Letters 2020

24 October 2020

Subject: I'm back

After reading the letters from several years ago, I noticed the letter writings slowed down quite a bit. Only two letters were written here in 2020, and the last one was back in April.

Well, I’ll start one now.

I often hear talk about how sports in high school “prepares you for competition later in life” as in business, etc. I and others did pretty well at our jobs without having to participate in sports. I remember a co-worker a couple of decades back who is Citadel alumnus. He’d brag about the privileges he had just for being on the football team. He was a freshman and did not have to walk in the gutters with the rest of the underclassmen. (Well, whoop-ti-do!). There were other privileges (I don’t remember what) along with upperclassmen as well. Yeah, he was a good employee, yet he need not brag and act uppity only because was a college athlete. Talking business with him was OK, but I ignored his boasting as an athlete.

Don E

19 April 2020

Subject: These are the best of times for anti-sports fans

Article by Michael Antonoff

For non-sports fans like me, these are the best of times. On TV there are no games running overtime cutting programs recorded afterward short. There is no baseball pre-game show preempting the simulcast of the TV network news in a kitchen with only a radio.

I commiserate with cable subscribers paying a fortune for games they’ll never see. If you have the option, now’s the time to switch to a non-sports channel lineup like I did.

Not only has sports talk stopped dominating the conversations of male colleagues, but I’m no longer angered by the incessant use of the royal “we” as in “we did it” to describe the victory of a hometown team. What, exactly, did “we” do except jump off the sofa and scream between bites of Doritos and swigs of Budweiser? Nor am I no longer stupefied when someone asks, “How `bout `dem Giants?”

All these years I’ve held back demanding to know whether the person asking had a life apart from watching sports. Now that they had to put their lives on hold while March Madness was suspended, I feel much better.

So, guy, you have nothing to watch on ESPN? Finally, you feel like I felt for all those decades in which I had to pay a sports tax on my cable bill for channels I never watched or forced to subscribe to “basic” sports channels in order to get other channels I actually wanted.

In the world of the non-sports enthusiast, a draft is where you don’t want to sit in a restaurant, if you could. Diehards who root for a losing team year after year are deemed insane. And the sports section is something you insert as a backboard in a trashcan to catch toenails as you cut them.

It’s not that I resent sports fans. (And it has nothing to do with the fact that girls were picked before me for elementary school teams.) I’m sure that watching sports all the time plays a balanced part in your very full life.

So while you ponder classic rivalries between, for example, the Yanks and the Red Sox, and re-watch games of yore because new games aren’t being broadcast, I’ll sip my Coke Zero, not a Diet Pepsi, and wonder: “What’s it all about, Satchel?”

My alumni friends used to chant “Let’s go, awring. Let’s go, awring” (rhymes with “cringe”) and thump their feet ad nauseum, but in these pandemic times there’s no one to cheer for except the medical personnel putting their lives on the line, and I don’t mean the one-yard line. These heroes are putting things in perspective.

I live near a major highway that used to be bumper to bumper. I’d have to be awake in the middle of the night to hear a single car or motorcycle speed by. Now, that happens all the time. It’s as if urban water pressure has returned to normal instead of people flushing all at once during a commercial break during the big game.

Office pools that solicited us to choose winners in advance of the season have turned to picking a week in the future when everything returns to normal. (Pools predicting the year a certain celebrity will die are too gloomy to ponder now that 2020 has the edge.) We dream about when our boredom ends, and we’ll be able to shop for clothes or furniture again, visit the gym or get a haircut.

Despite my sports bashing, I have no problem quoting a philosopher like Yogi Berra. Asked to pick a date when all this ends, he’d probably say, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” In a stay-at-home world in which Monday feels like Sunday and everyone feels retired, he also might muse: “This is like déjà vu all over again.”

In the world of non-sports awareness, nothing has changed. This is the first season that sports fans and non-sports fans alike have been dealt the same hand. I won’t be so cavalier as to tell sports mavens to get over it as they take a rain check on MLB games. But I will remind them that watching adults chase a ball seems so distant, so irrelevant in the world we now occupy.

I get no pleasure from my sports-oriented friends being denied their raison d’être. Okay. Maybe just a little.


18 March 2020

Subject: Sports nuts surcharge

My husband and myself do not in any way enjoy watching sports. We figure when we see stadiums filled with the “Likers”, they would, without question, pay a few extra bucks or many extra to enter the game. This money could be used for a multitude of purposes. Paying down the National debt perhaps, cancer research, homeless animals. We always laugh when seeing somebody in some ratty vehicle with all manner of team insignias – wondering if players cars have stickers touting “The Smith Family”. These players are paid outrageous sums of money to play a stinking game. And wasting valuable weekend time to go to some kids sporting event- yucko! Anyway, I’m preaching to the choir. Nice to not be alone. Once told my boss, “Please don’t make me go to a Cubs game, it would be like him going to a crochet class”. Somebody had to stay and answer the phones, in a nice A/C office, yeah you all go and enjoy – Barf!