Ronna Fisher, Editor-in-Chief
Sports and me? We just don’t mix. Growing up, PE was my least favorite class in school. The days we had PE, my stomach would clench, and I would be worried sick. What were we going to do that day? Would I have to run? Will I be embarrassed? Will someone else ask the PE teacher why my face was so red? (Yes, that actually happened). I was uncoordinated and slow. When people were excited to go to PE and run around, I was wishing I was the girl with the broken leg and crutches who had to sit out. PE was the first class I ever got a B in.
Recess meant sitting under the playground reading while everyone else ran around playing tag or soccer. In Kindergarten I chased the boys with the other girls in my class, but I eventually gave up because I could never catch them. There was one time I played soccer during recess and ended up getting slammed in the face by the ball. Never again.
Why anyone would enjoy running around kicking, throwing or pushing a spherical object on a large field was simply a mystery. When I was forced to go to football games with my parents, I would try to tune out the yelling and music and get lost in a book. At high school football games, I was goofing off behind the bleachers with my fellow band members. There may have been one or two games where I actually got into the game and cheered, but it was rare. The football games on tv at home were simply annoying background noise for the homework I was doing or, again, the book I was reading. I just didn’t understand sports. I didn’t understand the rules. I didn’t understand the point. I knew that I couldn’t play them, so why watch them?
College was different. Not only were sporting events a social thing, but, at one point, I was even required to attend a certain number of athletic events. Additionally, I had friends on teams that I wanted to support. Over the years, my indifference to sports has creeped toward tolerance, and my tolerance eventually nudged past the line to novice sports enthusiast. First semester freshman year I attended almost every home soccer game. I’ve clapped and hollered at multiple basketball games and discovered I really love volleyball games. I’ve voluntarily attended football games and a few softball games here and there as well.
If you think you ardently hate sports, I seriously urge you to give them a try; you might be surprised to find yourself actually enjoying a sporting event.
Here are some tips for the game-attending rookie:
1. Focus: I usually enjoy games more if I am actually paying attention. It’s hard to be excited about something that you didn’t even see. Plus, it’s annoying to have to constantly ask, “What happened? What’d I miss?” (Speaking from experience here).
2. Get to Know Athletes: Seriously. This is why I began going to any games in the first place. Once I knew someone on a team and how hard they trained each week, I wanted to be there to support them.
3. Ask Questions: It’s okay to ask questions. Go with someone who knows what they are talking about and is willing to answer your questions without being a sports snob. “A corner kick is when they kick the ball from the corner.” You’re new to this. It’s okay to admit you don’t understand something.
4. Keep Going: It might take a couple to times to really understand or enjoy a game. Don’t let one bad, boring or uncomfortable experience ruin games for you.
5. Be honest, be comfortable, don’t force anything. Football still isn’t my favorite sport to watch. I usually don’t get really into it until around the fourth quarter. If I try to be excited the whole game, I get tired of it . . . football games are long, okay? If you don’t feel like actually watching something, that’s okay. It’s alright to go to a game just so you can hang out and chat.
Also, make sure you’re comfortable. If you get overwhelmed in the crowded student section at basketball games, that is okay. Personally, I love the energy of the student section, but when I’m over there all I can think about is how I want to sit down, I’m about to fall over or how packed in I am.
So go, watch, sit and do what feels right. Otherwise, you’ll continue to give sports the cold shoulder.