Thursday, September 24, 2009

Basics (Again)

A few times in recent days, I've had people tell me, "Jay, I'd love to read your stuff if I knew what you were talking about."

You'd think that would upset me considering that so much time is spent watching, listening and analyzing the totality of sports; totality meaning the games, business, media and culture. Yet, that sort of feedback is just as important to me as thoughs from the obsessed.

Back in 2007, I came up with a list of links* that would help explain the basics of a few of the sports I talk about from time to time. As you take a gander, you'll see that there are plenty of other games that aren't mentioned on Scribe. For that reason, I ask that you please feel free to add a few sites of your own for all of us to learn about them.

Most of all, if you are truly willing to invest time to learn about sports, here are a few ideas:
  1. May I suggest a book with one of the coolest covers you may ever see (or feel)?

  2. When you begin watching games to understand them more, try to not watch pre-game shows. The lingo of those shows are speaking to the already converted, therefore, everything those anaylsts and commentators say won't make a lick of sense to you unless you've watched a good bit of contests. Instead...

  3. As anything else in life, some learn through osmosis; taking all the information in like a sponge before performing the tasks. So, it may be a good idea to read those basics while or even before you watch games. Yet...

  4. Others learn by doing. You might want to actually try to play these games or at least place the objects of the games in your hands and simulate the motions of the game. Play catch or properly hold as basketball in your hand and practice shooting. This seemingly silly and simple idea might help you understand how difficult it really is to be an elite performer.

  5. The most important suggestion I have for you is something that seems blasphemous: for the initial period/quarter/half, mute the game. A lot of fans out here say that they mute the TV when an announcer they dislike is calling a game. While most of them actually don't, the truth is that the sounds of the game can color judgment rather unfairly.
    I am a firm believer in objectivity, even with personal favorites and professional interests. More often than not, the games you will view come from the home team and the biases will make you believe that one side (typically the home team) is naturally better than the other for a plethora of reasons that have little to do with the games themselves. One shouldn't believe that a different color of laundry automatically makes one player superior to the other when clearly the opponent may be the best in the business. Taking the blinders off from the outset should make it easier to hone in on the specifics of the games as you grow more comfortable watching sports.
While you can do what you will with the suggestions, do take the time to walk through the basics. I do the best I can to mix up topics on Scribe to make sure that people of varying levels of fandom (or non-fandom) can find something to their liking. Yet, even beyond this tiny portal of the world, understanding the fundamentals won't make sports so foreign.

* After 22 years of operation, the Arena Football League (as we knew it) folded in early August. This isn't lost on me, so for proper accuracy, this footnote and post acknowledges the fact. While seeking an article discussing the news, it turns out that there are talks for a reincarnation of the league. Good timing, perhaps?

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