Professional Sports Is Very InterestingCommentary • Opinion • sports year in review 2008 • ISSUE 44•05 • Jan 30, 2008 By Tim Pirolli Have you ever noticed how interesting professional sports is? If there's one topic that I enjoy spending hours thinking about and ruminating upon, that is it. Every match or round or game is an endless source of deep and satisfying contemplation. I never tire of watching a player rounding the bases, crossing the threshold into the end zone, or beating another professional athlete into unconsciousness, and then obsessively dissecting and analyzing every detail. A night spent speculating on the outcome of a sporting event—Will the first team win? Or will it be the second?—is the most intellectually stimulating evening I can imagine.Whenever a ball is hit, put into a hoop, or carried to a particular point of significance, my mind instantly races to consider all of the action's possible ramifications: "How will this affect future hittings, throwings, and carryings of other, different balls?" I wonder to myself. What a joy it is to closely follow a random group of men thrown together in one geographic location working together to win contests of athletic ability. Each and every victory of a team full of people I'll never meet over another team full of people I'll never meet is a complex web of nuance and metaphor to contemplate at great length.When my favored team or athlete defeats an opposing team in a sporting contest of some sort—be it the Super Bowl, or the playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl—I am full of thoughts, and eager to share these new thoughts with others who enjoy thoughts about sports.What could be more nourishing to the intellect than spending as much time as possible discussing scores and statistics with people?You know when an athlete is interviewed before a game, and he proclaims his desire to beat his opponents? That is extremely interesting. Will they do it by scoring more points? Or by some other, more technical means? Only time will tell. And when a defeated athlete is interviewed following a loss, and explains the reasons for the disappointing outcome, that, too, is extremely interesting. Will he blame poor defense? Or poor offense? Either way, a topic to consider for weeks or even years.When I'm not watching and then thinking about sports, I enjoy listening to other sports enthusiasts talk about the sports that they watched. Most of all, I enjoy my peers' descriptions of certain feats of athleticism they've witnessed. In turn, I like to reply with a similar anecdote about something I have seen myself, and then follow with a historical precedent that parallels both. Hours go by like seconds when I'm involved in a discussion like this. Invariably, one of us will say, "That's one for the record books," and, though exactly which record books is never totally clear, it is a professional-sports insight that will always be true. Unfortunately, I occasionally encounter fans of teams I do not support, and I will never be able to understand how they can have come to such a clearly incorrect conclusion. I spend a great deal of time trying to set straight whatever misinformation they have received. Yet, they somehow still manage to believe that their team is the best, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary. Take Red Sox fans, for example. The Red Sox suck, whereas the Yankees, by contrast, rule. There's simply no debating that. Why some people cannot grasp such obvious, empirically demonstrable facts is beyond me.Perhaps the most wonderful thing about professional sports is that I always have the option of watching well-dressed, highly paid people discussing sports on television if I don't necessarily feel like discussing sports myself. These men and sometimes women often have an interesting take on the week in sports, and it gives me a lot to think about. For example, there may be factors in the outcome of a sporting event that I had not considered, such as the wind speed or a bad decision by a coach. The sportscasters will put forth a conclusion, with which I will either agree or disgree, and then, if the occasion arises, I will share that insight or conclusion with others and assimilate it to my own canon of knowledge and analysis about professional sports. My goodness, there are so many sporting events to see and learn from. My only regret is that I lack the time to give my full attention to each and every one of them. If I could live forever, I would, and I would follow all the sports there are, enjoying multiple lifetimes of rich, rewarding study and discussion. Sadly, this is an impossible dream. One day I will die, and will no longer be able to know what is happening in the world of professional sports. But I am grateful. I thank my creator for blessing me with the gift of a mind, and further bestowing upon me that eternally compelling topic—professional sports—with which to exploit it to its true and most glorious potential. I like sports.