We are on the eve of the NCAA Tournament beginning in full force. The great american pastime of office pools, getting away from work to watch the games and wearing schools colors is a right of passage in March. For our March assignment for the monthly Blogapalooza, we were assigned "Write a post passionately defending your guilty pleasure(s)."
Sports are an integral part of society. So much of sports is intertwined with life. Where else would we be given an excuse to scream at someone standing at a line (basketball or football), wear unusually matching colors or get a chance to relive our youth. Whether attending an event, watching the game at home or out at a bar we are allowed to behave in a way that normally would not be accepted in society.
Sports have been a major part of nearly my entire life. One of my earliest memories was watching Henry Aaron break Babe Ruth's home-run record in 1974, I was six then. I attended my first Final Four at the age of 12 in 1980. I was fortunate enough to be able to see my Dad watch his alma mater Louisville win their first National Championship. I have been to post season events in all four major sports, and a couple of college football championship games. I've also attended the World Cup and was lucky enough to attend the last game at Comiskey Park and the White Sox division clincher in 2008. Both of those occurred on my birthday.
Sports are what bond many of us together. It creates community, unites people that come from varying and often divisive backgrounds and gives us time off from the other problems in our life. It also creates loyalty, provides an opportunity to learn math skills, community organizing and learn about other cultures and communities.
Watching games and playing sports with my family was a major bonding activity in my family. My son's emerging interest in sports began with the Blackhawks run last year. Being able to share sports with him has been important. Together we have been able to share many games in the past year. We have even developed an interest in the English Premiere League and Everton.
Some of my greatest memories are watching sporting events with my cousins growing up. Bored with Superbowl XIX, my cousin Marc and I went to the basement and played Intellivision football,. I also remember when he and my friend Ken banished me from the living room at Ken's house because the Blackhawks scored two goals while I was in the kitchen during a playoff game in 1986. Six years later as the Bulls trailed Portland by 15. Marc's sister Brady and I decided to start rooting for Portland. The reverse psychology worked. The Bulls game back to win the game by four and secure their second consecutive NBA Title.
Millions of Americans takeoff from work to watch the NCAA Tournament, Superbowl Sunday has become a near holiday and every fall Sunday millions of Americans attend NFL games or watch them on TV from a bar or at home. Superbowl Sunday has become so big, that its the second largest day for food consumption in the United States behind Thanksgiving.
The saturation of television and the internet have provided too many guilty pleasures to even contemplate. Sports was arguably the original guilty pleasure. Gladiators trace back to the first century BC. Sports have evolved as society has. Imagine what our ancestors would think of the X-Games and now many of those sports are in the Olympics.
One of the greatest parts of sports that are a guilty pleasure of sports in Fantasy Sports. I have participated in Fantasy Sport for over 20 years. I mainly stick to Fantasy Football now. Every Sunday for 16 weeks (hopefully that long if I make a playoff run) I look forward to watching the fantasy football shows on cable TV and checking the websites to set my lineup. Now if I can only get past losing at the number one seed. For two years in a row I have won the regular season in my league and secure the number one seed. I have become my league's Fantasy Football Marty Schottenheimer and lost the first game of the playoffs.
I cannot ever imagine a time when sports are not a part of my life. I have gained lifetime friendships through many aspects of sports, have bonded with my family and learned many things because of it. Even though we don't meet most of our heroes in sports, the sense of being part of something much bigger than us is a guilty please worth having.
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