This is not the first thing I have written about my contempt for professional sports. Not even close. As far as I know, and please correct me if you know of someone else, I am a lone voice in the Massachusetts media who’s not afraid to say that I think extreme athlete worship is the pinnacle of small-minded stupidity, as well as one of the reasons people don’t pay much attention to things that actually matter.
That’s not to say there aren’t brilliant people who for some odd reason enjoy watching men in tights run up and down fields; however, as one of the few people on earth who absolutely will not entertain a conversation about sports under any circumstances—not about the game you went to, or your friend who made it to the big leagues—I have some tips for the silent minority out there who, like me, won’t be able to name any players on the Patriots after Tom Brady retires.
- Take the loss. In other words, don’t try to win. You’re in a losing battle, so just keep your skepticism to yourself. For example, it might seem crazy to a sports hater that football or college hoops would be able to override “60 Minutes,” which provides Americans with critical long-form investigative reporting on things like war and technology (as well as propaganda on occasion, but that’s another column for another day). Try arguing that news is more important than a big game, however, and you’ll quickly see that it’s like fighting with a Trump supporter, which is to say insanely futile.
- Play sports. That’s right, participate. The number one thing people say when they find out how much I detest spectator sports is that I must be a horrible athlete. They’re not completely wrong, though I do have my athletic moments and can outswim most; nevertheless, that logic is flawed, since the inverse suggests that people who worship jocks are inherently gifted gladiators themselves, and we know that isn’t true. In any case, since Boston is so damn jocktacular, largely thanks to its attractions as a pro sports super city, there are lots of awesome resources to take advantage of, from public parks to beer leagues, all of which are solid mutual turf for fans and non-fans alike.
- Recognize the beast. You may not like the Celtics and the Bruins, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore them, so don’t bother trying. If you consider it your civic duty to stay in tune with issues that impact this city and the people who live and work in it, then you have to keep up on the Sox and such. Starting with Britni de la Cretaz’s article in this week’s news section about racism in Boston sports fan culture.
- Find the good. I know that this can seem impossible, but work with me for a second. For example, I know I’ve said this before, but I really do go food shopping during major sporting events. Markets are empty. On a grander scale, last week our team here at the Dig scheduled our first-ever Comedians in Bars Hosting Trivia, a new series we are sponsoring, during the Red Sox season opener. It was an accident, and seemed like a dumb move when we figured it out, but the program wound up selling out.
Lesson learned: there may not always be enough interesting dinner-time events on game nights, and while I may be an outlier around here, there are at least enough other people who feel the way I do to staff a roomful of trivia teams.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.