A friend of mine posted this xkcd comic to Facebook. It’s probably made the rounds, but I’m posting it here too because it really made me think.
As a non-sporty guy, it’s easy for me to mock the passion that many people feel for professional sports. The fact that so many men love sports and I don’t still makes me feel, even in my early 40s, like maybe I’m not as much of a man as they might be – like I’m missing something important in my own genetic makeup that renders me an inferior man. That kind of stuff has deep roots for me. For a time in college, I pretended to be interested in softball so that I could play in the annual pharmacy school softball tournament. My roommate spent a ton of time basically teaching me how to throw and catch so that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. When it came time for the tournament, we were snowed out – on the first weekend in May, believe it or not. Sometimes I think a higher power was looking after me.
Living in a college town, lack of interest in sports is usually met with disbelief. I’ve certainly been in the situation where I’ve been defensive and vocal about not following sports. Most of the people I work with know I don’t and that’s kind of something that makes me Dan. But the thing I’ve learned over the years is that the way people feel the day of the Super Bowl, during the World Series or the Olympics, or in the Final Four is not all that dissimilar to how I feel when I’m anticipating a new Madonna record or going to her show. And Lord knows people put up with me going on and on about that. Even if they don’t quite connect with how excited I am, I have to give them props for listening. Talking about something I feel so passionately about does make me vulnerable. As an introvert, being vulnerable around someone is perhaps one of the biggest compliments I can give. It means I trust you and that’s not something I give away easily.
So today, on this holiest of holy sports days, let’s all us non-sporty people vow to try to understand the feeling that sporty people get from watching the Super Bowl and try to figure out what about us would make us feel that way, and how we would feel if someone called it dumb or silly. Remember – the sporty people did let a Madonna concert interrupt their football game a few years ago.