Sports and I never got along
Back in the day, if a person couldn’t move or think quickly, he’d die. He’d be eaten, fall off a cliff, whatever.
So, most people are born with levels of coordination. They can move their hands, feet and think their bodies into patterns of motion. These patterns may have been useful for taking down large animals or arranging ourselves in masses of force to be brought against other people, but eventually, they became cultural games we call “sports.”
Now “for sport” used to surround activities mirrored from hunting/fighting. Archery competitions were just like hunting or war, but were “for sport.” Hunting itself eventually became “for sport” as food was available in ample supplies through agriculture.
Check out the very early days of the Samurai (before the Sengoku period). Battles were won/lost based on contests of skill, not on numbers of men on the field. Even when troops would gather, it would be to support their champions as they competed in sports. One athlete would win and that would be in the end of the battle. Of course that only lasted so long. Eventually “might makes right” trumped honoring the outcome of some contest, and Sengoku Jidai began. But for a while, sport was the ultimate showdown—shaped the fate of thousands and all that crap.
Our games like football, soccer, basketball, etc. are also games of sport. Maybe they are based on battlefield tactics, combat or some sort of arena-style events; maybe not. Regardless, those who throw themselves on the altar of sport now do it as a matter of entertainment. It’s not needed, it’s wanted.
Moreover, those who watch sports do so because they like it. It’s no longer in an attempt to admire the best fighter/shooter/horse rider. It is to admire, sure—but now for the icon, the hero of the moment, the champion of *fill in the blank activity*. There are not any direct links to prowess in any usable skill and most sports (master swordsmen may have survived long enough in war to become generals; master horse riders for the same reasons; but football, baseball? For all the billions of dollars and thousands of hours we spend worshiping these men/women, what do we want from them? Role models? Leaders?)
All of that being a big, puffy hot-air attempt to mask the fact that I suck at sports.
I do. I’m no good at them. Basketball, baseball, softball—hell, even kickball; I’m occasionally lucky, but generally terrible. And it’s embarrassing. What seems to come so naturally to thousands of kids is lost on me.
I perhaps could get better, but I am of the very unpopular opinion of not liking them. Whereas in Roman times it was very poor form to dislike races and gladiatorial games, these days, I dislike sports.
Not sure what fuels the dislike. Again, maybe it’s the days of getting pushed around and worn down by the alpha males out there (didn’t have the girth to hold my own in middle/high school). Yet there are plenty of wimpy/out-of-shape fans who also suck at sports and yet have painted faces and spend $1,000s to attend games.
And I don’t think it’s some high-and-mighty detachment—like I’m above it somehow. It’s actually pretty cool that people cherish those awesome moments with their teams. I got to see a really good friend of mine see his lifelong team, the Boston Red Sox, break their curse and beat the Yankees—and later win the World Series back in 2004 (before it was trendy to like the Red Sox). For him, it was this cosmic Zen kind of moment. It was actually pretty sweet watching him watch the games.
But for me? Didn’t feel anything. Sure it was kind of cool seeing the underdog come through, but I didn’t have tears in my eyes. It didn’t strike me that hard.
So I dunno. Am I missing something? Apart from the God-shaped hole in my heart, is there a sports-shaped fissure that also could use some filling? At this point I’m on the fence.
Three parts. Not musical, though.
Part 1: The Absence
Admittedly I had blogs I wrote in my head during these last few weeks. Well, okay, not “written” but had the gist of them hammered out during the work day. I’d get home, often exhausted, and would look at the blank web browser. I’d think, “Should I go to the blog and hack out a few paragraphs?” “Naw,” I’d then think, “I don’t want to get into it.”
“It” being talking about life. “It” being talking about work. There are those from work who read this here blog in ones and twos, to be sure. Not that I had anything bad to say about people—it doesn’t get a person anywhere to bash people outright, especially from under the skirt of the Internet (yes, she’s a lady and she’s sexeh). It’s just the whole conundrum about writing about work. Should I? What else should I write about, then? Work has kind of been most of my life. I don’t have any exciting hobbies. I can only try to play softball (note to self, write post about softball).
What else is there to write about other than work? Social media theory? Ha! I hardly get any chance to read, let alone comment on that sort of stuff now that I’m in corporate America. There’s too many meetings to go to. And, honestly, when I get home, logging in to Google Reader and seeing the 1,200,000+ unread items is depressing. I’ve heard others talk about that. It’s one of those features I think actually dissuades people from using Google Reader. Maybe I should write a note. Like they could flip the feature around and talk about how the two posts I read today was a full 100 percent more (ZOMG w/ exclamation point) than the previous day’s reading. That sort of thing might get me out of bed in the morning in the hopes of getting around to Google Reader right before I get back into bed.
So all that to say, by the time a few days got between me and blogging, the gap sort of fed itself. It was like seeing how long it took for a flickering candle to eventually sputter out, or a car to run out of gas. Ok I don’t do that. Maybe not that example. Or it was like seeing the sun fully slip under the horizon. Better, yes. I watched it, saw the days compound and sort of just let things go.
Pretty bad of me, right? Well, that’s the thing about the Internets, people are jerks.
Part 2: The iPad
So, as an impulse, I bought an iPad a couple of weeks back. Don’t think I did it to prove I was alive or whatever shopaholics claim is the muse for their condition. I just sort of decided to buy one. For me, the build-up was a two day process. I heard how frikkin’ amazing the damn things were from clergy, coworkers and nature itself (Dreamed about an otter using an iPad. That was my sign. Otters, dude. Yeah.). I arrived at work the next day, decided to get one and bought one that evening.
Didn’t make a big production out of it. I didn’t make an announcement. Didn’t update my Facebook status. Didn’t see the need to really call it out. I guess part of that was my embarrassment at claiming I would not get one—that I already had a Kindle, a laptop and a will to live, so an iPad just didn’t do anything for me. And yet, maybe I needed a new type of will to live. Maybe I needed a media consumption “will to live”. I heard an iPad would reinvigorate my love for interacting with rich content—which itself sounds both intriguing and revolting in a “is this where I am in life?” sort of way.
Now, for my remaining two readers’ (hi Mom, Dad!) benefit, iPads are a pretty big deal where I work. We are a company that is absolutely infatuated with hip buzzwords like “innovation”, “synergy”, “thought leaders”. And our hearts are in the right place, but sometimes it’s a bit much. We develop apps for iPhone and iPad like it’s our job…which it is, but regardless, our company has an almost unhealthy love and indirect endorsement for Apple products. iPhones and iPads are handed out to leadership and select managers/leaders like candy. Scores of directors, VPs, AVPs, SVPs, EMGs, DSKWEs, EWKWOIJGDOSDIs and whatever else walk around the building with their issued iPhones, iPads and wax eloquent on how their lives have morphed into living technological haiku, all because of the tech-kensei status bequeathed to them from the very POSSESSION of such implements of awesomeness. The ‘tic tic tic tic’ of iPad keystrokes is a five point palm exploding heart technique on my soul!
So of course I wanted one! JEEEZ!
And it is pretty cool, except for the part where I may not be allowed to use it at work. We’re reeeeeeeeeally sensitive about keeping all corporate things confidential. Not to be confused with military intelligence classification. I have a government clearance. That’s easy breezy. They just hand those out. Doesn’t count. Our policies are moar hardcorez! Nothing can be trusted!
So I may be asked to not ever bring in my personal iPad to work at some point. Which is a bummer, since all the cool leaders and managers and anyone worth a damn have theirs to get ahead in life. The plebes fail.
Part 3: The End
Of the post. Ah, that was cheap, wasn’t it? Okay, scratch that.
New Part 3: The Beginning
As you may or may not know (again, to my readership…Mom, Dad), I was hired at my current gig to be the chief blogger, senior community manager and corporate conversationalist. Fancy words for “Guy who writes, trains and empowers others to participate in social media.” Dunno if all that will come to pass. There’s an awful lot of day-to-day grind stuff that needs doing. And new stuff shows up every day—all that “life” and “news” stuff that bubbles up. So, there’s no real way to get on top of it.
There is hope, though.
There’s an unfilled position for someone to be the “communities and collaboration” leader…which, to those paying attention, sounded exactly like the job I was hired to do. This one will get paid a lot more money, though, so I’m hoping maybe I’ll be under that person? Or maybe I’ll be reassigned? Regardless, one way or the other, I won’t have to fret about not doing the job, because I’ll either be doing it for the person it charge of it or letting someone else do it. There is a third option, to be revealed by God’s providence, but those are the cards I have at the moment. Pocket threes and someone raised before the river. Jerks.
And, as a parting shot, please don’t take the cynicism for unhappiness. That’s just my shtick. I’m cool with whatev. I’m happy not babysitting troops—not worrying they’ll get swindled at pay-day loan spots, not get tossed in the slammer, not piss hot, not lose accountable equipment. I do miss the manager/leader stuff sometimes, and look forward to the day when I can be a leader in the normal world and not have to counsel someone for being the “phantom pooper.” But for the moment, I’m fine with life sans fecal crises.