Monday, July 25, 2005

Me and Sports (yeah, right)

I was never good at sports. I never particularly enjoyed watching sports either. When I didn't have to play or watch any more, I never looked back. Although this sometimes puts me at a social disadvantage when people are talking about "the game", I think I can handle it.

But I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to review some various sports and my relationship with them:

  • Baseball: My family was always very into baseball. My grandmother started going to Red Sox games in 1925, and is still a huge fan. One story was how a neighbor heard her yelling and cursing and thought my grandfather was beating her. It turned out that he wasn't even home - she was yelling at a game on TV! My uncle loved baseball so much he ended up the president of a minor league baseball team. And in high school, my father used to bring home major league baseball players to play stickball with him and his friends.

    What about me? Well, I "had" to play little league. I was terrible. I think the experience is best described by one of my favorite comedians, Brian Regan:
    Lousy in Little League
  • Basketball: This sport I actually enjoyed playing a bit as a kid, even though I wasn't any good. But again, my family had a better connection than me. My father, for example, went to the same university as Julius Erving "Dr. J" - and they even played ball together.
  • Football: While I'm sure I must have, I don't remember ever really playing football. But it was an important game to watch. I remember being very bored on Sundays watching my family watch football. (Although the commercials on the Superbowl were fun). One big difference between football and baseball/basketball was that it was relatively easy to get tickets to the later in San Francisco, and almost impossible to the former. The only game I ever went to was a 49ers championship game, with 50 yard line seats. My father only needed to trade 2 airplane tickets to Hawaii...
  • Soccer: Boring. No interest in following it at all here. First of all it doesn't seem to have seasons - somehow it goes on all year round. And it reminds me of garinim (sunflower seeds) - way too much effort for such few results.
  • Hockey: I never played ice hockey. (Can't skate.) Floor hockey was fun in 6th grade, but haven't played since. But one game, although it's difficult to call it a sport, that I do like - air hockey. I'm actually not bad, and love to play it whenever I get a chance. Maybe some day I'll have a table at home...
  • Wrestling: This is the family sport. There was a saying in my family "Girls play volleyball, boys play football, men wrestle." My father, and brothers all wrestled in school, and my cousin nearly went to the Olympics. I never followed through like them, except for one day in high school when I thought of joining the team. Then I realized how much work was actually needed to prepare, and that ended as fast as it started.
  • Boxing: My grandfather was a boxer in the 1920s. At the time it was a very Jewish sport. He was called "Killer Cohen". But his career didn't last long. Mine was even shorter. For some crazy reason, in 5th or 6th grade, we were allowed to box, in the locker room, under the auspices of the gym teacher. I had a rival, we boxed (with no training), my head hit the wall, and I passed out. Never took that up again...
  • Volleyball: Nothing much to add here except that when I first came to Israel, I couldn't figure out why Israelis play it with their nose (if you know the Hebrew word for it, you'll understand)
  • Athletics: We had decathlon every year in 5th and 6th grades. I got hit in the teeth by a discus. Still have the marks on my teeth.
  • Golf: My brother loves golf. The closest I ever came was when we learned it in high school (it used to drive the soccer team crazy, since we practiced on their field) and miniature golf - which I'm not very good at, but have occasionally had rather good luck.