Saturday, February 23, 2008

casual sports fan

I'm not really a sports fan. I don't read the sports section or watch the talking sports heads. I do enjoy watching football and basketball games, and to a lesser extent other sports, especially when I have a connection to one of the teams and my team has a chance of winning. But it's not my preferred form of entertainment, and all in all I'd rather read a paperback or play computer games or just read blogs.

Still, there have been periods when I followed particular teams such as the early to mid John-Elway Broncos (stopped watching them after the third Super Bowl loss) and of course the Arizona Wildcats. I could name all the key players from about 1985 to 2000 and would recognize the name of nearly every one of the top eight or nine from that period. But you don't see many Arizona games out here in the San Francisco Bay even though it's a PAC-10 area, so I've lost touch.

The point of all this is that I don't really know what to say when when someone asks if I'm a sports fan. I'm not a sports fan in the usual sense, but the right answer depends on why they are asking. If they are going to ask if I want to come over and watch the Arizona/Stanford game, then hell, yes, I'm a sports fan. If they want to talk about the latest NFL draft, then not so much. So, in my usual socially-awkward analytical manner, I split the difference, "I'm sort of a casual sports fan, why?"

Last night it came home to me just how out of touch I am when I caught a Phoenix Suns game last night. The Suns are my home-town team and they were beating up on the Celtics, which is why I stopped to watch the game. After a few minutes, I saw a jersey on a big guy named O'Neal. Holy crap, Shaquille O'Neal is playing for the Phoenix Suns and I had no idea.

Will this be enough to to overcome my age-old animosity to the Shaq? Probably not. I haven't liked Shaquille O'Neal since sometime around 1990 when LSU with the Shaq beat Arizona and the tri towers (Sean Rooks, Brian Williams and another 7-footer whose name I don't recall) on what looked like pretty uneven officiating. The refs just wouldn't call fouls on the Shaq in the second half because he was in foul trouble. It was so bad that Lute Olson, who never criticized the officiating said after the game (I quote from 18-year-old memory) "in the second half, Shaquille O'Neal could have come out with a chain saw and a sledge hammer and they would have called a jump ball".

Still, it's nice to see the Suns with a dominating center.