Monday, January 10, 2011

The Watchman

If you are a long time reader of this blog, you have probably heard this before.  I used to be a HUGE sports fan. 

Don't get me wrong, I am still a sports fan.  I always will be.  Leopards don't lose their spots. However, there was a time for me when it was more like an obsession.  My emotions would literally shoot to the highest reaches, then plunge to the deepest depths like the proverbial roller coaster, based on how my teams were doing at that moment. And there were a lot of those moments.

What was the problem? Well, let's just say being a Seattle sports fan recently has been akin to hopping a coaster in which you get in, and it simply drives you slowly around in a circle before depositing you back where you started.  Sure, there have been athletic successes in my city over the past half decade, but precious few.

That fact, combined with the decisions Mrs. LIAYF and I made to get rid of television in our home when Lukas was born, has led to my distancing myself from watching spectator sports.  And when I say distancing, I mean that I hadn't watched a game all year long.  Baseball, Basketball, Football.  This from the guy who used to fall asleep to Sportscenter, and then turn it back on the next morning to once again watch the highlights. In short,  I have done a complete 180 in my viewing habits

Save for a few instances where I heard about something spectacular after the fact, I haven't minded.  I have traded planning my weekends around the games that are on, to planning them around what I can do with Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas.  And it has been tremendous.  Being there, in the moment, with my son while watching him grow and learn without that added distraction has created moments and memories which have been many of the best in my life.

However, as I look back on my life I realize that there are other events I have witnessed which are seared into my memory and which bring up a flood of positive emotions with them as I remember.  Edgar Martinez doubling home the winning runs for the Mariners in '95 against the Yankees.  The US Gold medal Hockey game in Lake Placid in 1980.  Doug Fluties Hail Mary pass against Miami. Man those were great plays.  It makes me happy to remember witnessing them.

I had another such experience Saturday.  Although I had been a terrible football fan, not watching a game all year, I ventured out to a local sports bar while Lukas napped to watch a playoff game.  One that I was sure would be over by the time I got there.  As it turned out, that was certainly not the case.

I pulled up a chair in between two other fans and watched what was one of the most improbable games I have ever watched as my hometown Seahawks, who came into the game as the first team in playoff history with a losing record, won an intense and dramatic game against the heavily favored defending Super Bowl Champion.

And better yet, the win was sealed sealed by one of the greatest individual plays I have witnessed.  The place where I watched was nothing short of electric.  Swelling with the type of emotion that comes from watching the improbable happen.  This was one of games, and experiences, I won't soon forget.

As Lukas gets older, I certainly don't want to let spectator sports get in the way of spending real and quality time with him. On weekend afternoons, we should be be hiking or biking or playing catch instead of watching games.  But with that said there also should be room carved into our schedule for catching a few important games.  They can be a lot of fun.  I can't forget this.

After all, lasting memories are formed through a variety of experiences.


Homemaker Man said...

The Pman and I love to watch the Celtics. Of course, it only lasts ten minutes before a basketball game breaks out in the playroom . . .

ericdbolton said...

I was watching the Cotton Bowl this weekend after the kids went down and my wife amused me by feigning interest. She was surprised that I knew what specific rules were. I explained I hadn't always been a sports hermit.

They just don't have the same importance as they did before I met her.

Someone would ask me if I saw the Spurs game, I would be like. "It's basketball season already?"

Diplo_Daddy said...

You should visit England. They have but one sport over here, and only one sport; Soccer! They call it Football. It drives most males crazy, even causes fans to fight with one another during big games. O, did I mention it dominates Saturday afternoons, nearly year round?
Yes, enjoy sports, especially the NFL. And, I’m totally convinced that, one day before I die, the Miami Dolphins will win the big trophy. But do I watch it constantly....nope.

Didactic Pirate said...

My sports fanhood comes and goes, even though I share some of those great spectator memories with you.

But how 'BOUT those Seahawks!?!?!? A great game.

P.S. Do you still have no TV at home? I do not understand your ways, strange man.

Gary@Leather Baby Shoes said...

I congratulate you on going "cold turkey" over the past year. I did something similar (not to the same degree) when my son was born. Now he's 10 and we have season tickets for our local team and go together. Its great father/son time because now, when he's home he wants to be playing with his mates, not me! Maybe, you have this to look forward too.

Douglas said...

That Marshawn Lynch run was AMAZING! Despite being a Rams fan I couldn't help but cheer as he broke tackle after tackle!

Jack said...

I am a Raiders fan and bitter that the Seahawks got in and they did not. Love watching the games with my son. Just so much fun.

SciFi Dad said...

That Lynch run was INSANE.

Best part? Learning on Sunday from Jay Glazer that New Orleans asked Buffalo to talk to them before trading Lynch, and were ready to offer more than Seattle for him. Buffalo doesn't do its due diligence, and Seattle reaps the benefits.

triles said...

I grew up in Wisconsin, so I am a diehard Packers fan. I spent a lot of time watching games with my Dad. I have vivid memories of certain games we watched together. I suppose watching football games seems like a waste of time to some, but I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.

Anonymous said...


That was a cool story. I used to be a huge sports fan too. I stopped for different reasons (didn't like the obligatory macho male thing around sports). Now, I only watch soccer mostly because very few people I know enjoy it. It's kind of my own thing. My kids like it too. . . Occasionally, I'll accidentally catch a part of a basketball or baseball game and enjoy it though. Congrats on the Seahawks!


Otter Thomas said...

I won't ever reach the point where you are, but my sports viewing habits have changed dramatically too. The only people whoe have time to be fanatics are people without families. Once you have other people in your life games are just not as important. It's just the way it works.

Having said that, sports have always been a connection between me and my Dad and I hope they will be with my son too. I will play sports with Braden as much as I can. Watching is secondary to that for sure.

Anonymous said...

I have not watched an NFL game this season and now that my team has done much better than expected and is in the playoffs I don't want to jinx them by watching. But I totally get what you are saying. I could spend all day Sunday glued to the TV. Now there are just too many other things I'd rather be doing.