Friday, March 17, 2006

Strange Obsessions

I have always enjoyed following sports—some more than others. The National Collegiate wrestling championships are being contested in Oklahoma City this weekend. The past two nights, I have sat in front of the computer and watched the real time results of all the matches.

My wrestling team is Iowa. When I lived in Iowa, I had season tickets to all the matches. Not only that, I would travel to away matches and to the national championships every year. Iowa was wildly successful back then. At one point, they won nine national championships in a row.

Iowa has not fared well this year. However, they are challenging for second place in the tournament, which will sooth a lot of the fan’s bruised egos.

ESPN is broadcasting the championship matches live at 6:30 Central Time tomorrow night. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow night, even though Iowa has only one wrestler in the final matches?

I have started a new ritual every Saturday morning. I watch a FoxSoccerChannel live broadcast of an English Premier League match at 6:30 in the morning. Tomorrow’s match is Everton versus Aston Villa, a match in which I don’t have a vested interest; in fact, I didn’t even wager on it. Football (soccer) has become a new obsession with me, just like baseball and college wrestling, and that's why I'll be watching.

The next book I will be reading is Nick Hornsby’s Fever Pitch, a book about his obsession with the Arsenal football team. I’ve seen the movie, and really enjoyed it. After that, I plan on reading Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains the World. People tell me it is good. I just finished reading Galeano's Soccer in Sun and Shadow.

And then there is March Madness. I only have one bracket sheet that has not been run through the shredder. But that’s a whole different story because I don’t follow college basketball much anymore until tournament time.

Everything has changed about sports since I first grew interested in them back in the Fifties as a boy--except these annual obsessions I go through.


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