I don’t know anything about football. I mean I know the general rules because I grew up in America. But, I don’t care about it. Lots of people do, though. See:
So, as part of my student USC grad school education, I’m trying to learn to care. Partially this is useful because it may be hard to be any kind of semi-respected sports reporter (even if you’re a sports reporter specializing in not football) without knowing enough to have a conversation. Partially, though, it’s an experiment. Can I learn enough to know the intricacies? To care about them? To have opinions?
It’s not like I can’t learn things fast and like I don’t care about sports generally. And, it’s not like I haven’t read a ton of books about the behind-the-scenes of sports I previously knew nothing about. (Ask me anything about late-1990s gymnastics. I went through a phase.) I’ve even read a few football books, including some really good ones. But, football is so immersed in statistics and shorthand and references to the past that it’s hard for a newbie or outsider to be welcomed into the fold. Part of me thinks the diehard fans prefer it this way.
I don’t know that I’ll ever become a diehard fan. There’s too many people who know too much for me to ever catch up. The base level knowledge for a general middle-aged football fan in America is shockingly high. What could the country accomplish if that amount of effort and attention to detail had been directed elsewhere? Perhaps little more than fewer concussions and a well-developed fantasy Congress instead.
Still, I’ve already read more about college football than I ever have in the past. Steve was impressed with my knowledge of Josh Shaw. And, the whole first issue of my re-subscription to Sports Illustrated was dedicated to the NFL preview, which I mostly skimmed, except for the profiles, because everything started to blend together into gibberish. It’s like the world wants me to care about football, but it making it as challenging as possible. Jump right in. Who do you think will win this weekend? Next weekend? In January? But don’t you think UCLA’s program is making a turn-around? And, how will the 49ers recover from Aldon Smith’s suspension? What about Ray Rice’s suspension? And Josh Gordon’s? Don’t you have an informed opinion? Have an opinion! Get informed! Care!