How Much Does America Miss Sports?

by Kevin Burton

   Bitter pill for me to swallow last Saturday When Daniel Ginszek scored for Wolfsburg in stoppage time to beat FC Augsburg 2-1.

   Tough blow.

   I’ve been a huge fan of FC Augsburg going way back to Saturday afternoon at about 1:15 when I first learned of the team’s existence.

   If you don’t know soccer and don’t know what “stoppage time” is, no matter. Pick up the phrase and use it universally across all sports. Since about March 12, that’s where we have been, stoppage time.

   On March 11, 10-seed Kansas State beat 7-seed TCU 53-49 in the play-in round of the Big 12 basketball tournament. The game was so sensational that I stayed awake for almost 70 percent of it. 

   Didn’t know that would be my last crack at live sports for months. So I didn’t make a real effort to savor it.

   So last weekend when the Bundesliga, major league soccer in Germany, became the first European league to restart competition, I wanted to take part.

   Not sure why, but I did not feel compelled to latch on to a team in South Korean baseball when that league started up May 5.

   That’s about all I know about for team sports that are active just now.  Not much.

   Roy Blount in his excellent book “One Fell Soup: Or I’m just a Bug on the Windshield of Life,” wrote, “One spot of gravy is all a cockroach needs.”

   There you have it, one spot of gravy. One soccer league with a baseball league in reserve. Pick your side, take a ride, game on. I’m all over it!

   Well, truth be told, I’m not all over it in the same way I used to be.  What was my all-consuming mania for sports disappeared gradually, like my flat stomach.

   So now, with nearly nothing on the sports menu, how hungry am I? How hungry are you? How much do you really miss sports?

   I was shocked this week to see next to nothing online about team sports and how people miss them desperately. Makes me wonder if they do.

   Most of the real pining I hear has to do with haircuts and holidays, bowling and bars.

   In late March The Desert News ran a piece by Ethan Bauer titled “Is the pandemic the cure to America’s sports addiction?” In it, Kevin Quirk says, “I’m actually confident that people who are maybe really obsessed with sports…won’t miss sports as much as they fear that they will.”

   Quirk is the author of the book “Not Now Honey, I’m Watching the Game,” in which he posits that sports addiction often gets in the way of marriage, career and other responsibilities. 

   In the past I would have seen such a book as subversive. Now I am eager to read it. 

   By no means does this mean I no longer enjoy sports. But it has been a while since I have gone truly bonkers over any sports, with the exception of Wichita State basketball.  With that team’s implosion at the end of the truncated season, I wonder how hot Shocker fever will burn for me next year.

   If there is a next year.

   By now you have figured out I was just having fun with German soccer. I might watch part of a game if it is streamed online. More likely my “devotion” to Augsburg will consist of finding out their score after the fact. 

   One last thought for those who think the current sports vacuum sucks. Baseball fans around the country are having a pretty good run these days, aren’t they? Glory days, is what they are getting.

   As stations continue to play the glorious games of the past, isn’t that better in a way? I have seen all or parts of several Reds and Royals games in the past month and neither of my teams has lost a single game.  

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