I wish I had developed a natural affinity for spectator sports, the national pastimes that tie my countrymen in knots, weave them into a fabric of brotherhood and sisterhood and intimacy that requires no real commitment, just naked, banal lust.
The older I get, the more clearly I understand that, by eschewing spectator sports, I missed out on establishing weak but comfortable bonds of affiliation with people whose acquaintance I never made. Or, at least, whose acquaintance I never cultivated. I missed the tailgate parties and spending loud time and energy in sports bars. The road trips en route to stadia stardom never materialized for me.
Had there been a similar culture of loud, unapologetic debauchery associated with games involving language instead of physical prowess, I think I would have joined the fray, provided all the players accepted the meaninglessness of competition. Maybe that’s what those who have that natural affinity for spectator sports understand that I did not; in spite of their rabid support for one team or another, it’s all show–the competition is all an act. The real pursuit is for unbridled camaraderie, not for championships.
Alas, it’s too late now for me to try to join the fray. I do not and will not have an interest in spectator sports. But I still miss the ancillary elements of rowdy acquaintanceship, the thing I now understand was the point of it all along.