James Anthony Ellis
Men love sports.
Not that women don’t, but this is a magazine for men, and I happen to be one, so I’m gonna talk about the love of sports by men.
I can just hear the guy-talk now:
- What’s the score?
- Where are they in the standings?
- Who scored?
- Who’s on first?
- What’s on second?
- We will kick your ass.
- Your team sucks!
Sure, some men can’t be bothered with the sporting mind, but for many out there, the pursuit of sports – in participation and observation – is just a natural fit. It’s designed for those of us who love a good battle between competitive opponents, giving our best, sharpening our skills through competition, and striving not to tie – never to tie – but to win and be victorious.
And then to celebrate in that glory.
It’s so dude-like, so male, so sperm-find-the-egg kinda thing.
Men come to fight it out, not because we hate the other guy or other team (sometimes we do), but because life is about the struggle encountered to better ourselves and to succeed reaching our ultimate goals.
When I look back in my mind, one of the first places I happen to notice such a behavior was with – well, of course – Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Remember that little guy cartoon? He would play with his gang in those rough and tumble reindeer games. I can picture Rudolph laughing it up as he battled it out antler-butting with his buddy. Well, this until his black tar nose came off and revealed his shiner … but that’s another story altogether. What Rudolph and his buddy were doing was challenging each other to be stronger and better. I mean, for goodness sake, they would have to freaking fly at some point.
And way back then as a kid, I recall the Smear The Queer games (yes, I said it) and the kickball, and basketball, and even the hide and seek. And I recall how competitive I would get, for example coming in from recess or PE with this burning in my throat and my gut because my team did not win.
There is that same spirit of competition and that same desire to win that runs through various times in my life – as spectator and also as engaged participant.
In the softball game in fifth grade, I was crushed when I cost the team a win by not sliding into home base.
In sixth grade, I was exhilarated when I ran the punt back for a touchdown, with the view of my father walking towards the field as I accomplished that feat.
Then as a spectator, being present as the Dolphins beat the rotten scoundrel Oakland Raiders in the away stadium, getting a high five from WR Brian Hartline after the game. Then there was the exhilaration during the 2014 playoffs when the Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh game in overtime. I jumped so high, I thought I was going to bump my head on the ceiling.
For each agony of defeat, a valuable lesson and heartache. For each victory, some form of lesson and trophy.
In each case – from the miracle underdog story, to the comeback story, to the hard-work-pays-off story, there is always some form of triumph over some opponent – even if that opponent is our own limitation, lack of belief, skill or esteem.
In each case, the scene is complete with all the masculine principles. A sense of growth, a score that is measurable, a score that is final – either an L or a W. There are no ties in the long run, since they are like kissing your sister. There are no participation trophies wanted or desired for those in touch with the pure masculine.
Whether we are watching on TV or in the stands or arena, or whether we are taking on the game of life with the same attitude and gusto – that spirit of sports runs through our veins, and in our masculine soul.
- To be challenged
- Against a formidable foe
- Giving our best
There is an honor of being in the process of growth towards the man we want to be.
So male. So dude-like. So … let’s get the fuck out there and do what we need to do.