Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sports Overdosing

Sports are part of any culture.  Organized athletics have represented an important vicarious experience in most countries, affecting their very rhythm of life.  Whether it is Olympic games in ancient Greece, hippodrome activities in the Roman world, or the ups and down of the modern football season in Europe, people feel the seasons through the existence or absence of sport.

In the United States, due to the prolonged sports seasons, an extreme situation has occurred.  At this moment, in early October, all four of the major team sports are active, specifically baseball (postseason), American football, basketball (preseason), and hockey.  On any given night now, the fan can watch a live game from morning to night or, even worse, have to make a difficult choice on which sports to watch.  For example, last Sunday, I had to choose whether to watch my Pirates (baseball) or Bengals (football). 

This is like going to the store to buy fruit and finding fresh oranges, peaches, apricots, grapes, and cherries.  Once upon a time, every season had its fruit and vegetables, for example potatoes and oranges in the winter and lettuce and strawberries in the summer.  Today, in American stores, the only marker of the season is the price – a bit higher in the offseason.
Likewise, every season had its team sport – baseball in the summer, college football in the fall, and basketball and hockey in the winter.  Today, those poor athletes seem to barely get three months off while we fans are constantly in a state of overexcitement.

So, if you are in a country that does not import fruit and vegetables from the other hemisphere and has one or two major sports played at different times, consider yourself lucky.  You feel the ebbs and flows of the passing of the year, rejoicing with every seasonal rediscovery instead of being constantly bombarded with excitement and becoming, paradoxically, blas√© from overexposure to good things.  

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