Well, here we are — on our first date. I have to say, if I had my druthers, we would be meeting under better circumstances. I mean, let’s face it, I’m lounging in my common room donning my Indianapolis Colts boxer-briefs, watching “SportsCenter,” and working vigorously to scrub the Wenzel stain from last night off of my favorite Chicago Bulls jersey. You, on the other hand — you’re hastily reading this either in between bites of Lucky Charms in the dining hall, or online to distract yourself from doing legitimate work during shopping period. So, while I may not have you swooning by the end of this, let’s just remember that first impressions needn’t be the only thing that counts. Now that I’ve lowered the expectations quite significantly, what do you say we get to know each other a little bit better?
Before we jump into the salient details, let’s discuss why we are here. Fair or unfair, I would venture to guess you fall into one of three categories — a legitimate sports fan like myself, one of my friends whom I bribed and coerced into drudging through this 700-word pontification, or you have simply lost your way whilst thumbing through the News (it’s all right — take a deep breath, flip back a couple of pages, and start again). Whatever the group with which you identify, I want to thank you for sticking with me thus far. I myself am here because of a sickness. I guess there is no better way to describe it. I am addicted to sports. I always have been. It’s embedded in who I am. I wholeheartedly believe that it is part of my genetic code. Some people are addicted to music, and others to food. But while those people were young, staying up all night listening to “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” or watching “Barefoot Contessa,” I was glued to ESPN Classic or the stats sheet from the basketball game the night before. This addiction has permeated every fiber of my being — I can tie almost all of who I am back to sports in some way or another.
I know, I know, I’m getting pretty intimate pretty quickly. And while maybe this is a conversation worth having on a later date, I want you to know what you’re working with right off the bat.
So, how does this passion manifest itself? Well, it manifests in my wardrobe, where the top five frequently worn T-shirts are either an homage to one of my childhood heroes (Peyton Manning, Mike Krzyzewski or Michael Jordan, to name a few) or to a title that one of my favorite teams has won (you’ve got to give me points for still donning the Cubs 2003 division title T-shirt despite the Steve Bartman nightmares it conjures every time I put it on).
It manifests itself in my social life. Whether that be through staying in for an entire weekend to watch the NFL draft, missing my family’s Passover Seder to watch the NCAA championship game, or skipping two days of school mourning Duke’s first-round loss against VCU in 2007, sports make me act irrationally. I’m well aware of that, but hey, we all have our own peccadilloes, right?
It manifests itself in my conception of time. Most people divide time throughout the year by seasons. I do too, though in a slightly different sense of the word. The year starts with the onset of the NFL, which itself leads into basketball season, followed by the doldrums of baseball season. Which reminds me — Happy New Year’s to all of you this Thursday! I’ll be celebrating in my room doing a little rain dance of sorts hoping that the Packers start off the season with an embarrassing loss against Sean Payton, Drew Brees and the rest of the New Orleans Saints (followed by 15 more losses, an Aaron Rogers injury and maybe even a “celeb-shot” reappearance of sorts by Brett Favre).
Well, it’s getting late, and John Saunders, Mike Lupica, Stephen A. Smith and I have “The Sports Reporters” coming up in a couple minutes. Oh, no, it’s not that I like them more than you; it’s just that I’ve been with them for a lot longer. This is our tradition. Well, if you really feel that way, we can talk it out next time. On a more serious note, however, I’ve had a blast and I hope that we can do this again soon. Say, same time next week? We can talk shop on the first week of the year, the status of Peyton Manning’s iron man streak (spoiler alert — he’ll play), and all of our New Year’s resolutions. Thanks again.
Joel Sircus is a sophomore in Trumbull College.