Boring Sportsball

The older I get, the more I appreciate the sports much of America derides as boring: baseball and soccer. Both feature long stretches without scoring in comparison to basketball; they involve little violence in comparison to football. Soccer and baseball are old fashioned and languid in their own ways; that is why I love them. Transport a fan from 1920 to a game of baseball or soccer today and she would understand what was going on. The basic rules of the games remain unchanged. Baseball still has three outs in an inning, and soccer players still try to put the ball in the goal. Sure, PEDs and other silliness have sullied some records. Advances in technology and tactics have changed the nuances of the sports. Still, the basic rules and equipment have remained the same in both sports for over a century.

I go to soccer games with my kids; we sing and celebrate and suffer together. We watch baseball games together, too; MLB.TV is worth its price just because it's let me share Vin Scully with my children. Both sports leave us time to talk about the play we just saw and to wonder what we will see next. We even can remember moments that came before, long before.

I plan to share these sports with my grandchildren someday. Even if I'm not around to watch games with them, I already know that I have shared my fandom with the grandkids all the same. My children will tell their kids about the time they went with their parents to a frigid Sporting Park to watch our team win MLS Cup in 2013, and they'll reminisce about how we rooted just barely in vain for the Royals to win the World Series in 2014 (and how we have weird divided loyalties between the Cardinals and the Royals).

Every game we watch together, we see something that has never happened before, yet something that we know is like a game from a hundred years ago. My wife and I tell our children about games we watched with our parents three decades ago, and sometimes we even remember things our parents and grandparents told us about games from decades before that.

I feel a bit of immortality from my position within the chain of recollection. The links behind me stretch back to a great-great grandmother reputedly so obsessed with Cardinal baseball that she bought the first radio in town to listen to the games. The links ahead of me stretch to a future where something new happens every game, but every game is a lot like one I've already watched.

I don't think that's boring at all.