Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
I have a little confession to make. It’s one of those things that will often make other men look at you askance; like you have a giant nose hair that whips in and out with each breath or a chunk of spinach caught between your front teeth when you just finished lunch and there was no spinach anywhere near your plate.
I’m not really that into sports.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried to be. I went to Cincinnati Reds games as a kid. I collected baseball cards – but eventually traded them all for comic books. I even started watching ice hockey at one point and really enjoyed it.
I tried my hardest to follow the NHL on a regular basis and to go watch minor league games in Huntington and Austin. But it just didn’t take. I knew the players. I knew the teams. But I couldn’t tell you who won the last game or where they were in the standings. The math of it all just confused me, and it wasn’t as much fun when folks expected more of me than going into a zen trance and watching the puck zip back and forth over the ice.
Coming from Kentucky, everyone in Texas (extreme football country) expected me to like basketball. They wanted to hear my opinion on Rick Pitino, and to know whether I was a UK or Louisville fan. I couldn’t get some of them to believe I had no opinion. I’d start getting those long nose hair looks again.
But a funny thing has happened over the last couple of years. I’m suddenly interested. I actually missed that my stepson wasn’t playing basketball this year. I realized that, when he played last year, I was the one paying attention to the games now while everyone else around me socialized. And it’s carrying over to games other than his basketball and soccer matches.
I watched the West Carter Middle School girls play the other day and, not only was I invested in the outcome, I found myself having to choke back complaints about the calls made (or not made) by the officials. I’m supposed to be the impartial and objective reporter, but I have to admit I wanted those girls to win.
I’m finding the same thing with West Carter’s football team, and East’s soccer teams. And it’s not just because they are dominating their respective sports right now (though they are). I feel like I’d be interested even if they were the biggest underdogs in the state.
Is it possible that, after 45 years of on-and-off effort, I’m finally becoming a sports fan? How did this happen? Is it because I started writing about them? Did that help me see them in a different light? More importantly, will other men stop looking at me like I have the nose hair of Medusa now?
Jeremy D. Wells can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org