I don’t spend a lot of time watching sports.
This is not an entirely new development; it’s been a gradual decline over the past five or six years or so. And over the last two years or so, my live sports consumption has dwindled to almost nothing.
There are a few reasons for this trend. The most significant, of course, is that I just don’t have as much time as I used to. Between a full time job and two part time jobs, plus actually wanting to spend some quality time with my wife and son, it’s not easy to carve out a three hour block (at least) to watch a game start to finish. I’m pretty sure the last game I tried watch from the beginning was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals and we all remember how that turned out. I barely even watch highlights anymore, although that has a lot to do with my disappointment in what Sportscenter has become, as opposed to just not having the time.
It does get hard sometimes to stay passionate about my teams, even though my loyalties have been set since I was a child. There is only so much information you can get about a team from reading articles and listening to podcasts. To really feel connected, you need to be watching the games. Even fantasy leagues only take me so far; there’s a big difference between watching your quarterback throw seven touchdowns – four of which to your number one wide receiver1 – as opposed to constantly clicking “refresh” on the box score on your phone. The fantasy teams keep me involved in terms of paying attention to the league and staying informed, even if I’m not watching, but the feeling of really understanding the circumstances surrounding my team just isn’t there.
That being said, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much right now anyway. I have so little time at my disposal to spend with Eitan as it is, so I wouldn’t want to spend it sitting in front of the television. Plus, even if I tried, he’s 16 months old; he doesn’t care about sports yet. He’d rather tear the cable wire out of the wall or point out every single bus that drives by or take every book off the shelf or move the furniture around than sit and watch grown men yelling, grunting and fighting over a leather-bound ball. If I were to sit down to watch a game, I’d feel like I was missing something.
I know that a day will come when he and I will be able to sit and watch a game. We’ll be able to talk about Da Bears, both the heroes from 1985, like Sweetness, Ditka, Jim McMahon and the Fridge, and from more recent teams, like Urlacher, Briggs, Forte and Cutler.2 He’ll be able to quote the famous Saturday Night Live sketch that gave me the name of many of my fantasy teams, Hurricane Ditka. By then, maybe the Bears will actually have been able to win another championship.
Or maybe I’ll just have to teach Eitan the Super Bowl Shuffle and be satisfied with that.