There are times when I feel really sorry for my neighbors. This is despite my downstairs neighbors’ baby screaming like he’s on fire for 20 minutes at a time while his stay-at-home-without-a-car dad mocks him and sings tunelessly (including “Do, A Deer” from The Sound of Music, for which the irony of a tuneless voice is just too much for a music lover like me to bear). I feel sorry for my neighbors despite my loosely Buddhist next-door neighbor playing tribal chants and inviting a random group of hippies over on a quasi-regular basis to “jam” on bongos and cereal-box guitars, leaving a heaping pile of smelly hippie footwear in the hallway because the neighbor does not allow shoes in her home.
I feel sorry for my neighbors because I yell at my television.
I am writing this entry while watching the Butler Bulldogs play the UConn Huskies for the NCAA men’s championship title. (It is to my tremendous advantage that I am a good typist and can type and watch basketball at the same time. For example, I have typed this entire paragraph so far without once looking at the laptop.) I do not have a vested interest in this game, really. My alma mater never makes it to the tournament, because they are Division III and they are awful. But I did spend a fair amount of time on Butler’s campus as a kid, so it does have a special place in my heart, and therefore, I am pulling for them despite the fact that their shooting tonight is atrocious and why won’t they just drive to the basket already and stop turning around and passing the ball back out to set up for a three they’re not going to get?! Drive, draw the foul, and let’s go!
As the clock runs out on this game and I accept the fact that UConn is going to win and once again the charm of the Cinderella stories in the NCAA falls to the WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THAT WAS SLOPPY! 20 SECONDS IN THE GAME AND YOU’RE PULLING THAT CRAP?! relative royalty of a UConn or a Kentucky or a Duke, I realize that not only do I yell at the television, but I tend to do it at ridiculous hours of the night. Presently, it is 11:15pm.
Basketball, however, is not my sport of choice for which to pontificate at the idiot box. That would be football. On any given Sunday from September to hopefully at least January, you can find me yelling at my COME ON GUYS, YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS! lifelong favorite football team, whose name rhymes with Beagles and whose quarterback did time for abusing dogs. What? I didn’t sign him. I’m still pissed they traded the Other Guy Who Was the Face Of the Franchise For A Decade to that God-Awful Team In the Same Freaking DIVISION.
I am not a manly woman. But I am a competitive woman. I do not have any older brothers. No brothers at all, in fact. What I do have is a sports-minded dad with whom Sundays were father-daughter bonding time, and that meant Dad and his girls watched football together.
Mom somehow has managed not to even learn how downs work.
Thirty-six years, she’s married to my father. No idea how downs work.
How is that possible?
I, myself, am not an athlete. I played baseball from age 5 to 10. It wasn’t because I liked baseball. It was because I thought all kids had to play, like it was some sort of mandate. I stood in left field or center field during co-ed t-ball or slow-pitch or no-strikeout games, bored completely out of my mind. There is a story about how, when I was 6 and playing center field, a ball actually somehow made its way to my position, and when it rolled to a halt in front of me, I just stared at it while even my mother yelled “PICK IT UP!” It is therefore no surprise that baseball is my least favorite of the major televised sports. I played kickball from 5th through 8th grade because, where I lived, kickball was a real sport, played on asphalt, with a ball like a soccer ball, and there was a competitive league (girls only). I played volleyball in middle school and was a pretty decent spiker, but couldn’t serve overhand. I’m blessed with a lot of talents and abilities, but athletic performance ain’t one of ’em.
Eighteen percent for the game, Butler?! Horrible field goal shooting. Horrible! My grandmothers are better than that, and they’re 4’11” and 5’2″, and dead!
I played basketball for one very bad, very embarrassing season when I was in fourth grade, and during which I guarded on offense. But in my defense, I fractured my wrist at a skating party at the beginning of the season and couldn’t practice. But I still went to practice, sat in the bleachers and watched my team. Because that’s the way I roll. Our first game was the day after I got the cast off my arm. I played.
So, even though I’m bad at sports performance, I’m an excellent… um… athletic supporter.
And I yell at the television.
At the moment, I’m actually doing something more akin to grumbling. “One Shining Moment” is a terrible song, and it really doesn’t matter who sings it.
My sisters yell at the television, too, and two of the three yell equally at basketball and football. At this point, when we’re all together, my father sits and watches us and muses about having created monsters. We aren’t obnoxious unless we’re among family. I personally own zero jerseys and only one team t-shirt, which was actually a gift. I don’t even talk trash, because I’m so used to my team snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the dwindling minutes of the match-up. So I’m not one of those sports fans everybody hates.
But I am a fan. And I am passionate. And I will be very, very sad if the NFL is still in a work stoppage in the fall.
My neighbors probably won’t be, though.