómeans yet another Red Sox starting pitcher got shelled in the first inning.)
Also, I have to add in the hours Iíve spent watching or listening to pre-game shows, highlight shows, coaches shows, halftime shows, game wrap-up shows, call-in shows, and looking-ahead-to-the-next-opponent shows. Plus the time Iíve spent reading sports books, sports magazines, and the sports section of the newspaper, including the time in certain restaurants reading the daily sports page that is posted on the wall right above the urinals in the menís room. (Iím not sure whatís posted on the wall right above the urinals in the ladiesí room.)
I suppose I also should add in the amount of time Iíve spent drifting off to sleep at night while envisioning myself striking out the Yankeesí cleanup hitter with the bases loaded and two outs in the 9th inning using, of course, my wicked overhand curve ball. Iím embarrassed to say this particular dream did not cease when I stopped being age 12.
Since Iíve been alive for well over 400,000 hours at this point in my life, I figure the answer must be at least 100,000 hours. And that number wouldíve been higher if major league baseball hadnít gone on strike a few times, if my home hadnít been hit by a handful of power outages over the years, and if I thought hockey was a real sport.
I knew I had a problem this month when the Red Sox were back in the playoffs again. Last year, during their miraculous championship run, I fretted and squirmed and agonized on every pitch. At one point I prayed, ďDear Lord, just let them win the World Series one time. One time, thatís all I ask. After that, Iíll be content and never get obsessed about sports again, and no matter what the Red Sox do in the future, Iíll watch the games with detached bemusement and serenity. Amen.Ē
So anyway, this season, even though my prayer was answered last year, and even though I knew their pitching was quite awful compared to last year, I was right back fretting and squirming and agonizing on every pitch.
Another thing to consider: I donít even gamble on sports (which puts me, from what I can gather, in a distinct minority). So itís not like I have a financial stake in the outcome of any game. I have NO stake in any of the games. And yet I intently follow the most meaningless athletic contests as if my life depends on it. Surely a 12-step program is in order.
As I said earlier, Iím not aware of any Sports-aholic Anonymous meetings in this area. (There is a group called ďCubs Anonymous,Ē for distraught Cubs fansónot my addiction.) I suppose I ought to organize a 12-step program to help other obsessive sports fans.
But we canít schedule the meetings for Tuesdays or Saturdays. Thatís when UConn basketball games are on TV.
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