5 Jan 04
I was really happy to find your website today. Man, I've been waiting for a forum like this for a long time.
Sports to me seem as pointless as non-alcoholic beer. As a 33 yr old, 6'2, 230lb man I've had to put up with all the jock sniffers that think because of my size I'm somehow interested in any event where other men chase balls or pucks around! I couldn't give a rat's ass if the Paducha Scrotem Sratchers beat the Memphis Masterbaters in quintuple overtime. Nor do I give a shit if Muhammed Al Shazamm Washington jr scored a 50 point throw from the parking lot of the stadium while walking over hot coals... The fact of the matter is, I just dont care..
Sorry to all the rabid ESPN watching, pussy assed Fantasy Football playing wannabes out there but, sports don't define who I am. Why waste an afternoon dressed in a jersey with another man's name on my back crammed into a living room with 10 other followers doing the exact same thing? Sounds strangely homoerotic to me. Shame , Shame, Shame..... Being a follower ain't my style. And thats all sports fans are plain and simple...
You know, I used to cringe when other guys would casually make sports related small talk. Now I just laugh, look them right in the eye and ask in the most serious tone I can muster, "What in the Fuck are you talking about?!!" Most of them get visibly startled and say, "The GAME yesterday!" . I more often than not reply, "I don't follow sports, have NO interest in it at all! " 99% of the time " OH! " is the reply, followed by silence... I'm not about to try to play along with them, feign interest, or act like I want to learn about it. Sports fans are all the same... Fuck em' ! Ignorant bastards.....
I am who I am... You are who you are... We all feel the same, I wish I had time to spin a few yarns about my high school experience, that was an interesting experience to say the least. Keep the faith, don't play along.. Matt
20 Jan 04
Quick story: When I was an undergraduate I worked as building security for my local baseball team (in the MLB.) The job wasn't half bad in the off season. In November through February I could sleep when it was 3:00 in the morning and no-one was around and still get paid...it was when the season started that things got obnoxious. Rude primadonna players (idiots who earn more money and get far more female attention then they were worth), moronic fans and even more moronic media coverage made it a living hell. It was the only job that I quit with a smile on my face.
I was not the kind of guy who lived for the "big game" before and now am a bonifide sports hater...you are not alone.
I think you should allow a forum to be tagged on site to allow the occasional brain dead sports fan to be flamed royally. --RT
21 Jan 04
I am 13 years old. I am in 8th grade. I hate sports. They are a complete waste of time and money. The only thing good about them is I play sports video games to keep my self occupied. I live in Massachusetts. Sports are not the biggest thing here, but in school it seems all the other boys love sports while I see most of them as quite homoerotic and boring. The city of Haverhill, where I live, still keeps gym classes in its middle schools even though the school system is broke and it is the absolutely most useless class I have. The city though has eliminated woodshop, foreign languages, and has reduced middle schools to one health teacher. For health I don't even get her. I get the gym teacher. During the day I have health I really am having another gym class. I'd rather sit in class learning stuff that may have anything to do with my future not run around like a savage or playng with balls. Also, I suck at everything to do with sports and the kids that seem to do the best are jocks. A bunch of kids who have a lot of friends and are seen as cool, even though most are idiots who are really big sissies. Schools are stupid and should take out gym classes and put in something like foreign languages because they actually do improve intelligence - Nathan
30 Jan 04
I am glad to see revulsion at sports.
In the current form, they are revolting.
I was a successful college athlete and played professionally for a few years at lower levels and I completely agree with you.
As a participant, my game is a joy to me. An absolute joy.
I could never understand, however, why anyone other than my teammates would care a whit about the outcome. And in retrospect, most of my teammates were neanderthals. I wouldn't choose to spend a moment with any of them off the field.
I care not at all about any other game than the one I was playing in. It's crazy, tribal behavior.
School sports are warped. At the dawn of collegiate and scholastic sports in the early part of the 20th Century, the players were considered classmates. The other classmates came to cheer them as friends. Now, they are booed and hissed and threatened with death if they make a bad play. By the same token, the athletes aren't scholars. They take illegal money and behave as rogues. These fans and athletes deserve each other: they have mutual contempt.
Pro sports I can understand a little. There is a market for spectator events and businessmen attempt to fill the niche. The rabidity of the fans is odd to me.
The triumph of sports today is, I believe, the triumph of the casual. The easy success of the talented sportsman is what young people aspire to. Young people today wear locker room clothing in public. Girl jocks revel in appearing in public in their sweat suits and shower shoes. Guys love showing off their specially bent and manipulated baseball caps, with their arched bills. I am an athlete, see? That's what they are saying. They are saying, "I am so talented, I don't need a serious life. I am a PLAYER. I play for a living."
Fewer than 1 percent will ever make a dime at it. In the meantime, we have to look at their idiotic clothing and postures, pay for their college educations.
A healthy body and a healthy mind. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with people who wish to compete getting together to do it. That it has taken on the mania that it has, deceived so many young people, alienated so many others - well, its simply the sign of a culture gone corrupt.
I loved my game. I never wanted the acclaim of anyone other than my teammates and opponents, and viewed it as an adjunct to my scholarship. Now, I see no game left: it's a business. Parents pay thousands of dollars for specialized coaching for 10 year olds. It's an obsession for the brain dead. It makes me sad. --Marvin
2 Feb 04
I am an athlete, I suppose, I enjoy kickboxing and pumping iron. But I hate sports in general. Some fat fuck gets with his buddies and sits and compares stats over some kids game turned into a billion dollar business.
And why is it that athletes get more money than say, a school teacher? It's beyond me. I didn't watch the stupid super bowl like all you fatasses. I went and worked out for my own self and didn't live thru someone else, like lazy fatasses that they are.
I dont know who won but I am sure I would have heard by now if somthing really exciting had happened. Kind of dissapointing.
12 Feb 04
You have an interesting site and it's stimulated me to write a few things:
While I am solidly in support of the idea that professional competitive sports are grotesquely overemphasized in our modern cultures, I think sports--if they could be kept in perspective--might have a valid place in society. One important reason for this is that I view sports as an important outlet for excess human aggressiveness (most likely a function of testosterone) that might otherwise be manifested in even more destructive ways. I recognize that sporting events often enough lead to destructive behavior "off the field," as in post-game riots, school bullying, gambling and so forth. However, how are we to channel this energy otherwise? Finding alternative outlets for it is a long-term proposition; sports fans called upon to go "cold turkey" are not going to be able to turn to more productive pursuits overnight. In general, therefore, I tend to support more rigorous law enforcement against off-field violence along with measures to gradually de-emphasize competitive sports in favor of academic pursuits through the public budgetary process.
There are so many distressing aspects of a sports-crazed culture that it's difficult to know where to begin complaining. One major problem is that professional sports, or any organized school athletics that are modeled after them, have a negative long-term effect on physical fitness and on the costs of health care. Most obviously, an enormous number of sports fans as they age lose their physical fitness and many join the growing ranks of the obese. When I was a kid, people used to make the derogatory statement about athletes that "they build up all that muscle and by the time they are 40 it all turns to flab." When I heard this, I thought this was an amazing physiological process worthy of study by the old-time alchemists; later I realized that it had much more to do with the consumption of barrels of beer and industrial quantities of nachos. Physical fitness for anyone--no matter what size, sex, age or ability--is a pleasant and sensible thing to have and maintain, but many people are dissuaded from pursuing it because of the excessive importance placed on competition and winning. We have no problem with the idea that everyone ought to have some basic proficiency with mathematics, and at the same time we can accommodate the ambitions of those who excel at them. This is much less the case with physical fitness because we encourage only the top athletic performers. For someone outside of that elite group, it often makes more sense to abandon the entire enterprise. In addition, many in the elite athletic group sustain injuries while young that make it difficult to maintain lifelong physical fitness.
William Hazlitt (1778-1830) wrote an essay called "On Personal Identity" that, although it was directed more at the phenomenon of those who purchase various aspects of excellence rather than earn them, is also relevant to the sports fan's obsessive identification with a team and the vicarious thrill of "being on top:"
"There is, I think, an essential difference of character in mankind, between those who wish to do, and those who wish to have certain things. I observe persons expressing a great desire to possess fine horses, hounds, dress, equipage, &c. and an envy of those who have them. I myself have no such feeling, nor the least ambition to shine, except by doing something better than others. I have the love of power, but not of property. I should like to be able to outstrip a greyhound in speed; but I should be ashamed to take any merit to myself from possessing the fleetest greyhound in the world. I cannot transfer my personal identity from myself to what I merely call mine. The generality of mankind are contented to be estimated by what they possess, instead of what they are."
20 Feb 04
Our version of football- what you Americans would call soccer- is the most over exposed pile of crap on television. The bar of my local pub ( bar in American) has soccer on almost every night, I avoid it like the SARS virus, and the morons in football shirts or tracksuits, most of whom are thirtysomething retards who have never kicked a ball in their adults, who become orgasmic when their side gets a free kick, and go into fits of manic depression and bad language when a goal is disallowed for being offside, some kind of rule I could never understand. I'm going to be even less pleased when we have the European Football Championsip in June, and the usual clatter of lager sodden morons with shaved heads descend on a previously peaceful foreign country to " support" their country and end up turning Lisbon into downtown Baghdad. Back home, the pubs will fill up with the sort of morons in England shirts who sit and bore everyone to death about the 4--4-2 formation. Personally these sorts of highlights of the sporting calendar in England fill me with dread.
Similarly I managed to duck out of the rugby union world cup last year. As I had to play this boring, violent game with homosexual overtones at school, I had absolutely no desire to watch a bunch of oversized former school bullies and closet homosexuals half kill each other in the name of an alleged sport. Basically rugby players- the game is a bit similar to American football without the helmets- are as bad as your football jocks. They tend to be boorish, pompous, swagger around, and cover up their homosexuality by having girlfriends in public to hide their weird shower room culture. The blue collar variety of rugby union, rugby league, is played by absolute psychopaths who seem only interested in violence and remaining in the bottom rung of the proletariat, locally most never become more than building labourers and aspire to be nothing more if they don't go professional.
Team sports, including the extremely tedious English version of baseball called cricket, suck and so do a lot of people who watch them. I particularly hate the vogue for a fair part of British society who are often over weight and on welfare to wear sport clothes and stupid baseball caps. I'm thinking of organising a bonfire with a few like minds of Adidas tracksuits, baseball caps and trainers.
Hey, I think the site is great as well. I'm not totally against sports, I did some martial arts training when I was younger, which is a lot more physically demanding than people imagine and attracts a different mindset to team sports guys, so i can't say I'm anti sport per se. It's just I find watching a ball being kicked, thrown about, hit with a racket or being hit with a cue about as exciting as being trapped in a lift with Al Gore. I hated playing ball sports as a kid and hate them now. Keep up the good work, down with the jocks. --Glenn, England
21 Feb 04
Thanks for considering my e mail from England. Yes, over here parts of the country like the North East, Liverpool and Manchester, are totally brianwashed by soccer, and to dislike the game in these areas is either to be classed as an outcast or gay, or both. It's not so soccer obsessed where I live in Cumbria, about 40 miles South of Scotland, but we have the even more horrible games of rugby union and rugby league here, which I detested playing at school and detested the oversized bullies that played them and the stupid women that hang around these moronic idiots.
I notice some of the letters on your letters page comment about sport overrunning into other programmes on television. We get this problem in England with the BBC. As the BBC has lost a large part of its sports contracts to satellite television, what it still has it broadcasts to death. Viewers can be subject to Wimbledon on both its channels, last year a tennis match replaced a whole evening of programmes on BBC1, and the BBC inflicts hours of snooker, bowls and non sports such as darts on the licence payer. ( Unlike America, British viewers have to buy a licence to watch a television and to fund the BBC.)
Tonight the BBC has decided to replace its usual light entertainment and comedies in favour of a rugby match, which logically should be broadcast in the early afternoon, the tradtional time for sports programmes in Britain and one of the reasons why I'm online now. I, for one, pray for the day when the main networks in Britain lose all their sport to satellite sports channels and give sport haters something other than oversized men running after an oval ball and knocking each other over.
21 Feb 04
Greetings from England again.
Just reading through your letters pages, I notice one of your contributors brought up the subject of the perverted sadists who often teach games in schools. Games teachers probably left me with a deep contempt for organised sport.
The first games teacher I had was a pervert who enjoyed watching kids in the showers and beating people with a gym shoe, as well as forcing kids to do cross country runs in the height of winter while he watched them from the comfort of his car, no doubt looking for someone to be slacking so he could have an excuse to hit somebody. That guy, who resembled Starsky off " Starsky and Hutch" ( this was 1979), put me off sport for life and was a totally useless excuse for a human being. I was delighted one day to see some fifth form (our highest year in English schools) pupil break his nose in the corridor and everyone start laughing as this scumbag collapsed in a heap. If I had been a bit older and not as scared of him, I would have probably been tempted to kick him in the face when he was down. I was actually relieved when I changed schools at 13 and got this pervert off my back, though I did find that all games teachers seem to have an obsession with showers and were possibly gay. Also, in England most become unemployable by the time they are 45 and end up as third rate geography or careers teachers.
Yes, games teachers in my mind tend to be failed sportsmen with a grudge against anyone who can't do sport and are often perverts. I imagine it's the same in America from what I gather. Actually I can't understand why games are part of a school curriculum to start with. Most towns and cities have numerous weekend football and rugby clubs that kids can join, and I think schools would be better employed equipping kids for the real world by teaching them languages and IT. It's also pretty pointless forcing kids to do a subject that many have no aptitude for and is of abolsutely no use to them in finding a job. It saddens me when I hear from Yanks on this site that schools are cutting back on every department barring sport. I'm afraid producing a nation of jocks isn't going to cut the budget deficit or help the economy.
While we're not as overwhelmed with sport in England, and Europe as a whole, I notice that sport has taken a far higher priority over the past 10 years. In the eighties, football (soccer) was classed as a yobs' game and socially dubious. Now it's the new rock'n roll and endorsed by the past two governments. Tony Blair is often seen kicking a football and declaring his love of "the beautiful game". I'm sure it's part of a conspiracy to keep the unquestioning masses stupid. (I notice George W Bush seems obsessed with baseball.)
To question the worth of football in some circles is to invite at best a taunt about your sexuality or at worst invite physical violence. I was born in Newcastle, a city of 300,000 people where football is brainwashed into the proletariat, and to say openly in a pub on a match day that you hate football or you don't know who is the goalkeeper at Newcastle Utd would be to invite a glass shoved into your face. I do know of a few people from the city, they tend to be goths or academics, who do not like football in the least but are careful not to voice their opinions too loudly and to avoid getting into conversations with people in football shirts or tracksuits, a sure sign of a football fan.
Speaking of homosexuality, for all the sports fans drone on about non sports fans being gay, I honestly think a large part of sport is fundamentally gay. As I mentioned at the start of my e-mail, school games and the people that taught them had a gay undercurrent. After all, surely a group of men watching a group of partly dressed muscular men on a pitch running after a ball is subconsciously gay. Not that I would say this to a rugby player, but I honestly consider this game to be homosexual. ( Women's rugby teams in England are notorious for being full of lesbians.) After all, the weird club initiation ceremonies, the boorish attitudes many rugby players display towards women, the body contact in the sport, and the closed male world of many rugby clubs would make the sport attractive to gays. Seemingly there's a gay rugby world cup in May and I'd love to know how many of these oversized and boorish dicks would be outed at that. And sports fans have the nerve to accuse us sport haters of being gay, the hypocrites.
6 Mar 04
My first thought is that reading some of the arguments going back and forth make this forum sound a little like a religious disagreement. It's the Christians vs the antichrist. My answer to this is the same I have to those who want to fight with those on the other side of the argument: "Why can't we just get along?" The more extreme statements you make against sports and sports fans will only fuel the flames of an all-out holy war if you don't watch out! Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration...
But first, my perspective on this and where it came from...
I grew up initially having no interest in team sports. Then, when I had to play it in elementary school, and was bad at it, my team mates yelled at me and I felt universally despised. I didn't blame my team mates because my lack of ability did adversely affect them by possibly causing them to lose the game. What I did resent was being put in that position in the first place. For some, team sports is a great boost to self-esteem, but for others it is a great destroyer of self-esteem.
So, why don't I want to yell back at sports fan? Because of fairness and not wanting to do to others the same thing that was done to me. I have experienced some comments from people that seemed to show prejudice due to my lack of interest in team sports. But prejudice works both ways; whether you are a sports fan prejudiced against non-sports fans or a non-sports fan prejudiced against sports fans.
What I am opposed to is genuine prejudice against non-sports fans. Sometimes I wonder if that malcontentedness is just a figment of my imagination. I think it exists, but is not as prevalent as I grew up believing (but more prevalent than sports fans may realize). One friend once said "It's stupid to not like team sports!" with anger in his voice.
Where does such an idea come from? It is not an interest in sports that is a problem, but when you push that interest on others! I had a coworker who some may have called a sports fanatic because he spent time managing an on-line virtual sports playing team. Yet talking with it once with me he commented that I may not care much for it in a tone of voice that simultaneously acknowledged and ACCEPTED my lack of interest! As a person he is very mature and full of common sense. Fanaticism is not defined by how much you are into something; but by how much you PUSH it on others!
I have no real problem with team sports on TV or sports talk in public AS LONG AS my lack of interest is respected. By that I mean you may be surprised by it, or think it strange; but that you ultimately accept it, and see me as simply different and not inferior because of it.
One more thing. I just read a quote that "I think people who don't like sports do not understand the spirit of competition and are afraid of it." I agree, depending on what the spirit of competition is. If the spirit of competition is "Winning is everything and hate the other team and anyone who gets in your way of winning!" then yes, I don't understand that spirit and am frightened by it; whether it is on the playing field or the business world. If, on the other hand, the spirit of competition is "Let the best man wildish no hatred or resentment because the loser will find his (or her) own arena to win in" OR "Let us compete and hone our skills and afterwards not worry too much about who won" then I don't have a problem with competition.
I have noticed that I generally don't like team competition (as in sports) yet can like one-on-one competition (as in chess), and I think it is because you can generally find a person to play chess with who will not get mad about who won; yet on many teams there is at least one who will get mad. In short, I believe in John Nash's win/win philosophy as opposed to the win/lose philosophy that so many (but by no means all) attach to and promote with sports. Promoting a win/lose philosophy with anger attached is not a good thing to train businessmen to believe; as it doesn't promote good business ethics.
7 Mar 04
In reply to Ed's letter, I don't want to start a holy war against sports and I do have a few friends who are sports fans but respect that I have no interest in the subject, it's just the way some sports fans and players think there is something wrong with you if you're not interested in hearing about Manchester Utd's latest signing, and the billions that are wasted on sport over other activities. I particularly despise the way in Britain the BBC, which is funded by a compulsory licence fee, has broadcast a non stop eight hour session of rugby and football, treating non sports fans or indeed fans of other sports with contempt.
Actually I do follow a few sports, I can handle stuff like wrestling or car rallying, but everything else is a dull waste of my time. I think following team sports is like being in a flock of sheep. But, hey, that's my opinion.
14 Mar 04
Sports are meaningless shit. Tough macho motherfuckers feel the need to show lesser men how fuckin' macho they are by doing all that macho shit. Some jackoff scoring in a ballgame and some other jackoffs analyzing it on tv like it actually means something. Even sorrier than sportsmen are sportsfans. People trying to connect their stupid lives to some other jackoff who earns millions of dollars a year and does commericials for some shoe brand or something.
22 Mar 04
A.H. is totally spot on when he refers to TV pundits analysing sports matches as jack offs, which I take it is the American expression for what we would call tossers. It's bad enough British TV shoving sport down your throat on all the main channels, but before and after the game you have a panel of tedious bores discussing why Manchester United might win today, and then a post mortem that goes on for ages about why United should not have been offside, etc, etc.
In Britain we employ some of the biggest bores, often at public expense through the BBC, to sit in a studio and drone on for eternity about the big game. One particular hate figure of mine is a Scotsman named Alan Hansen who resembles a Thunderbirds puppet (popular British puppet series in the sixties) and is often called upon to drone on the outcome of a goal less soccer match for 30 minutes. It would be simpler for him just to say, "nobody scored, goodbye", but, hey, this guy will sit and prattle on forever about missed chances and free kicks. He is about as exciting as being trapped in a lift with Al Gore, Bob Dole and Ralph Nader for six hours. Personally I would love to get a job at the BBC and switch off the mikes and the lights and silence Boring Hansen in full flow.
Now that's an idea for sport haters, let's infiltrate the sports departments of the main broadcasters and wreck them. Just imagine it, sabotaging the Six Nations Championship as it starts and the BBC having to replace this bore fest with something more worthwhile like a movie or a classic sitcom.
Glenn, England, dodging out of a Saturday afternoon of mind numbing sport as usual.
27 Mar 04
I remembered one time where our non-sports fan orientation was shown sypathetically on TV. It was in that show Northern Exposure that was on in the very early 90's. There was one episode where Hawley the bartender admitted to a lack of interest in sports. He noticed that the DJ Chris who as he put it "usually is really open minded looked at me like I was from Mars." I thought that episode hit it right on the head-as I have noticed normally open minded people becoming closed minded about sports. One fellow in particular believed recreational drugs were OK and nudity and sexuality shouldn't be taboo like it is in America; yet said "It's stupid to not like team sports!" with anger in his voice. Does my mention of that episode sound at all famiiar?
29 Mar 04
I visit from time to time and enjoy the banter of this site. I've contributed once or twice some time ago as well. I find it disturbing that some of the posts express a dislike of homoerotic appearances. Frankly, that's the only thing I find even mildly attractive about team sports. Personally, I don't care for today's sports because they seem like a complete waste of my time. When folks start talking about "the game" or start listing statistics, my eyes start to glaze over. However, if I'm stuck somewhere and a game is on, I'll sit back and enjoy the sight of all those studs, patting each others asses, hugging each other and showing affection. I especially like to watch Greco/Roman wrestling (rarely ever shown on network TV). Otherwise, I couldn't care less about pro or college sports. Please, homophobia stinks! That's what many of the jocks are into.
29 Mar 04
Here is some episode info. I found on the internet...
5.6 11/1/93 "Birds of a Feather"
Written by: Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess
Directed by: Mark Horowitz
When Joel's parents visit Cicely for the first time, his mother is awestruck by its serene beauty and later soars with the eagles, while his dad plays Mr. Fix-it around the house and outshines Joel at the Brick. Meanwhile, Holling's confessed distast for sports makes for hot conversation around town.
Joel's parents come to Cicely and his father's know-it-all attitude gets on Joel's nerves and his mother gets back to nature. Holling's dislike of sports causes Shelly to ponder their baby's athletic future and his stature among the men of Cicely.
30 Mar 04
Yesterday my home town rugby league team were playing in the quarter final of some trophy. Rather than fork out the equivalent of 15 dollars a ticket to sit in a stadium with a group of people I'd cross the road to avoid, and is in danger of falling down, or watching the game on the television, I went for a haircut and then went on the internet all afternoon oblivious to the outcome of the big game.
Whitehaven Warriors lost, so f***ing what, they're no good. I felt about as upset as when I killed a hornet that was trying to munch on my chicken salad last summer. At least hornets don't bore you with match stats, I suppose.
Classic saying by John Waters, producer of the late Divine's movies, "If there was a Ku Klux Klan against sport, I'd be in it."
4 Apr 04
Hello, I agree with most of what your site is about. I think that sports are a great escape for the individual person, but that professional sports are way too media hyped. Why do we need to know so much about the sports athelete these days? Some atheletes cannot conduct themselves in appropriate behavior and often act like "fools" when they do something great (Terrel Owens, Joe Horn come to mind). I see your point about the negativity that sports create. One other thing that annoys me is the fact that players will not stay with their original team, they will only "search" another team to try to get a title. (Can you say Karl Malone and Gary Payton). So, as much as I love playing sports, watching sports has become a negative thing. I agree with you and understand your frustration in sports. Take care.
9 Apr 04
I have been working over this topic for decades trying to find out why it seems to be such a big deal to me emotionally (and it is). Here are some of what I have concluded. I don't' know if they are the same reasons why others have been frustrated with society's emphasis on team sports, but on the other hand, it may provide some clarity for others on why they feel so strongly about it. Here goes.
1) It was emotionally painful.
I have heard that many didn't like being picked last by a team, that it made them feel unwanted. For me it wasn't that (for I disliked the game enough that I didn't want to be picked so that I could avoid playing a game I was neither good at nor enjoyed). Instead it was that I was bad enough at the game that I threatened my team's chance at winning. As a result, when I goofed up I was yelled at. Yelling to me has always meant lots of anger; enough anger to hate and possibly enough anger for violence (and this is not that much of a stretch considering that soccer fans and hockey players are legendary for their violence). It felt like I was universally despised, which triggered feelings of inferiority and shame.
This is a difference between sports and a game like chess; where generally you can find someone to play with that will not get all bent out of shape about who wins (e.g., they will not get mad). In sports, there are enough people involved that the chances are high that at least one of them will get mad about the thought or the fact of loosing. I don't care for a form of recreation that is so based on anger (particularly where I feel I may be the target for that anger). So, in addition to feeling hated and inferior; I also felt fear of my team mates (that they would turn into a lynch mob). I also expected to face the same hatred if I failed others in a work environment and so I am a workaholic to avoid that hatred.
2) Expectation of enjoyment
Following from 1) being expected to enjoy something I didn't enjoy bothered me for 2 reasons:
a. Others telling me what I should like is a threat to my freedom to be myself. Anyone who thinks I don't have the freedom to not like team sports really doesn't believe in freedom. I am an individualist; and by that I mean that I value the diversity of individuals and not uniformity. Enforced uniformity strikes me as a form of "killing" a person's individuality; and that deliberate "killing of individuality" is something which I consider an abomination!
b. Since playing sports was so unpleasant for me, to be expected to like it is the same think as to be expected to be a masochist (to enjoy suffering). Suffering may be unavoidable at times, but don't expect me to like it!
I can somewhat understand professional sports in that fans have some reason to prefer one team over another; such as "it's the team of my home town", or "I like the attitude the team projects" (thought I think there is a lot more clarity of attitude with individual athletes such as those in one on one sports like tennis especially sense teams often trade players). Likewise, if I had been in little league I could understand identifying with my team because I know my team mates but I don't know the members of other opposing teams (at least not to the same degree). But on the school playground where teams pick members one by one, the division between the teams is absolutely arbitrary. I know members of both teams equally well. My friends have just as much chance of being on my team as being on the opposite team. So why on earth would I care which side won? And then I look around and everyone else is buying into this idea (or I thought they were) and I'm thinking to myself that that way of thinking is totally alien to me. So alien that on some level I even wondered if I was the same species.
When the Disney movie "Escape to Witch Mountain" came out about 2 alien kids living on earth, I began to latch onto the idea that maybe I was alien as a way of explaining why I felt so alienated from humanity. Even my parents didn't understand my lack of interest in team sports. I think I have always felt alone in a strange world that values team competition and win/loose scenarios. This is a problem dealing successfully with a business world that perpetuates this win/loose mentality (despite John Nash's win/win theory recently popularized in the movie "A Beautiful Mind"). Interestingly; when I have described some of the team competitiveness I have observed and experienced in Corporate America; some people have commented that it is juvenile! This is particularly apparent when this competition is within a company where the different "teams" or groups are supposed to be on the same side. One co-worker described the inter-department conflicts as like a non-violent form of gang warfare! Consider that competition within a company wastes energy and time and is ultimately counter-productive (perhaps even destructive), as suggested by John Nash's win/win theory. In this way, team sports is bad for America and the world.
11 Apr 04
In reply to Ed's posting I used to find school sports and in particular the weirdos that taught them to be vile. I saw absolutely no point in being forced to run after a squashed bag of wind in terrible weather conditions just to satisfy some pervert teacher with a bad attitude. I was no good at rugby, and saw no point in being forced to play this violent, complicated and nasty game when I clearly had no aptitude for it. Thankfully British schools have now realised that around one in three pupils have no aptitude or interest in sport and let them drop it altogether at 14.
The sports I have shown an interest in in adult hood have been individual pursuits like judo, which I studied in my early twenties. Most judo guys- and girls, we had a particularly tough female member of the class-had no interest in ball games and were far less egotistical than the guys who played team sports. At least there was none of this," I'm going to whip your ass" crap that you got on the rugby field, because we all knew that it was not in the spirit of judo to boast about your abilities. We just got on with our judo and respected our opponents. Rather different from the thuggish bragging you get from team sports players, or the pathetic obsession top football( soccer) players have with money: even at the top level judoka don't get paid and certainly would never dream of demanding x amount of fees for competing in the olympics. That's what I consider a real sporting activity, one that keeps you fit, helps you defend yourself- though I've probably forgotten most of it now- and one that's done for the love of it, not for the money. In my view professional sports have become money obsessed bores that dominate the TV schedules, attract sheep who can spend up to £ 100 to wear a shirt with another guy's name on and have just become obscene.
I'm sure taking up a martial art is far more healthy than being a sports couch potato or being an egotist earning one hundred times the national average to kick a bag of wind about. After all, I wouldn't like to be a jock on the receiving end of a judoka's wrath, particularly Iron Vicky or Sensei Tony, built like a jock but not like one in nature, from my old judo club. But, on the other hand, unlike the boorish team sports guys, we were taught to be non violent and to use our judo as a last resort.
Glenn, England, being philosophical and ducking out of the sport on TV.
21 Apr 04
I am the program director for a radio station in small town Kansas USA. I love my job except for one thing. SPORTS. Only 3 weeks out of the entire freaking year do I not have to deal with sports. 162 baseball games, at least 20 football games, and that's just the pro sports. Then you get into the High School sports. It's not just the games that suck. It's the pre-game shows, the post-game shows, the scoreboard shows, the coaches shows. So many small town radio stations have to deal with this because " music don't make money".
And yes, I do get pissed when TV pulls one of my favorite shows for some damn sporting event. I like music, I like movies, I like real freaking life. Sports, to too many people, are their only companionship. Their only confort. A daily thing that is always there. The total source of their identity. I see it on all sides. I actually do the play by play for our local high school team. I attend the end of year banquets. It's that way all over America. Athletics is a one way to stardom and special treatment. I'm not saying it's all bad. I'm just saying as a society we SAY oh athleltics has its place. But in reality how many people do you know cursed that the NFL cancelled its Sunday games right after 9-11. How many people really care when art, music, and education gets the budget cuts and the team gets a new playing surface they only use 10 times a year? Love your website.
25 Apr 04
Ken the programme director from Kansas reminds of a BBC local radio producer I used to know who, as it was a small radio station, had four different jobs. The one he hated most was the Saturday afternoon sports show. I sat in with him one day and, after reeling off some sports reports, revealed to me off air that he might as well have been reading something out in Japanese, as he knew nothing about sports and hated them with a passion. His main interests were politics and classical music- not exactly jock material- and he said he would have loved to cut into a football ( soccer) commentary with some Beethoven. I could imagine how well that would have gone down with football fans.
26 Apr 04
Sports themselves arent so bad. What is so bad is how the media covers sports. How much pro atheletes are paid. Alumni boosters who have corrupted college athletics. Little League parents. Endless merchandising of sports gear. Teams changing uniforms every year so thier fans will buy new ones. Tax payer funded stadiums. 24 hour sports talk radio. Atheletes who charge for thier autographs. The sports memorabilia industry in general. Cities being destroyed after a team wins a championship. 12 dollar parking and 8 dollar beers at the ballparks. Billionare owners who hold cities hostage with thier demands. Nobody talks about what really happens to most pro football players when they retire. Fans who have never worn a jock strap in thier life who live vicariosly through sports. High school heros who can get dwi's and whatever else and never get punished. Sports preempts regular programming more than the President. Fantasy sports. The fact that sports is 365 days a year. Seasons get longer every year, the games get longer every year. The media coverage gets more anal every year see the NFL draft coverage and" bracketology"
2 May 04
In response to the overkill with sport that Ken brought up, England is getting just as bad. My main gripe is the amount of sport shown in pubs. I go to my local pub most nights for a few beers and every night in the bar there's some goddamned soccer match on. ( One night there was even a Spanish game on with the commentary in Spanish on satellite television that the sports bores demanded stayed on.) Going back 15 years, before the evil that is dedicated sports television was invented, an English pub always had a jukebox in the bar. I notice, with the rise of sports television stations, jukeboxes have largely disappeared to be replaced by some monster sized television showing sport, usually soccer or rugby. Gone are the days in many pubs when the jukebox or a radio playing Radio 1- the BBC's pop station- behind the bar provided the entertainment. If you're unlucky enough to go to a pub that only has a single bar- many in England have a lounge and a sports bar- then forget any attempt at a decent conversation as the goddamned 36 inch television will be showing 22 millionaires kicking a bag of wind between two nets for 95 minutes with the volume turned up.
Satellite( similar to cable in America) television has ruined the traditional English pub. Although some pub chains such as Wetherspoons have no televisions, too many have succumbed to the temptation of removing the traditional features such as the jukebox and the pool ball table in favour of some massive and very loud television blaring out team sports. Pubs, which once advertised the fact they had a beer garden and sold hot pies, now advertise the big games they are showing. After all, sports bores are quite numerous and have a habit of drinking more beer to psyche themselves up during the big game, or possibly to remove the boredom as the game goes on and no one scores. Usually the heavy consumption of beer is accompanied by pathetic chanting about the opposing players' sexual orientation and, if the England team is playing, an outpouring of nationalist and homophobic abuse if this not very successful team are losing. Personally the rise of dedicated sports television has led to the destruction of many traditional pubs and turned them into hell holes dedicated to the obscene world of modern team sports.
I would love to turn the clock back to the eighties when televisions were rarely seen in British pubs, though, of course, televised sport was a lot rarer then, and the main entertainments were the jukebox- the video models were the Cadillac Fleetwoods of English pubs- or the pub stereo playing , not too loudly, in the background. Going back to, say, 1987 conversations in pubs were far less dominated by soccer- the game itself was far less hyped- and subjects that often came up were music, films, sex( well I was 19 then lol), politics, which could always prove an interesting thing as Britain was enjoying a love hate relationship with Margaret Thatcher and fashion. I blame the rise of satellite sports channels for ruining many traditional aspects of British pub culture.
Glenn, in a nostalgic mood today.
9 May 04
Just saw in my hometown paper that my high school, which opened in the 50's, is in need of 2 million dollars worth of repairs. Probably have to wait or won't happen at all. Meanwhile the towns MINOR league baseball team is opening their brand new state of the art stadium this season replacing the old one which is maybe 20 years old. What gets me is the same jokers who vote NO on tax increases for public schools are probably the same jokers who would bid for autographed sports memorabilia on Ebay.
It's one thing when the town basketball team gets front page coverage for winning state and the forensics team gets a small mention on the back pages for winning whatever but I would have less problems with sports if they did one thing: GIVE BACK. That means that when the Goverment gives Joe Billionare team owner a sweetheart deal for a stadium, tax breaks out the wazzoo (and most of the time the owners still keep parking and concessions), Joe Billionare says, hey, teachers get paid less than the guy who does the team laundry and their buildings are falling down. I should maybe, you know, give back to the community and not just to that one in a million kid who can play ball.
The International I hate Sports Club was off-line May - November 04 as we arranged for a new host. We're excited to be back and look forward to hearing from all our friends and to fighting sports --anywhere it raises its ugly head.
Sincerely, all of us at the International I Hate Sports Club
3 Dec 04
Thank God the site that kept me sane against the sports bores is back. I'm just pleased to say I have found a bar in a hotel which does not have a television blasting out sports and where people can have a civilised conversation instead of enduring 22 bores kicking a piece of plastic between two nets for 90 minutes and having to endure the bores who regard ball sports as some kind of new God to be worshipped and non belivers to be crucified. It's such a pleasant change not to have idiots in football shirts and female sports groupies dominating everything.
Actually I know of quite a few non sports fans who gather in this bar where we can talk about cultured things rather than have to endure some beer sodden idiot asking you why you don't like the game and accusing you of being some kind of threat to society for not liking football or rugby, an even more boring variant of football ( soccer in American) which makes gridiron look fun. I'm proud to say drinking in this environment which contains a fair sprinkling of non fans- even the sports fans are more respectful to your opinions than the last bar I drank in- has been a liberation. After all, half the population of Britain has no interest in sports, it's just people are too afraid to speak out against the sport Stalinists.
8 Dec 04
Glenn, you are right. People are too intimidated to speak up. I was on the train the other day and a gang of soccer fans got on and made the ride miserable for everyone. Loud, offensive, cursing, sweaty loud mouths. They were so drunk they could barely stand. The worst thing about it is that it happens pretty frequently. On the street, downtown, on the bus --you can hear their drunken shouting pretty much where ever you go. I wonder who these buffoons think they're impressing. If it was up to me soccer would be illegal. --Jojo
22 Dec 04
Hallo. Congratulations on a worthy endeavor. I wish you the best of luck.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen, --Peter