Thoughts on the College Basketball Phenomenon:
It’s not that I am not into sports. That’s not it. I love plenty of adventure sports – and running. And It’s not even that I am not into watching sports. Its just that watching sports on television doesn’t control me the way it seems to control 85% of the male population I find myself interacting with (some % of females too.) I enjoy competitive basketball. I love watching UVA play. I will yell at the tv every now and then too. But this weekend, I will not be checking espn.com every hour or turning on the tv to check out the scores. What is it about me that makes me so different?
Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t alienate myself. I hate to be that guy who is not into watching sports, who doesn’t know any of the players names, or who is going to the sweet sixteen, or even who won the tournament from last year. But I am that guy. I don’t know any of that trivia. I might walk in for some of the final four. I’ll probably catch the second half of the championship game.
I didn’t fill out a bracket this year because, while I care about how UVA did in the tournament, I just didn’t care about the rest of it. I guess since I won my high school’s pool in eleventh grade, I know
that I will likely never win it again. My chances are gone. It’s lost its luster. And since I won’t be winning, my only motivation to fill out a bracket is so I can try to be culturally relevant. If I fill out a bracket, its only because I want to incorporate myself into all of this march madness culture. I don’t like being on the outskirts, but without any peer pressure and without all of the talk, I would choose to be. I just don’t care. I would much rather go outside this weekend and enjoy nature or read a book or spend quality time with the people I care about.
I’m sure if I had filled out a bracket, then I would want to watch all of the games and get constant updates. But I didn’t. So I don’t.
My question: should people take steps to realize that they are very dependent on and very controlled by the competitive American sports phenomenon – so much so that they ignore real beauty and real issues going on around them? For some, even realizing that it is an idol they place before the lord?
Should countercultural people like me go out of their way to include themselves in the phenomenon, to try to get wrapped up, or at least participate in things that they are not naturally inclined to enjoy?
I mean, can someone give me an intellectual defense of why the tournament is so great? Why should it matter that the state of washington or nevada or states that are no where near me are going to the final four? I guess if you actually play basketball, then it comes to life for you, the way watching concerts comes alive to me. If you are passionate about sports, I suppose you will love the tournament. I am passionate about music, so I love watching bands perform live on talk shows or live concerts etc. But I am not passionate about basketball. My team lost. The tournament does little for me.
Is that bad?