Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Who Won Last Night?
Other confessions my 1961 Self would not enjoy hearing: (1) I have not watched a football game in probably a decade--not a single down. (2) I've not watched the Browns since they cut Bernie Kosar. (3) I didn't see a Tribe game (live) last year--the first time, probably, since 1956. (4) I have not watched a second of the Cavs in over a year. (5) I don't watch any TV sports whatsoever. (5) I did not listen to--or watch--a single Tribe game all the way through last year ... unthinkable.
In 1961, I was all sports, all the time. Schoolwork? Family? Relationships? Piano lessons? Play practices? All way down the ladder of significance in 1961. I played all summer long--pick-up games, little league. I also played in school, of course (was a decent player on very mediocre--okay, poor--basketball and baseball teams). And for a while, I had daffy dreams of something greater. I played on the Hiram College freshman basketball team and found out very, very quickly that I sucked. By then, I also knew I wasn't good enough to play on the college baseball team. I'd played on an American Legion team the summer before college and faced something like real pitching for the first time. I saw baseballs, as they zoomed by me into the catcher's mitt, doing things I thought violated the laws of physics.
I took up tennis in college (I'd fooled around with it in school) and was fortunate enough at Hiram College to earn four varsity letters--only (and I emphasize only) because we had the worst tennis team since the days of Henry V (who, remember, in Shakespeare's play saw a gift of tennis balls as a grievous insult to his manhood).
But once my playing (non)career was over, I still watched and listened a lot. Before I married late in 1969, I watched just about everything that was on (in the days before ESPN, etc.). Early in our marriage, Joyce looked at me with some confusion (though, as is her wont, she never said a discouraging word)--the same look my mother used to give my dad, who insisted on watching every down of every football game that was on TV. (I was never that bad.) Mom's looks later were enriched with words I'd better not repeat.
I left parties to go home and watch games. I ignored guests when Albert Belle was at bat. That sort of thing.
Slowly, though, my interests narrowed to the Browns, Cavs, Indians, and Oklahoma Sooners football (I grew up in the Sooner State, where football is the state religion).
And then, those began to narrow. The Browns went first--as did all of football (haven't watched a Super Bowl or any other bowl game in decades). Then the Cavs (I'd been a huge fan, especially during the years of Mark Price, from Enid, Oklahoma--my home town). Next the Sooners. (The sounds you hear are my father spinning you-know-where, my 1961 Self snorting his disgust.)
And last year--impossibly--the Tribe. I couldn't have named the starting line-up. Opening Day is soon, I think ... what will I do?
So what's happened to me? Mental illness? Dotage?
Tune in tomorrow (now that the NCAAs are over) for some thoughts ... And see what my 1961 Self is thinking ...
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