Ramble on the Roof

Torrin Thatcher

My affection for sports has been brought up in conversation with two different people in two different scenarios in the past week. One of those people I consider a friend, and the other was a person I hadn’t talked to much before. The conversation with the friend was a quick question-and-answer, while the interrogation with the unfamiliar took a little bit longer. Here’s how the two played out:
The friend says to me, “Torrin, don’t you ever get tired of watching basketball?” And instead of narrowing my response to just basketball, I encompassed sports in general. The first thought that raced through my mind was how to answer this question quickly and efficiently? This is what I came up with: “No. Seriously, no. There is always something new, something exciting, and something that you may never see again. It’s not like TV or a movie where you can predict what’ll happen. It never gets old because it’s always new.”
The friend responded with a nod of the head and continued about his way, but please allow me to elaborate some more on the subject. Any game can go in the complete opposite direction from what is predicted. Here are a few examples in case you need some proof. How about Wisconsin in the 2000 NCAA tournament? Entering the tourney as an eight seed, the Badgers beat three ranked teams – Arizona, who had the one seed, LSU, and Purdue – before falling for the fourth time to those Spartans from East Lansing. They had a very average record in conference play, but they went on one of the best hot runs, such as Davidson this past year or George Mason in 2006. George Mason maybe played in one of the greatest games in tournament history when they beat the University of Connecticut by two in overtime. There are many more teams – Villanova in 1985, Gonzaga in 1999 – that have had hot streaks, and we know that these occurrences will continue to happen.
The conversation with the other person – I don’t even know her name – was about a slightly different love of sports. Someone brought up the difficulty of making decisions on a daily basis – study or go out, right sock or left sock, cake or death – and I mentioned being with my girlfriend versus watching sports. Right away, the girl at the table looked at me with pity as how I could choose sports over “hooking up,” as she so eloquently put it. I explained that it isn’t actually that hard of a decision because the volume of the television can be raised high enough to allow me to more easily listen to John Anderson or Scott Van Pelt giving me the highlights.
The girl insisted that if she was ever with a guy and he turned up the volume on the TV, she would be severely pissed, and would probably halt her actions. I then had to explain to her the situation that I am currently in.
After dating the same girl for over three-and-a-half years, my girlfriend understands that I watch or read about sports on a daily basis. My girlfriend visited this past weekend, and she actually told me that she felt bad being up here because I wasn’t able to head to the Viking Room and watch ESPN until my heart was content. I relayed this message to the unnamed girl, and she was absolutely appalled. She said, “You’re saying that in your long-distance relationship, you can’t go more than two to three days without catching a game? You can’t forfeit those days while she is here to spend time with her?”
I never said that I made my girlfriend sit with me and watch a game; it’s just that she felt bad about deterring my sports watching. It’s obvious that the brain of the unnamed questioner didn’t quite comprehend or understand the type of relationship that I am in – which I am very thankful for. This was pretty much the end of our conversation, as I got up and left the table.
I then started to see how this situation would look if I turned it around a little bit. Say this girl had a boyfriend that she took shopping on one of his weekend visits? Isn’t that something that she likes to do, can do anytime, and something the dude doesn’t like to do too much? I tend to think so.
On a final note of sports or death, I pick death … I mean sports. I meant sports.