It all started on a field looking into the sky not paying attention to what was going on around me. This was my first experience playing sports, I was 4 and oblivious to what this would become in my life over the following years. At first, it was just something my parents wanted me to do to keep me busy I suppose. I’m sure that’s the main reason why everyone starts playing sports. Around 9 or 10, I was hooked. It was not longer something I was doing for my parents, it was something I was begging them to do constantly. It all started with baseball because it was my mom’s favorite sport, when I was old enough it was football. Basketball cam last because my father loved basketball so much my mother told him not to push it on me. I found out about this later on and was upset it turned out to be my favorite sport but that’s another story.
It didn’t just stop with playing sports, I grew up at a turning point in sports culture. Sports were already a dominant force in my life, little did I know what was being created in the northeast called ESPN would completely change the game. I’ve never been so fascinated by a channel in my entire life. Sports 24/7? Yes please. I remember staying up until 2 am watching Aussie rules football. I had no clue what was happening but I didn’t care because I was watching sports. Then came SportsCenter, a show whose only purpose was to replay highlights of the day’s action. I thought I was in heaven. Also around this time Nintendo was huge. The only games I bought were sports games, Techmo Bowl, Double Dribble, RBI Baseball just to name a few. For a solid 7 years of my life, if I wasn’t playing sports outside, I was playing them inside or watching them.
As I got older and my skills diminished, I thought my love of sports would as well. To the contrary it only got stronger. I went to school to study sports marketing and a whole new world opened up. Not only did I care about my favorite players and teams, I now cared about how the sausage was made. This opened up a whole new perspective into how I viewed sports. I know that in order to pay Phillip Rivers $65 million over four years, the fans might have to deal with the kickoff being sponsored by Verizon and a first down being sponsored by Citibank. And because ESPN paid the NFL billion upon billions to show the rights to the games, Phillip Rivers deserves that $65 million. The economics of sports is a whole different topic but one that I find fascinating and only adds to my love.
Another great change that happened was the Internet and social media. In the fall during football season, I’m watching a game on my TV, laptop, and iPad with my phone looking at Twitter. I don’t feel right unless I’m connected and have access to everything going on across the country. I can’t wait to see the latest Swaggy P highlight (or lowlight depending on how you see things) and there is no way I’m going to miss out on Steph Curry catching fire during a meaningless game in February on a Wednesday. To me, all of this information is necessary and I don’t know how I would of handled this at my younger age. I do know my younger self is very jealous, but he didn’t have to work and pay bills, so I say we’re even. Throw in the 15 or so sports podcast I listen to during the week, I would say my sports fandom is as strong as ever and I would have never thought this would be my life 20 years ago. I never wanted to admit this because I think my life as more depth or meaning, but it doesn’t. I’m a sports nerd and I’m not ashamed. There could be worse things to be obsessed with.