Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Future of SportsCenter?

I've been interested in the wide world of sports for pretty much as long as I can remember. Not in a "paint your face, don a foam hat proclaiming love for your team, start tailgating at 8 a.m. and mourn each loss as if a beloved pet had died" kind of way...but more along the lines of  "read the Sunday section front-to-back, check scores online, patronize Os games, yell at the TV when 'my guys' aren't performing up to par". (Because that totally works, if you put enough authority behind it, yeah?) As such, I consider myself to be reasonably up on the current news and at least some of the major players involved. (Although I freely admit that when teams start moving around and changing names, I tend to get confused--for example, can someone tell me when the Pelicans came into being...and why?) However, I must also state with all honesty that there's a limit to my attention and level of involvement in the day-to-day business of what essentially amounts to "grown men playing games and getting paid for it". It's becoming increasingly apparent that this is NOT true for my teenage son...

Case in point: today he and Husband will be attending their very first University of Maryland collegiate football contest, having been invited by a soccer-family-friend. When I approached Derek to ask if he wanted to accept, he instantly responded, "Yeah, I'm in!" Then after a moment's pause he added wryly, "I'll go watch us get killed..." Now, I don't necessarily follow the Terps all that closely, but I didn't think they were that bad, so I encouragingly replied, "They're playing Boston College, so maybe it'll be okay." (Meanwhile, I'm thinking "Yay, me, for having a relevant, at least semi-accurate comment to offer the conversation!" Oh, silly, silly mom...) He stared at me with an astounded expression before sputtering vehemently, "One of their running backs rushed for 400 yards last week!"

Now it was my turn to gape at him incredulously--while at the same time several emotions were warring for I more perturbed at this ridiculously useless fact taking up valuable space in his adolescent brain (which clearly needs all the available resources it can muster, to handle such everyday tasks as, say, homework...remembering to put away his clean laundry...keeping track of his phone...etc...) Or am I primarily amazed at his ability to store and recall stats on demand? (Even for teams we have no relationship with, whatsoever? Please don't hold your breath for an answer; I suspect the jury's gonna be out on this one for quite a while...) Fortunately, I'm somewhat mollified by the realization that he doesn't just memorize stuff. During the recent baseball season, we were able to have lengthy, detailed discussions about who should be awarded the AL MVP, based on such criteria as batting averages, RBI totals, fielding prowess, and overall contribution to the success of their organization. And just last night he provided a thoughtful, logical analysis to my question of whether Texas A&M's QB, Johnny Manziel, should or should not declare himself eligible for the upcoming NFL draft.

Back to our original exchange, when I had recovered enough to speak again, I asked, "How do you come up with this stuff?" He glanced down his nose at me in an infuriatingly superior fashion and scoffed, "Moooommm, I know things!" Well, that much is abundantly obvious....and leaves no room for rebuttal. So I suppose in the new hierarchy (of Team WestEnders) I shall bow to my... ESPN junkie...for all burning sports-related topics. I trust that if he doesn't already know it, he'll look it up...because after all, he wouldn't want to tarnish his newly-anointed position as the one who "knows things", right?!

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