Becoming a Fanatic

football I’ve gotten some questions lately about my newfound interest in sports.

It makes sense. I went from thinking that the Yankees might have a shot at the Superbowl and wondering how many quarters were in a basketball game (I’ve never been good at math) to posting status updates about a range of sports, and even using the right words.

Like many of my favorite things in life: yoga, french press coffee, Harry Potter, Over the Rhine, Orvieto...I started in because of a boy.

I’ve started liking a lot of things because of boys over the years. The list of things I did during the relationship is always a lot longer. But eventually, after it’s over, I move on, delete some of the music off my computer and only a few things stick.

Sports has stuck.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that millions upon millions of people watch, follow, talk about and play sports.

What was I missing?

To me, it was all confusing, and often seemed trivial. So I put my mind to this puzzle. I did what I always do when I want to know something: I read about it, talked about it, watched people, observed. I checked out The Smart Girl’s Guide to Sports from the library. I watched sports movies. I tailgated.

I found there, in the world of sports, a community that rivals that of most churches I’ve been in. I’d be walking in some of my newly acquired sports gear and people would shout at me on the street, raising their hands in greeting. All of a sudden, I was part of the club, I belonged.

People I’d known for ages would light up when I started talking about their team. I would have conversations with strangers at yard sales, grocery stores and church lobbies.

I started with one team, a local college football team. But I couldn’t stop there. I adopted our local hockey team because I quickly found that while I could watch almost any sport and enjoy it if I cared about one of the teams, I would enjoy watching hockey no matter who was playing. There is something, for me, about the graceful, quiet movements juxtaposed with violent fighting.


I added Notre Dame when I learned the story about Manti Te'o, and grieved when I found out that half the story hadn’t been true.

I added the Ravens when I realized that Michael Oher from The Blind Side was on the team and the Washington Capitals when the NHL came out of their lockout.

As our local college basketball team rose in the ranks, I began to follow them (in spite of how squeaky basketball is, which is something I’m working through)

All of a sudden, I belong all over the place.

Somehow, it doesn’t matter if my teams wins or loses. They are my team, pure and simple, and their fans are my people, even if we have nothing else in common.

Also, baseball season is upon us, so I’m looking for a new team to go with my little hometown one. Any suggestions?


(all pictures were taken by me, just in case you were wondering)