26 February 2011

Getting Excited About Sports

This one is not about my own motivations in consuming sports, usually centred more on the players, sometimes on the action and rarely on the results. No, this is my chance to recount a couple of my funnier memories from my childhood involving sports. Not participating in them of course — nothing funny about my level of athleticism, at least not for me — but seeing how excited some people can get watching them.

When we used to go visit my grandparents when I was young, Grandpa would often be watching two televisions: one with the hockey game and one with professional wrestling (not the delightful Olympic-style wrestling pictured above). He got very involved in the two of them, twitching and calling out for each good play and each throw and pin. My Mum told us stories about visits when we were younger, and Grandma would have to remind him that he was holding the baby so he wouldn’t get too carried away.

My brother had another weakness: football. We used to try to get him to yell less loudly at the touchdowns, even making him run outside onto the front porch to do his yelling on occasion. The funny part is that he did it! I have that mix of annoyance at the yelling with the amusement of his containing his excitement for several seconds as he ran for the door to the place where he could shout his exuberance to the whole neighbourhood. Oh, let’s face it — our town was not that big, so I’m sure everyone heard him.

I still find that those memories bring me a smile, not for the amusement, but for how endearing I found the extreme emotion related to something over which they had no control or influence.

I’m finding the same mix of annoyed, amused and endeared with the guy who does the sports recaps on the CBC News Network. The sports recaps are delivered like live clips from the moment of the excitement, right down to the tone of voice and the pace of the delivery. I started out thinking ‘Who is this guy and why is he yelling about a game that’s over?’ but I have ended up having that little smile as a flood of memories of those endearing moments from my youth come flooding back.

In the end, it’s nice to bear witness to someone doing a job with such gusto and such engagement.


QueerMontrealBlog said...

I could never understand the yelling. I can't even follow a hockey game, so I never expect it when someone screams. Makes me jump out of my skin.
Such beasts you chose to illustrate your story! The blue speedos are practically falling off! Do you think the men get hard with excitement? The 2 on the right are so massive! Yow! Shall we go to a game, Ken?

Ken Monteith said...

We'll go to the very next water polo game in town! That way, we can research the other question...

Greer said...

This is a beautiful piece of writing that reminds me of the shared joys of watching basketball and hockey in Montreal. Here, soccer rules and generates the same intense feelings and loud noise. I think it comes from the same impulse as any catharsis - but I am always intrigued as to why anybody supports a team and identifies with it so intensely. Possibly, it's from the same place that makes me obsessive about movies! Thanks for a great blog post, Ken.

Ken Monteith said...

Ah, there he is... The CBC Sports guy's name is Lance Winn. He's doing a fabulous job.