If you’re reading this blog and it’s after one o’clock in the afternoon I’m probably (if the weather held) watching the Phillies, eating a hot dog and drinking a beer. Then another beer. Okay, one last beer…
Growing up I was never a baseball fan. In my house it was football and oddly golf. I know they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum but if you think about it all the major events in those sports happen on Sunday. Sunday was sports day in my house according to my dad. So whether it was the final round of a major or game day we always had something to watch summer through fall.
Then deciding it was time to adopt a team from my home base city (I’m a Giants football fan.) I gave baseball a try. In fairness I also gave basketball and even more so hockey a try. Hockey players are manly and buff and hit things… so I was like yumm.
But basketball and hockey moved too fast for me. I know others complain that baseball, golf and sometimes even football with it’s stops and starts move too slow.
So as I was watching a baseball game – on TV no less - I was thinking why it is that I took to the sport so easily where hockey and basketball couldn’t hold my attention for a full half or period…even with all the hot guys.
I realized it all had to do with writing.
What? Writing? Sports? Impossible you say. They can’t be linked. I say yes!
What I realized is that in many ways sports is just one big reality TV show for me. It’s not just the athletic achievement or prowess. It’s not just hoping my team kicks the other team’s ass (although it’s part that). It’s the drama. It’s the back stories. It’s the rivalries. It’s the sense that I don’t know what’s going to happen next and I love being on the edge of my seat.
And when I look at the sports I gravitate to, I realize that in those sports there is a sense of build up. The moment, that big-time-stop-everything moment where you hold your breath waiting for the outcome, takes time. In golf it’s the putt. The player reads it, studies it, stands over it… wait for it, wait for it…. Success! Or failure. In football it’s the play. The huddle with the team, the call, the snap count, the roll out and then… success or failure.
In baseball it’s the pitch. It’s the build up of the count until that one moment where there is only one swing of the bat or one pitch left to win or end a game.
With baseball and hockey, you can blink and someone has scored. Blink again, another score. Now I know fans of both sports might protest and really it’s not a competition. The great thing about sports is that there are so many. Maybe you’re a soccer fan. Or a tennis fan… who knows.
I only that for me I need that big slow dramatic build up. I want to move inexorably to some point and then I want a big explosion of drama at the end… just like I want with books.