COMING CLEAN: Becoming a Sports Fan

Autumn Sundays in my house growing up were filled with the sounds of John Madden, cheering crowds and whistles blowing. My dad is an unusually quiet fan — I don’t remember him yelling at the TV — and multiple upsets by his team generally meant he’d throw up his hands and head outside to rake leaves.

I “watched” the game with him, in the sense that I’d lay on the couch, cheer occasionally, then inevitably drift off to sleep for an afternoon nap. We rarely talked about the plays, so I wasn’t completely sure of the calls until I saw my dad’s reaction (which was typically subdued). I learned more about football over the years, watching with dad, listening to the commentary, or through an education from friends and boyfriends. The rules of baseball seemed to make more sense to me, but again, if I were a player on the field, I’d no doubt make a bad move because I wasn’t sure if I should run or stay on the base.

Why am I confessing my sports illiteracy?

Just so we’re clear where I’m coming from: I may work at a health and fitness magazine, but I don’t consider myself an athlete. I didn’t really consider myself “active” until recently. And healthy? Come on! I lived off boxed meals and frozen foods and Chinese takeout up until three years ago.

On Saturdays during Boot Camp, we play games in the park. Sometimes trainer Shane changes up the rules, but we usually mimic football with either a tennis ball, or, more recently, a standard football. Since my recollection of the rules of football are a bit foggy, I’ve had to do some homework and study up with Kyle. I also planned a one-on-one training session with Shane where we could practice T-cone sprints, cuts, and running drills.

Yet, there seemed to be a question lurking in my mind: If I watched sporting events regularly, would the amazing athleticism encourage me to train harder? If I felt some connection to the game, would it inspire me to compete? Really, would becoming a sports fan make me want to be an athlete?

We’re just wrapping up a story on the life lessons behind sports, and I felt myself nodding my head as I read the piece. Playing a sport offers so many important messages outside the game itself — I remember having a lot of confidence during the brief stint I played volleyball in high school. I always wonder what would have happened if I stayed with volleyball: Would I have become a star player? Would I have taken better care of my body over the years?

When you’re training for a specific goal or event, or always need to in the best health to compete, it would make sense that you’d need to eat right, stay fit, and get enough sleep. (Oddly, it never occurred to me that being in my best health still mattered even if my job was sitting in front of a computer instead of running around on a field. Sure, one’s level of fitness can be significantly less when sitting at a desk — it’s the illness that accompanies poor health that’ll get ya.)

So I’m testing this theory this fall, and seeing if watching sports subconsciously pushes me harder in my workouts. What do you think? Does watching athletes perform at their best motivate you during your workouts?

courtney
Me and my ticket to the Colorado Rockies game in Denver. The guy watching me in the background seems to know I’m not a sports buff.

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