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Sports nuts

By Merrill Ogden - | Sep 13, 2023

It occurred to me over the weekend, that right about now, sports nuts seem to be rampant in Sanpete, and everywhere. Call them sports nuts, or fanatics, fans, or maniacs, it all boils down to a ramped-up interest in sports.

Of course, a lot of this phenomenon makes sense because this is the time that schools have begun classes and sports programs. People have kids, grandkids, siblings, left-handed brother-in-law’s nieces and nephews, what have you, all involved. And if the kids are involved, the rest of us are involved.

Add into all of that major league baseball, golf, tennis, volleyball, soccer, etc. it’s a little crazy. Is there some sport I’m forgetting? OK, OK – there is that little sport called football.

I’ve been paying attention to high school football. Our Sanpete teams deserve support. I’ve been aware of college football. Snow College shows some good promise with a 2-1 record so far. There was a good crowd in attendance Saturday night.

I’ve attended BYU’s first two-not-very-impressive wins. The U of U looks good and played well enough to beat the Florida Gators and the Baylor Bears.

Lots of people are football fans to one degree or another. I enjoy watching football. For some reason, when I’m flipping channels, if a game is on; I’m suddenly interested and want to watch it for a while regardless of who is playing.

There are some people who aren’t interested at all in football or any kind of “ball.” When asked about it, their feelings are like the answer to the old question: “What do you think about ignorance and apathy? Answer: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

The NFL started this past week. Sunday afternoon, I was flipping channels between football games and the U.S. Open Tennis Championship. As for football, I was hoping that the Chiefs would win. They didn’t. I was hoping that San Francisco would win. They did. (Sorry, Steeler fans. You know who you are.) I could go on with other teams, but I won’t.

Oh, never mind, one more – I was sad to see Denver lose by a point to the Raiders. Years ago, my oldest son and I went to Denver for a Monday night game between the Broncos and the Raiders. We wore “Raider Hater” shirts we were given at a 7-Eleven store. Denver won at the old Mile High Stadium.

Usually, as games end (especially games where one of “my teams” loses), I find myself asking myself the same question that has plagued me for years. It hits me hard sometimes.

The question? — “Self – What is the big attraction of watching ball games?” The associated question is, “Why do I want to watch a bunch of millionaires play with a ball?”

I address this concept every so often here. It never goes away. I don’t know if the questions will ever be adequately answered.

I’ve thought about it and have come up with several possible answers as to why some of us are sports nuts? (I actually don’t think I really qualify as a bona fide sports nut, but I sometimes pretend to be one.)

Here are the possible answers to the “sports nut question:”

  • Nature and Nurture. It’s a genetic and environmental thing. This theory goes for most Yankee fans. They were born to Yankee fan parents and were nurtured in the Bronx Bomber culture. It can happen to anyone. Nothing but intensive de-programming with professionals has a chance to break this heartbreaking cycle.
  • Body Chemistry Issues. SNAD (Sports Nut Affective Disorder) is in the same league (no pun intended) as OC, ADD, SAS, SAD, and a host of other maladies. Drug companies haven’t discovered a reliable medication yet to deal with the problem though sufferers continue to unsuccessfully experiment with alcohol as a possible cure. Practically speaking, SNAD victims have no alternative but to attend sporting events and/or watch them on television.
  • Peer Pressure. Everybody is going to ball games, watching ball games or talking about ball games – so I will too. As my mom used to say, “If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”
  • Avoidance of Real-Life Responsibilities. What would you rather do, shovel snow, clean the garage, fix the leaky faucet or sit on your butt eating chips and salsa while watching a ball game?
  • Character Building and Educational Aspects. Being a spectator at ball games builds character and teaches important life lessons. Philosophical, intellectual, and deep moral symbolism exist in every game. One can’t help but be a better person as a result of watching a ball game.

Like I say, these are all just possible answers to the question. It’s possible that I’m still going to be asking myself the question for the rest of my ever-shortening life. But, as I think about it, No. 5 above is my best guess as the correct answer for me. I think many of us like sports for all the “noble” reasons. That’s my position and I’m sticking to it. — Merrill


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