I’m not your atypical sports enthusiast.
Now, I’m not completely clueless (even though my husband might think otherwise). I was raised around television broadcasts of the San Francisco 49ers and the Giants in the spring. Matter of fact, it was once our family joke that once the babies in our family took their first step they were rewarded with a 49er helmet. This was a non-gender specific gift; pom poms were never present.
I even remember ‘the Catch,’ a miracle moment for many 49er faithful. That day was like magic in our living room, as number 87 Dwight Clark took flight and achieved what seemed to be the impossible. We were in tears. The unimaginable had actually happened and in that moment the fate of the 49ers took a wonderful turn.
I also have a great love for the Olympics, Summer or Winter - it need not matter. It is of course all about the thrill of victory and agony of defeat and that I think is what I love the most.
Most recently, however, I came to realize that perhaps I see things a bit differently, when it comes to sports.
I’m a very visual person, and (emotionally speaking) I’m not really tied to any particular professional sport. So, when friends came to watch Super Bowl XLIV a few Sundays back I could not help but notice that I was watching a somewhat different show (or game) than the rest of the people in the room.
For instance, I liked the way the Saints had placed a fleur-de-lis at the top of their pants. A nice little accent to offset the black.
Of course, I made the mistake of saying this out loud, only to have the rest of the room look at me as if I was totally nuts. Then there were the mysterious patches, which adorned their jerseys. The ‘C’ patch was the one that stumped me the most.
As an avid Cal Bears fan in my college years, I could not imagine that six Cal alumni would actually be playing in this monumental game. Certainly that would have been mentioned in the pre-game show.
So, the question of the ‘C’ patch was thrown out to the group. Eventually, my husband would share his disgust in my inquisition, claiming looking for the patch had taken his focus off the actual game. Eventually, my girlfriend (a true sports fan, who can hold her own in any crowd) stated it was for the Team Captain.
This is when it became apparent to me that I was watching something totally different than the rest of the room. While I was able to cheer for the appropriate plays at the appropriate times, I was really caught up in much of the esthetics and the details.
Like the turf, which by fourth quarter resembled modeling clay with big divots in it. I certainly hope they didn’t pay top dollar for the field, because it wasn’t very durable.
Or, the referee declaring a ‘charged time out.’
“When did they start this,” I proclaimed. “It’s a time out … big deal.”
I mean, remember I grew up with football playing in the background, so I grasped the concept and purpose of time outs. I just did not recall it being a game ‘declaration’ with such importance.
Now, we are on to the Winter Olympics. My editor and I have actually been counting down the Opening Ceremony. I can hardly wait to see the skull caps the U.S. team sports for the opening ceremony.
Then of course there are the wonderful back stories of the athletes. They are so inspiring and often touching.
And whether you watch for the sheer athleticism or to see what the Curlers and Ice Dancers wear for their events, it always makes for great conversation.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.