Monday, April 2, 2012

Sports, Love, and Fighting

Sports love often expresses itself as wearing the jersey of a favorite team, player, or city. While there are differing opinions on the matter, I recently purchased a few jerseys from a cheap international site (including ones like this) (worked like a charm, highly recommend)  for the upcoming baseball season. But I also purchased a hockey jersey because of my friend who has gotten me in to hockey. I also got her a matching one, as a thank you. Since they didn't have Troy Brouwer options available, we got this guy [Brooks Laich]:

This is really only to drive up the female readership.
I've been wearing it around because it's been a bit chilly, and it is long sleeved and still has that whole fun-because-its-new element going on. I wore it home this morning from dog sitting, and my six year old next door neighbor was outside as I was walking in.  He commented how I was wearing a hockey jersey, and how he had just started playing in a league.  I joked around that I don't know the rules of hockey (that part is true), and asked if hockey was the sport where you aren't allowed to touch other players.  He laughed at me and informed me that you can fight in hockey.

This is not news. The New York Times and a variety of other news sources have been detailing the gruesome effects of hockey fighting on the pugilists who partake in them.  I have mixed feelings on the issue, but my neighbor was the first person I saw who may actually be affected by these things. Yes, he is six, and cannot even check other players in his league yet. But his dad is a triathlete, and the kid will also grow up to be athletic, and if he sticks with hockey... he's going to be in a hockey fight. He understands the difference, I think, between fighting on the rink (allowed) and off of it (punishable by time out, I guess?).

But sports does not only lead to fights on the field, despite increased incidents in the last 15 years. I honestly believe that I could not date a passionate fan of teams I hate (Dodgers, Yankees, Giants, in no particular order).  So sports can combine love and fighting- loving the person, and fighting about something incredibly dumb in the greater scope of things.

But mostly, sports is love. I speak about baseball because it is my sport, the one where I feel part of a community. I have written in the past about the beauty that is the first day pitchers and catchers report to spring training, the regalia of opening day, and the feeling of smelling fresh-cut grass and hearing the ball hit a glove, the beauty of having a local beer while watching some batting practice, surrounded by like-minded fans.

If this does not make you a little tingly, just ignore the entire previous paragraph.
So, dear 13 readers, Happy Opening Day. May sports bring you love this season.

Thanks for reading, and for excusing the rough transition from fighting to love, from hockey to baseball.