The Endless Wars: The Descent

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Why I Love Sports

A quick bit of background. I'm originally from the LA area, spawned from a pair of Army brats that met and fell in love and Texas, and spent my formative years in Tulsa, OK, before moving to St. Louis as an 8yr old whose first baseball card back in Tulsa was a 1986 Topps Ozzie Smith. So, when my parents asked me if we should move to St. Louis or Chicago, I said St. Louis, because that's where Ozzie played.

Needless to say, I was nearly born a Cardinals fan. But, I also grew up in a household that cheered for the Cowboys and Lakers. Yup.

I've lived in St. Louis since 1987, with the exception of a brief jaunt to Chicago to get my undergrad and a wife, and baseball here is a religion. Okay, Catholicism is the dominant religion here, but you know what I mean.

The end of winter here is signaled not by the melting of the snow, but that hallowed day when pitchers and catchers report.

The start of summer is signified not by the end of school, but by the sights and sounds of the local children on their own ball fields, emulating their titanic heroes in red.

Fall is marked not by brown leaves, but by the hunt for Red October, and the dulcet tones of Shannon and Rooney on workplace radios as the Cardinals battle and plunge deeper into the playoffs.

Winter ... winter is a time of death and rebirth as the roster churns and we gaze south, to the gentle shores of Jupiter to give us a sign, anything, that lets us know that it's almost time to begin anew that trek to the next Red October.

Yeah, some folks are also pretty great fans for the Blues and Rams, too, for sure, but they're not woven into the local fabric in the same way as the Cardinals. In a lot of ways, the Cardinals ARE St. Louis.

I think that may be part of the intense animosity the rest of the country holds for the Cardinals and their fans. We really, truly love this team, and I think a lot of fans of other baseball teams view that as a commentary on their own fandom, when it's not. We don't really worry about the way other teams interact with their fans, but we're always surprised when teams are booed in their own stadiums. That just seems ... well, like something a bad fan would do. I dunno. That's just now how we roll.

This is the town that partially grades players by how much hustle they show getting to first base on a walk, and I'm not kidding.

So, anyway, that's the foundation of my love for sports.

Today, yeah, I totally get up for the Rams, even though current ownership hasn't earned it at all. And, fuck, this season is looking very, very grim. I have a feeling, though, the problem will no longer be ours very, very soon when the league and broadcast networks get their wish and the Rams are moved back to LA.

Really, though, I think I'm a bigger fan of the NFL than I am the Rams. I just like football. I think we should solve all international conflicts with games of football.

At least I still have Mizzou football. They're a blast to watch, and the college game is so much more watchable than the pro game, which has become addicted to penalties and theatrics. The college game is filled with risk-taking in the play-calling, and fantastic atmosphere.

But What Does it All Mean?!
See, I take weekends off. I'm working the first 40hour/week job I've ever had. Everything before this has been 50+ with more working weekends than not. Nowadays, I like taking an outdoor jaunt with the wife and boys and dog, then spending the rest of the time gaming on my laptop while watching the Cardinals, Rams, Mizzou, or whatever sporting event, and just losing myself in the relaxation.

I particularly enjoy playing MMOs while watching sports, since I can shift my attention back and forth. The single-player RPGs are much more a night-time activity, after everyone's in bed, and I can focus intently.

Red October
Now, once we're in the playoffs, the laptop is put away, the games shutdown, and the Surface tablet is set on the coffee table to act as a stat companion. It's also when the Khaleesi and I back WAAAY up on shows on the DVR.

In any case, go finish your work day, and enjoy your weekend. I plan to do the same.

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