America’s Fascination With Sports

We Americans are nuts about football—not that European thing we call soccer—but the real deal, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson powering their team downfield, against all odds. Passes, rushes, tackles, sacked quarterbacks and the long-bomb when you least expect it. Stuff that brings you off the sofa, cheering. Even the language is all adrenalin.

And that’s not all

Baseball is #2 on our hit parade and we’re unashamed by naming its finale a World Series, even though it’s really just us and Canada. If Cuba or the Dominican Republic were involved we might be in trouble and Americans like to make trouble, not receive it.

Then there’s basketball, ice hockey, tennis, golf and auto racing. All this, while Europe considers cross-country skiing thrilling enough to actually watch on TV and Asia actually thinks table-tennis is a sport.

160 million viewers can’t be wrong

Yeah well, maybe they can, but that’s how many Yanks tune in regularly to their sport-of-choice. And I understand it’s a cultural thing. I haven’t a clue about cricket and am too impatient to watch a single game for days on end without a winner declared. I wouldn’t know a pitch (actually thrown in the dirt) from a sticky wicket.

It has something to do with never having enjoyed a world empire, I suppose.

But the why of our addiction is clear to see

Nothing works for we Americans these days. Our wars go embarrassingly un-won, we have no answers for homelessness, poverty, Jeff Bezos or teenage acne and our supposedly quasi-democratic system of governance is locked at the horns like two bull elk in rutting season. Side note: when that actually happens, both elk die of starvation. Something to ponder, if one is into pondering.

It’s sports that give us hope when it’s in short supply. At the end of nine innings, 72 holes, four quarters or three matches, a winner will be declared and we can drink a toast to our win or at least down one to next time. But it’s over, solved, done until next time and an actual score has been written in the record books.

Trevor Noah has this occurrence absolutely nailed for you.

That—in America at least—is a miracle

And, strange birds that we are, we will always believe in miracles.

The world will soon be done with Donald Trump, the coronavirus and income inequality. But Michael Jordan and Tom Brady are forever


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