The Curious Case of the Sports Agnostic: Some Guys Just Don’t Care About Sports and They’re Okay with That

Religion and sports are alike in that while they both consist of plenty of true followers (the sincerely devoted), they have their fair share of agnostics (the apathetic yet open-minded) and naturally, some atheists (the passionately opposed).

I was born into a family where sports, for all practical purposes, simply did not exist.  We never talked about them, never watched them, and really, never played them.  Of course there was my 2nd grade year playing baseball- turns out, I was pretty decent.  And my 5th and 6th grade years of basketball- not so decent. There was no lofty moral issue we had against sports; it’s just that virtually no one on either side of my family gave them any thought.  Except my Uncle Al.

My mom’s brother Al has always been a huge University of Alabama football team fan- for every year of my childhood, thanks to him, I never was without several Alabama t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, and whatever else kind of proper memorabilia I would need as a kid growing up in the state of Alabama, where deciding your allegiance to either the University of Alabama or Auburn was only second to whether or not you had accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Even now, on the front license plate holder of my Honda Element, I have a University of Alabama fan plate.  Beyond knowing the coach’s name (Nick Saban; easy name to remember since it’s so similar to mine), I can’t tell you much about the team in recent years other than last year was good for them, as was 1992, and that Bear Bryant died in 1983, less than a month after he retired.  But I am an Alabama fan, as opposed to Auburn.  And even if I’m their worst fan ever, I’m still a fan.  But that is the extent of my affiliation with anything in the world of sports.

There’s no way around it: I’m weird for being a guy who doesn’t care about sports.  Guys are clearly supposed to care about sports.  Throughout my whole life, I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m missing out.  That all those Saturday afternoons and Monday nights when I’m spending my time and efforts doing anything else, I should be in front of the TV watching the game.  And that for all the games I miss, I should if nothing else, check the scores online to have something to talk about with other guys the next day.

That despite the fact that team players are traded every season, I myself should stay loyal to certain teams.  Despite the fact that sports stars are multimillionaires while school teachers often make less $40,000 a year, I should still worship sports figures.  And though the outcome of each game and each season doesn’t actually affect reality, it does in the minds of sports fans, so therefore it should matter in my mind.

My apathy towards sports has a lot to do with the fact in my mind, sports aren’t logical.  I do see how sports feed that human instinct to replicate war in some way when we ourselves aren’t actually fighting, similar to how most young wild animals “play fight” to prepare each other to eventually kill for food and defend themselves and/or family members.   But I can’t see how or why sports should be relevant or important in my life to the degree that they are for so many people.  Clearly though, I’m the odd man out here.  And clearly, it’s my view of sports, not sports themselves, that is irrelevant.

I am a sports agnostic, not a sports atheist.  In other words, I’m cool about it.  I just know that people have fun playing and watching sports, so I respect that.  I’m still invited to Super Bowl Parties- because despite not knowing the rules of football, I can still have a good time with people who are having a good time, no matter what they’re doing.  And who knows, maybe in the back of their minds, sports fans hope to convert me once I finally see what I’m missing.  Maybe one day I will finally “get it”.

I have been asked since my first year of high school why it is that I can name any celebrity’s height or ethnicity, what year any song or movie came out, or why I have such a vivid memories of trivial conversations and events that no one else would ever care to remember.  Here’s why:  Most men occupy a good amount of their passion and their memories to sports.  I don’t.  I have to fill it with something.  My passion is writing, and those odd details and stories are the magic stuff of what I write.  If I cared about sports, this website wouldn’t exist, and you would have spent the last couple of minutes doing something else, instead of reading this.  Like watching sports.

People Watching in Nashville Traffic

Practice makes perfect.

Picture of the actual event. See the trumpet?

I am absolutely a “people watcher”, always ready to spot slightly strange behavior from the strangers around me.  Pay dirt.  Yesterday as I was driving home from work, I couldn’t help but notice (whether I was “people watching” or not) that during the red light, the man in the car in front of me pulled out a trumpet and played it until the light turned green again. 

This happened for the remaining five or six traffic lights we shared until I turned the other way to get to my house.  Each time the light turned right, he immediately pulled out his horn.  It didn’t take long for others to notice what he was doing.  Laughing to themselves as they witnessed the random happening.

Was he just trying to squeeze in some extra practice time for an upcoming gig?  Or a recital?  The man was at least 30 years old. 

Or maybe he just really has a passion for music?  After all, this is Music City.

For another humorous  social observation in Nashville, read Operation: Mustache (A Social Experiment).

Food Fast Companies Use Red And Yellow In Their Logos

Sometimes as an elementary school kid I would just simply luck out. An announcement would come over the brown loudspeaker in class to announce that in the afternoon in the auditorium we would be having a Snake Show. Maybe this is just a northern Alabama thing, I don’t know. But what I do know is the entire school got to skip Social Studies once a year to see The Snake Man share his crazy collection of snakes onstage.

Cobras, water moccasins, racers, and even a giant anaconda which he let a group of volunteers hold in a group effort. Every once in a while, he would purposely (“accidently”) let a snake slither off the display table onto the stage of the floor. And whenever that happened, a piercing scream filled the non air conditioned room as many of the girls (and boys) yelled in terror at the top of their lungs.

The Snake Man defined what it meant to have a backwoods country Southern accent, like the kind State Troopers have in Virginia. He had these old fashioned jokes that he thought were hilarious. And by the 4th grade, I had memorized his routine. When he pulled out the albino rattlesnake, he would always say: “The reason this snake is white is because of lack of pigment in his genes. Now I don’t mean blue jeans…” At the end of the show, he gave us all some tips on how to know which snakes were poisonous and which were not. And I will never forget this:

“Red and black, you can pet his back. Red and yella, will kill a fella.”

After the days of Snake Shows were done, I was part of DECA, a Marketing class and club in high school. I loved it. I was actually good at it. We had competitions and got to travel. In the class I learned some neat behind-the-scenes stuff about advertising. One of the things was this: Fast food restaurants usually only use two colors for their signs: Red and yellow.

A quick Wikipedia search of some of the meanings of these colors is interesting. Red: exit, energy, passion, love. Yellow: Slow, fun, happiness, friendship, hope. A person is driving along, sees the red and yellow sign, and subconsciously thinks, “I need to SLOW down and EXIT here, because I have a PASSIONATE LOVE for that food. It brings me HAPPINESS and HOPE, not to mention ENERGY. And Ronald McDonald is my FRIEND.”

It’s hard to find an exception to the red and yellow fast food sign rule. McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardees (Carl’s Jr.), Krystal, Sonic, In-N-Out Burger, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Wendy’s, Popeye’s, Pizza Hut, Bojangle’s. A Google image search will cease any doubts.

Red and yella will kill a fella. Applies to snakes and food.