Any of you that know my husband James might note in the first points of any description of him that he loves sports, I mean really loves sports. He would rather be watching an NBA basketball game than doing pretty much anything else in the world. And all other sports rank only slightly lower on his list of priorities. Give him a remote, he can find a sporting event. Leave him at home with the boys and our cable-less TV, he will stream the most interesting game available online. Give him a ball he will kick it. And give him an unknown person, he will find their unique sports passion so that he can talk to them about it- seriously.
And since the NBA playoffs are upon us (really the height of the height of his favorite thing), all conversations lead to some excited description of an elaborate play at the end of the game or a player’s comments to some obscure journalist or a backwoods obsessive blogger’s theory about the weaknesses of the triangle offense or the LA Times’ most recent editorial about Kobe or…you get the idea. He is single minded.
For those of you who do not know my husband James particularly well, he is an excellent conversationalist. He finds not only your sports loyalties but your other passions as well. He can talk about urban development, tonka trucks or literary analysis of the modern American novel with equal candor and knowledge. He will find the subject that uniquely provides an overlap of interest.
Not so during the NBA playoffs. Or maybe its just me. Maybe he just feels the need to be polite to other people and talk about other things than the most important thing of all time, the Lakers playoff run. And so he comes home and just must talk to me about the burning questions of matchups and defensive strategy. Maybe he spends all of the alloted time and energy he has for other subjects at work. But around here, we are like a one man NBA TV-all basketball, all the time. And here is where my grievance with ESPN and really all sports media comes in. There are a number of bloggers and sports writers and pundits and hosts who love sports as much as James. They live sports. They know all the stats and subtleties of players and plays, they call coaches by their first names and refer to the playoffs of ’88 or the obscure off season scrimmage between D-league rookies. They make podcasts with their other fanatic fan friends to talk about all sporting subjects. And in their broadcasted sports obsession, it validates James’ personal sports obsession-he has camaraderie in this shared knowledge and passion. There are others who care as much as he does.
But there is a difference between James and them, a key, important difference. They get paid to know everything there is to know about sports. James does not. And when James knows as much as the people whose whole full time job is to know these things, well, it makes me wonder. Maybe James loves sports more than they do because he doesn’t have to. Maybe these sports professionals with their intern researchers and their whole weekday schedule make it tough on us middle-american housewives whose husbands must read and know all that is offered. Maybe someone would pay James to spend his whole day loving sports. Maybe it’s just May and the Lakers are in the playoffs.