Because Sports Don’t Really Matter

I have a confession to make. Even though I consider myself a sports writer, and even though this website is devoted to sports, and even though I play sports and watch sports and love sports wholeheartedly, sports don’t really matter. They don’t. They are founded on games, which are distractions from everyday life. And I think there are times we lose sight of that.

The other day I was talking with two people who both inspire me. They’re the type of people I strive to emulate. They’re good people, but more than that they have a better grasp on reality than a lot of individuals I know. As someone who doesn’t take life all too seriously, I can appreciate their outlook because I feel it vibes with mine.

We talked about a lot of things, including sports, because they’re into sports, too. But there were other subjects, higher level subjects. Subjects like life and death, heartache and heartbreak, happiness and joy.

While we talked, I had millions of thoughts swirling in my head. Thoughts about life in general, thoughts about my future and theirs. Thoughts about the past, and the immediate present. I spoke, but I couldn’t righteously convey these thoughts. I must have said “it’s crazy” about fifty times, which is code for, “There’s this bigger idea in the back of mind, on the cusp of my lips, but I don’t know how to explain it without at least four or five more drinks and probably a visual aid.” I say “it’s crazy” quite a bit when I’m at a loss for words. I also have a tendency to sigh “dude” and “man” when I’m really passionate about something. Eloquent, I am not. At least in conversation.

As a result of my inability to properly articulate, I’ve spent the past few days processing these thoughts in my head in an attempt to get them into print. Because writing, in all honesty, is where I speak most comfortably.

Before I dive into that, though, let me just say that the past week has been a whirlwind for me. There’s my day job to worry about, this website, a two-hour radio spot last Wednesday (thanks to Ian Furness and 950 KJR for that), Husky football games (an all-day affair), basketball (I try to play at least three times a week), a friend’s wedding (ah, love), and the many conversations I have with people who have connected with me through this website. I estimate I spend at least 10 hours a week, if not more, talking both in person and online with readers of Seattle Sportsnet. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy hearing other people’s stories. I enjoy getting to know people the way they’ve gotten to know me through a URL. I want to be around people like that, people who I inspire and who inspire me in return. It really means a lot, and if there were more hours in the day, there would be more time spent with the readers.

Admittedly, I’ve been an absolute wreck in the last seven days. I haven’t been sleeping. I’ve barely been eating. I’ve spread myself thin, basically. I’ve been thinking too much and not expressing enough, which, when you’re used to sharing your opinions all the time, is quite the predicament. I’ve only told a couple people that I’ve been feeling this way, and they’ve offered me all sorts of reasons why I might be beating myself up. I’m not in a funk, really, and I don’t feel down about anything. On the surface I’ve been sedate, calm. I tend to get in pensive moods and go off by myself for hours on end, doing nothing in particular, looking for outlets for all the energy that’s racing through my mind.

In reality, the only reliable outlet for my emotions is right here, on these pages. But I feel like I burden the world all too often with emotion, rather than actual sports news. Which is why this post is entitled as it is. Because somewhere along the line I stopped talking about sports and started talking about life. Sports just happened to fit in as they may. I’ve already spoken to that in the past. No need to harp on one small detail.

So what am I trying to say? That’s a good question. One I ask of myself quite frequently, I might add.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I want to be more than just this grab-ass persona that Seattle Sportsnet has become. In fact, I need to be more than that. Now don’t get me wrong. The world needs grab-ass, and I plan to deliver that as well as I have in the past. There’s no denying freshmanic humor (because someone once told me this website was sophomoric, and I countered with freshmanic).

I really feel, however, that I’ve maxed out the current status of my being. I’ve become complacent in where I’m at. I’m good at what I do. I don’t lack for confidence; you’ll never get any reservations from me about that. But I want to be better. I can be better.

I want to help people. I want to take this stupid website and make it more for my readers than ever before. I want to raise money for the things they need money for. I want to put their stories into words and make them relevant to everyone else. I want to keep the focus on sports, but make it more important than just that.

I feel like I’m writing Jerry Maguire’s mission statement. Like this could be really good, but it could also come back to bite me in the ass for a while. That is, until I find my Dorothy Boyd and complete myself. So there’s that.

There’s a point we reach in our lives where we’re no longer okay just being what we’ve been. We all go through growing pains, and at almost 26 years of age, I’m probably right in the midst of that period of revelation. It makes sense. I assume a psych major would tell me I’m behaving as planned.

And that’s all well and good. For most of us, evolution comes in the form of finding a decent job or marrying the person we’ve been seeing for a while. There’s nothing wrong with that, not by any means. It’s a path that many of us take, and one that seems tried and true, if nothing else. But frankly, I want more than that.

Sure, there are selfish things I want to do. I want to become the person I know I can be. I want to finish one of the many books I’ve started writing, then maybe (maybe) publish it. I’d like to win a rec basketball title in the next few years. I want to design a cool t-shirt. I think I might want to run The Amazing Race — I’ll need a compelling partner with a good back story to help me achieve that. And somewhere down the line, I want to wake up next to a beautiful woman who makes me want to be better than I was the day before.

But there are altruistic things, too. I want to believe in something bigger than an Excel spreadsheet (apologies to my good friend Dave) and a paycheck. I want to have faith in the good of the people. Because people are inherently good, which is something I’ve come to learn while enjoying this writing venture. More than anything else, though, I want to make an impactful difference in the lives of many. Many who I know, many who I’ll meet, and many who I’ll never encounter. I’ve gotten to the point where this website connects me with people who can use my help, and I want to assist them.

A few years ago, I had a conversation with a friend who had just gotten word that his grandmother had passed away. He started crying, and I tried my best to console him. He opened up. He told me his grandmother was a great person and had lived a full life. It was her time to go, and he understood that. He was crying not because she had passed, but because his life, to that point, had paled in comparison to hers. He then looked me in the eye and said something I’ll never forget. “If I died today,” he asked, “would anyone remember what I’ve done?”

For that, I had no answer. I thought about his words, then put my own life into perspective. We were together in believing that what we had achieved up to that point was trivial. From that day forward, something changed. I started this website shortly after that, then began working towards more.

Even now, in writing this, there are so many things I want to say but don’t quite know how to word. I’ve been inspired by so many people, and I want to return the favor. We all have the ability to be remembered. Few of us ever capitalize on that ability, however. I urge you all to try. I’ll try with you. And we’ll all be better for it.

7 thoughts on “Because Sports Don’t Really Matter”

  1. Alex, I really enjoy this site for the sports info, the entertainment value and the overall good writing you put down on this site…And it helps that you’re a Husky. This article definitely hits a chord with me because I sometimes ask myself the same question your friend asked you. I’m not here to save the world but I’d like to think I can make some sort of positive impact, regardless of how large or small, especially for those less fortunate and for kids. Keep up the great work, and hopefully you will be able to continue the clever sports banter and make a difference in the process. By the way, there is something you may be able to help out with (basketball related) this Saturday, if you’re free for a few hours.

  2. Great thoughts Alex. I would also like to nominate myself as an Amazing Race partner.

  3. Alex, I equate your blog to a show like Scrubs. Shit is quite funny. Hilarious, if you will, and then all of a sudden it gets serious. It does this very seamlessly, and does a glorious job at both the comedy, and the heartfelt.

    Both sides are very real, and very awesome.

  4. Keep it up, bud.

    As a psych major, I’m sure you’re aware of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. It sounds to me that you’re a little premature in questioning your own “generativity.” However, now is a time for introspection. Figure out who exactly you are and the type of person you want to become and the rest will follow because you are a talented individual. I commend you for taking time to think about and articulate the meaning of life’s “craziness.” I have no doubt that you’ll end up producing something substantial that contributes to society and makes you feel proud.

    Also, if you haven’t already, read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

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