I believe that sports can be highly addictive, and possibly hazardous to your health.
I have had periods in my life where I have developed what some may call an unhealthy obsession. Mostly, though, this has had to do with sports.
Growing up in Massachusetts, where Red Sox baseball is life, I naturally become a die-hard fan of the hometown Sox. I loved watching Roger Clemens, who has the same birthday as me; and Nomar Garciaparra, with all his pre-batting ticks; and of course Pedro Martinez, who famously threatened to drill Babe Ruth in the ass if he ever stepped in the batter’s box against him (Mr. Ruth put a curse on us a few years back). The Red Sox hadn’t won the World Series since 1918, so there was no reason to believe that those Sox would fare any different. But every year, I (and everyone else in Red Sox Nation) believed that this was the year. And every year, I was painfully disappointed.
In 2003, the Red Sox looked like they were going to go to the World Series, for the first time in my sports-conscious life. It was game 7 of the ALCS, and they were playing the despised New York Yankees. Leading 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, everyone in the stadium and watching at home believed our time had finally come. The game was out of reach, we naively believed. The great, but diminutive, Pedro Martinez was pitching. He pitched a great game (and season), but his pitch count was over 100 pitches, and everyone knew that Pedro was a liability after 100 pitches. Well, everyone but Grady Little, the team’s manager. Grady left Pedro in, and as they say, the rest is history. Aaron “Bleeping” Boone.
Everybody remembers the most traumatic moments of their lives with vivid detail. Anyone living at the time knew exactly where they were and what they were doing when JFK was shot. Everyone knew exactly where they were when the towers were hit on 9/11/01. And I am fully aware that the consequences of a baseball game are nowhere near as significant of world events as those two world-changing moments were. But for me, 10/16/03 was my most traumatic day to date. My heart ached for days after that game. It felt like a family member had died. And as irrational as it was, as a 21 year old adult, I was so invested in that team that it was not at all an unrealistic reaction.
Thankfully, the Red Sox beat the Yankees next year, in a blissfully retributive fashion. Since then, I have learned to keep my distance from sports. I know now that it is just not worth it to become so invested in something that you have no control over. I’ve learned my lesson, and I’m moving on.
Now, if I could just kick this addiction I’ve got to politics…