Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Being a Polygasportist on Twitter

By Mark Smith

I’ve met quite a few people who don’t like sports. I actually had a group of friends full of them, which caused me to start writing as an outlet for having a conversation about sports, but they have since come to their senses. While I certainly don’t agree with people who dislike sports, I do kind of understand it. Sports are pretty much useless as a form of entertainment. Music, art, reading, and writing can all add valuable contributions to society, but the only real advantage of sports is making exercise fun. Character-building for things like discipline, teamwork, hard work, etc. can all be learned through other outlets, and sports can actually be harmful and cause serious health problems.

That, of course, doesn’t mean sports are actually useless. They do teach all those positive characteristics I mentioned, and they do get people out of the house for a little exercise. While they may not contribute to society, they do entertain many, many people, and as a form of entertainment, that’s all they really are supposed to do. It’s really about individual preference.

What I have rarely met, however, is someone who likes sports but actually has a good reason for disliking another sport. I can understand liking certain sports more than others, but I don’t really understand how one can simply dislike another sport. Sports are fun because they include (in no order) exercise, strategy, competition, teamwork, and a distraction, but they all include those in some form or another. Depending on how you feel about those characteristics and how they relate to your enjoyment of sports, your ranking of the sports will be different from someone else’s, which is fine. What I find is that people are either socialized into disliking it by family, friends, community, or whatever, aren’t good at it, or don’t understand the nuances. Considering most of us are armchair fans, the second isn’t a good reason. As for the rest, once you give it a try and learn, you’ll gain at least an appreciation for it, though you may never love it.

But I’m continually surprised by people who simply dislike a sport. This weekend was a perfect example. With this past weekend being the opening weekend for the NFL, usual baseball tweeters began tweeting non-baseball stuff, and there were quite a few people who weren’t happy about the new influx of football information on their timeline.

Now, I do understand somewhat. Most of the people I follow are baseball or Braves-related, and I expect most of my timeline to be related to such. I don’t have a particular interest (note “particular interest”, not dislike) in politics, soccer, the NBA, or random people asking athletes to RT them, and sure, I would prefer a timeline of things that are about what I want to read about.

But that really isn’t possible. We all have different interests, and while we expect certain people to talk about certain things on Twitter, we also like when people are fairly well-rounded. People come to KLaw chats to talk literature and cooking. People chat with Marc Normandin and Kevin Goldstein about video games. Do I particularly enjoy those parts of the chats? Is that why I read those people? No, but I understand it comes with the territory, and when I’m not at all in the mood, I (gasp) move past those parts.

Otherwise, I don’t know what you expect. I love baseball, and she’s my one true love (for those concerned about my actual relationship priorities, please do not hold the rest of this against me … unless you’re a beautiful woman’s body. Sorry, I couldn’t resist). But I’m a man, and I have needs. I can’t go a few months without sports, and while it’s still baseball season, I’ve got to get ready for when baseball has “her time”. I like the blood, sweat, violence, teamwork, and euphoria of a sports season, and I won’t restrict myself to one sport. Baseball understands that I like football, basketball, and golf, and she understands that, while I may stray for a while, I’ll be back again. Baseball is who I end up with, who I take to meet the family, and who I choose above all others. But I have no problem with any other sport, and I’ll continue to tweet about it. If you have a problem, unfollow me or ignore me. Baseball nags me enough about that gutter that needs fixing.


Lil' Loquacious said...

that last paragraph is ridiculous. i would like to point out that I was NOT one of the people who forced you into the blogosphere. I love sports.

Mark Smith said...

You love them more now than you did then, that's for sure. And yes, that last paragraph was a little ridiculous.

Professor Longnose said...


I'm a baseball fan, not a sports fan. I love baseball, and have followed it for almost 40 years. I watch it, listen to it, and read about it as much as I can. But I don't watch any other sports. I've tried but they mostly bore me. Probably it's because I don't know much about them, and perhaps if I had had someone to lead me through them back when I was getting started, I'd like them more now. But I don't. I tried to watch basketball when I was a kid, and it was a snooze. A friend of mine is a big football fan, and he's trying to teach me about the game, but it just doesn't have the same interest for me.

A few years ago, I moved to a place where I had a long commute, and where I have to drive quite a bit to get anywhere. Because of that, I wind up listening to a lot of sports talk radio. In the baseball off season, I follow the stories involved with other sports--Larry Brown's hostile divorce from the Knicks, Plexico's jail term, etc. I enjoy following the stories, but the games still bore me. I have no emotional involvement with them--I can't get myself to care. Although if I happen to hear that a San Diego Padre is one small achievement away from breaking a record a Yankee holds, I'll tune in and root against it, and I['ll wind up being ridiculously disappointed if he breaks it.

When it's Opening Day of baseball season, and Mike and Mike in the morning are discussing the psychology of golf, it just pisses me off.

Feel free to tweet or write whatever you like. If it's interesting writing and you bring your passion to it, I'll read it even if it's about the Manitoba Mole Rats' new Madagascar Rules Lawn Duckpins season. I probably won't watch them play, though.

Mark Smith said...


That's a fair stance to take. I realize everyone won't and can't care about every sport. I'm more taken aback at the people getting a little upset that people are tweeting about football. It's that time of year, and expecting the baseball people you might follow to never talk football, even in baseball season, is a little ridiculous.

Jason Wojciechowski said...

FWIW, I have an active dislike of football because it maims and kills its players. I used to watch it and enjoy it (less than baseball and basketball, more than hockey and soccer), but the explosion of information about brain injuries managed to turn me 180 degrees.

Mark Smith said...

Jason, that's a more valid take than I usually hear. Football is probably the most dangerous sport (except for possibly hockey--the blades) we have, but I'd say your anger should be more directed at the NFL.

Jason Wojciechowski said...

I think it's hardly the NFL's fault that the sport is inherently dangerous. There's really not much they can do about it unless they want to become a helmet-less touch/flag league. (Which I'd be ok with.)

And while hockey is possible potentially dangerous because of the skates, how many people does this actually affect?