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December 12, 2005

Comments

westcoast2

Hugo said...
didn't understand the "offsides" call in soccer until I was in my first marriage

"offsides" is an American Football thing, offside (or the offside rule) applies to football (er soccer if you really must).

Perhaps it was a typo, either way I think you need to watch more sport especially football (soccer) just to be sure :)

be well

west

Hugo

It was a typo, westcoast, thanks for catching it! American television commenters sometimes call it "offsides", which does not excuse my doing it too. (If you saw the women's college cup last weekend, you would have heard it.)

I do watch more soccer than American football (thank God for Fox Sports World). I'm a big supporter of Celtic, with a fondness for Newcastle United (been an Alan Shearer fan from way back). And like many folks, I've enjoyed the run that Wigan is putting together in the Premiership.

Basically, anyone other than Man U, Chelsea, or Arsenal has my support. One thing Americans do better in all their professional sports than Europeans do: revenue sharing! I love how in this country, almost any NFL team can start the season with serious thoughts of winning the Super Bowl. But in England or Spain, you more or less know who will win the big leagues before the first ball is kicked. That's the biggest problem with the "beautiful game."

Dan

"it seems to me that younger men today are less interested in sports than guys of my generation. I wonder are interactive video games taking young men away from passive sports viewing? "

There seem to be a lot of different strains at work here. One is the rise of so many alternative sports - witness the growth and popularity of the X-Games. Where the Olympics seem to grow more tired and stale every time around, the fresh-ness and passion of X-games participants only grow each year. I think a huge part of that is marketing - younger men and women see the over-production and self-satisfaction of NBC's approach to professional sports, and see that as a turn-off. Another piece is the underlying assumption of this generation that "anything from my parent's generation is dumb and uncool," propagated so effectively by MTV and Madison Avenue. To a teenage guy today, "Snowboarding is my generation," so it is therefore cooler than, say, baseball.

Also at play (and I know I risk sounding a little cliched here, so forgive the generalization) is the pressure put on these kids to perform in order that they a)gain the big scholarship; b)don't embarass mom and dad; c)live out dad's unrealized dreams of greatness; or d)become the next Lebron James. We all know the stories of parents going berserk at their kids or their kids' coaches or the umpire. Instead of enjoying the sport, kids are forced to perform to levels impossible to attain. In the stressful life of the 21st century teenager, sports becomes one more thing to worry about.

However, I think there is probably a cultural piece going on as well. Much has been made about the takeover of the NBA by the Hip-Hop generation. While the NBA records unprecedented interest among the African-American culture, it is quickly losing its audience among caucasions. So, to go back to your initial question, I'm not sure "kids" are any less interested in sports. My take is that African-American youth are as interested as ever in basketball, while Caucasions seem to be pushing in different areas - soccer, snowboarding, motorcross, etc.

And finally, the explosion of television options, and the growth of the video game industry probably has much to do with it. Sports is more about entertainment than anything, and the entertainment options are so much more abundant than they were, including Playstations and X-boxes. And who wants to sit and watch a game passively, when you can actually play and control a "real" (albeit digital) game? Especially when you get to run around and kill your friends and hook up with hookers? Who wants to watch overpaid baseball players when you can watch the rebel wake-boarder do a double flip and then casually offend the establishment? It's all about the diversity of options available to kids, connected with their patent rejection of anything they perceive as uncool.

Hugo

Thanks, Dan, much to think about.

What bothers me about X-Games is it all seems so, well, individual. Dumb question: are there team sports in X-Games? If there aren't, that's telling.

westcoast2

Nice to know you watch football.

I agree you more or less know who will win, though not always. Chelsea have only entered the top three recently.

I support Wigan too - although only as a second team (Arsenal are number 1)since I also suppport Wigan's Rugby league team. They are a RL team first and a football team 2nd!!

We get to watch quite a few NFL games on Sky Sports (a sister channel to Fox) and I like SF although they haven't been very good this season (an understatement if ever there was one).

Maybe we need a draft system like the US, to help the money and players go around?

I wonder if maybe sports are an easy target for people to say you are neglecting a relationship because if you are an armchair fan then you are in and around your partner though not necessarily interacting with them - sorta, well you know what I mean. The thing is, isn't each person entitled to be passionate about something and have different interests? Unless it becomes obsessive of course.

west

Hugo

I think a draft system and revenue sharing would be immensely helpful in European football.

Of course each member of a couple can have separate interests -- but indulging those interests ought to be done in an atmosphere of compromise where the overall health of the relationship or marriage comes first.

The Gonzman

If I were that man, I would run from that engagement as fast as I could go.

I am someone who could go her whole life never having watched a sporting event of any kind and be perfectly happy and I am engaged to a man who loves sports.

And I can chaaaaaaaaaange him!

He watches the games, monitors the message boards and goes to as many live events as he can, and I resent it.

You will resent it no less after you are married. Sports are his hobby. If he quits what he loves, then he will resent you, and what you like to spend time on. And may justifiably demand YOU give something up you love.

I think it's time away from our family (I've got three kids and we plan to have a child) and from ME.

*MY* kids and *ME*.

Um hm.

I had a stepfather who's interest in sports superseded everything else. We couldn't make noise while a game was on. We couldn't ask him a question while a game was on. And a game was always on, and I've got some anxiety about my fiance and his interest in sports because of this. I don't want him to have to pencil me in at halftime in order to get his attention.

Ah, here is the real root. She resents sports. Even assuming stepfather had a fanatical type of obsession with it, it's no different from the person whose mother drank, and therefore freaks out when anyone has so much as a glass of wine.

I know I'm not the only woman who feels like this and I feel like it is a feminist issue in terms of how much undivided attention men think they need to give their partners in order to nurture a relationship.

If this is a "feminist" issue - jeez. What can be said to that?

I suspect it's somewhat like housework - men will tend to think the toilet only needs to be cleaned every other month or so, while the women think it's at least once a week.

In addition to the crickets, the silence you hear is me waiting for the outrage from unfair generalizations. Oh yeah. That's right. Long as it's men being slammed, the outrage has to be nudged, and then manufactured, because them darn MRA's are watching.

Of course, not to compare relationships to toilets.

Why not? You seem to use them both for your own gratification.

How do we close that gap? (I'm somewhat disappointed to hear that your wife is a sports fan since I can't use her in my defense!

Well, it doesn't seem like there is a gap to close - I don't hear much searching for compromise, but a search for how to get "Your Way."

Seriously, Hugo. This is a train wreck here, just waiting to happen.

Jo Pilgrim

It all depends on how you decide to work it. And both people have to come to a mutual agreement, if it's imposed by one person then the other one will resent it.

I do martial arts 3 nights a week and go to the gym at other times. My boyfriend games, both RPGs and MMORGs- which are notorious time-suckers. But we both do these things on the same nights, which leaves other times free for us to spend together.

We each get to do the things we love, and still spend time with the person we love.

Hugo

"My boyfriend games, both RPGs and MMORGs..."

As someone who does not "game", I am at a loss.

Keri

Eh. Frankly, I can't fathom why people don't get around these issues by actually making an effort to seek out partners who are interested in the same things they are. I hate sports; watching them bores me, hearing people talk about them bores me, and playing them is an exercise in frustration and futility for my uncoordinated, out-of-shape self. Therefore, it seemed obvious for me to conclude that relationships with serious sports fans weren't a good idea-- it wouldn't be fair to them to be with someone who's so completely uninterested in a significant part of their lives, and it wouldn't be fair to me to have to pretend to care about something I'm, well, completely uninterested in. Similarly, I didn't want to date anyone who didn't share at least some of my interest in "geek" stuff like sci-fi and gaming, because that's a significant part of who I am, and a major part of what I was looking for in an SO was an activity partner.

Why does it seem like no one else thinks of these things? It frustrates me to see couples who have nothing in common struggling to hold their relationship together, resenting each other for their differences, trying and failing to communicate, and so on when it could so easily be avoided. I'm not saying everyone should date people just like themselves-- common interests may not be a high priority for some people, and that's fine. But if you're the sort who doesn't want too much competition for your partner's attention and are going to end up resenting him if he spends too much time on stuff you're not into, why on earth wouldn't you find someone whose major interests and pastimes are at least something you can tolerate?

One of the great mysteries of the universe, I guess. (Actually, I have my suspicions that it has a lot to do with the aggressive marketing of gender roles, at least in terms of heterosexual relationships. We hear so much about how the opposite sex are all mysterious creatures whose ways we will never begin to understand that we start believing it, and our priorities switch to shallower things like physical attractiveness, social/financial status, etc.)

Hugo

Keri, I suspect you do have a point. The dominant myth continues to be that "true love conquers all", and it trumps very real differences in terms of temperament and interest. While love can inspire folks to grow and change, it's also true that some of our passions are part and parcel of who we are.

Having been married to women who didn't like sports, and now being married to one who loves them, makes a world of difference. More importantly, we aren't homebodies -- as much as possible, we are "outside" people (except for our chinchilla time). I don't do well with deeply domestic types (marriages one and three, for the record.)

Heather

Okay, well I gotta defend myself here. Gonzman (and others) are making lots of assumptions about me and my relationship.

I don't have a desire to "chaaaaaaaaaange" him. (A little bitter are we?) I have no intention of depriving him of something he is passionate about or forbidding him in some way of watching sports. As if I could or had the right. My question is fundamentally about the nature of relationship and compromise. If you want to maintain a relationship, you've got to nurture it and I think Hugo has the right attitude about it. He knows that he needs to make time for his relationship and plans his sports watching accordingly. I think that's reasonable. I don't think zoning out in front of the t.v. or computer ENDLESSLY and expecting a strong relationship is.


*MY* kids and *ME*.

Um hm.

So, I have no right to think about my own needs and those of my children? I should completely set aside our needs in favor of his whims? How does that help us or help him be a better person?


Ah, here is the real root. She resents sports. Even assuming stepfather had a fanatical type of obsession with it, it's no different from the person whose mother drank, and therefore freaks out when anyone has so much as a glass of wine.

I don't "freak out." That's another generalization. Humans have tendencies. I recognize mine.

Why not? You seem to use them both for your own gratification.

Huh?

Well, it doesn't seem like there is a gap to close - I don't hear much searching for compromise, but a search for how to get "Your Way."

You're reading into it what you want to see.

As for me not being a sports nut...I don't think that has to be a relationship buster. People can have good relationships and divergent interests. It's not that I hate sports - I like to go to the occasional game. I'll stop and watch with my fiance on occasion - I cry at the Olympics. So, what I may not have said so articulately is that it isn't the sports, it's the time (or lack thereof) that men seem to think relationship building takes.

Hugo

Fair enough, Heather, and we're all getting a bit off topic here. The point of the post was about the hold that televised sports has, and the importance of compromise.

Heather

Thanks Hugo! It was rather ironic to me that people completely sidestepped the whole relationship aspect of this thing and wanted to talk about x boxes. Kinda proves my point. I won't plug my blog again but I wrote today about my experience at the Gonzaga men's basketball game this last weekend in Seattle and it sheds a little more light about my perspective on sports:

http://wondermum.blogstream.com/

metamanda

Hugo --

RPG = role playing game.
MMORG (or MMORPG, i think) = massively multiplayer online role playing game.

badteeth

"So, what I may not have said so articulately is that it isn't the sports, it's the time (or lack thereof) that men seem to think relationship building takes."

Well is it necessarily true that the men are wrong? I mean the way you make relationship building sound in your posts it sounds like a whole lot of suffering and self-sacrifice and not exactly fun city.

Heather

You mean turning off the t.v. or computer constitutes suffering?

mythago

Well is it necessarily true that the men are wrong?

When you leave all the relationship-building work to the other person, I'm sure it seems as though it doesn't really take much work at all.

My own, totally anecdotal experience from my dating years is that I'd tell the boyfriend I wasn't into long talks about The Relationship, which he thought was dandy. Months later, after an utter lack of talking about The Relationship, I suddenly have a very needy, anxious. relationship-talk-wanting boyfriend on my hands.

badteeth

"You mean turning off the t.v. or computer constitutes suffering?"

Yeah. "Stop having fun! Work!"

badteeth

Well is it necessarily true that the men are wrong?

When you leave all the relationship-building work to the other person, I'm sure it seems as though it doesn't really take much work at all.

My own, totally anecdotal experience from my dating years is that I'd tell the boyfriend I wasn't into long talks about The Relationship, which he thought was dandy. Months later, after an utter lack of talking about The Relationship, I suddenly have a very needy, anxious. relationship-talk-wanting boyfriend on my hands.


So then it isn't a male or female trait, it all comes down to whoever is needier and more anxious.

Dr E

Good post Gonz. I was thinking along the same lines.

I would urge the poster to look up "repetition compulsion." Sounds like that might be of help.

E

Stentor

To throw in an amusing alternative experience, I got into sports in order to bond with women. My interest in sports came through being in the marching band, and I joined the band because a (mostly female) bunch of my friends were in it. After having such an intensely participatory experience in my formative years, I tire quickly of televised sports.

Hugo

Badteeth wrote:

"I mean the way you make relationship building sound in your posts it sounds like a whole lot of suffering and self-sacrifice and not exactly fun city."

I realize I'm guilty of emphasizing the "work" element of relationship and marriage. There is a balance, though -- a certain amount of self-sacrifice and discomfort is essential; if we aren't changing and growing, we are stagnating.

Caitriona

I can't stand to watch televised sports. AAMOF, I can't stand *watching* sports. It drives me nuts. I need to participate. I guess it comes from being a jock/nerd/geek combo in high school.

When the kids were playing soccer, I was asked to volunteer to coach. The next year, I was asked to ref. It got so intense and time-consuming that we, as a family, decided that soccer was going away.

Thankfully, my husband (who *wasn't* a jock in high school) also is a participant, not a spectator. He's taught me canoing and other similar activities.

As Hugo and Heather said, it's about prioritizing and putting the relationship as a top priority, rather than leaving it somewhere on the bottom, far below all the various sports (or other obsession) activities. If relationships don't take priority, they die.

I've an acquaintance I'm now trying to help *save* his relationship because he spent too many years setting his family aside whenever work called. It's *much* better to put the time and attention in early on and throughout the relationship than it is to wait until you've a huge problem that needs fixing. Old habits are hard to break, as my acquaintance is finding out.

kate.d.

this might be a bit of thread drift, but can i just point out that i think the gender stereotype of men liking sports and women not liking sports is tired and inaccurate? sure, a lot of women don't like sports, but with every passing decade i think that more and more women do (thank you, title ix). i'm a big sports fan, and i know TONS of other women who are too, and yet we are erased from the cultural landscape because we don't fit the stereotype.

i was out with some friends one night at a bar, and i met a guy there - the patriots game was on, so we were chit-chatting and watching the game. tom brady threw a nice long pass for a completion, but there was a flag. the guy distractedly looked up at the tv and said "nice pass," and i said, "yeah, but there was a flag on the play."

seriously, the guy looked at me like i had two heads. he said "i've never heard a girl say that before." i wasn't sure how to respond to that! "well, for my next trick, i'll juggle these flaming bowling balls" seemed appropriate.

i dunno. i just think that for every occurence of the stereotype being true, there's one where it's false. and i think it's outgrown it's usefulness as a way of ordering things between the sexes.

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