I’ve been embarrassed to tell anyone, but I’m afraid I’m losing my sports mojo.
First a little background. Born and raised in southern Indiana, I was, of course, genetically disposed to basketball fanaticism. In addition, my grandfather was a serious Yankee-hater. One of my fondest childhood memories is the Milwaukee Braves’ defeat of the Evil Empire in the 1957 World Series. Childhood heroes include Arnold Palmer, Johnny Unitas, Bob Cousy, and my all time hero, Muhammed Ali (then Cassius Clay) who I saw box when he was a 12-year-old on local Louisville TV. (Suffice it to say, he was noticeably better than the other novice pugilists.)
College. Law School. Friends. Family. All have been significantly influenced by sports. I coached the boys in baseball, basketball and soccer for years. Bears Superbowl. Bulls six-time NBA champs. Many wonderful memories. Sports was my mojo.
I’m not sure when I began to lose my sports mojo. Maybe it was five or so years ago when one morning I inexplicably flipped the station from Sports Talk Radio to NPR. I knew I had lost it by last year when I really wasn’t all that excited about the Sox’s unexpected World Series victory. Oh, I’d fake interest at the water cooler. Reading the sports pages made it easy to fool everyone, but I only watched a few innings. The weekend before last, I went to see the movie Hollywoodland rather than watch the Bears’ opener. Pitiful.
I’m not sure how I lost my sports mojo. I’ve consulted with some Sports Mojo specialists (I sure hope Blue Cross/Blue Shield covers this.) They have a couple of different theories to explain my missing mojo:
Maybe, following the careers of mutant young men who get arrested in strip club parking lots at 2 a.m. disgusts rather than inspires. (“Say it ain’t so, T.O.”)
Or, I’ve seen every possible permutation of balls bouncing and bodies colliding, and I’m bored. Do you think ants ever get bored?
Or, Katrina, global warming, terrorism, Iraq are such big issues that whether Bobby Jenks’ arm is OK for the Sox stretch run is ludicrously unimportant in the great scheme of things. Thanks for nothing, President Bush.
When I was a little boy, my Grandmother Simms made the greatest homemade biscuits in the world. When I would visit her, she would let me eat as many as I wanted. The best. Until one day, I couldn’t eat any more. I was full. Forever. The same thing happened with grape Kool-Aid and Brandy Alexanders (Now there’s a future column). Maybe I just watched and read and played sports for so long that I just got full of sports.
Still, I read the sports page first thing every morning. I still subscribe to Sports Illustrated. My sons let me participate in their NBA Fantasy League (7th place out of 10 last year-best finish ever). Who knows? Maybe I’ll find my sports mojo. The Ryder Cup is coming up. I do want to see Ben Wallace in a Bulls uniform. Maybe I should have paced myself. Maybe I should have taken those guitar lessons. Visited my brother and sister more often. Read more books.