Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I have Internet.

Now here's what I wrote on Monday:

A Sports Addict And A Sports Fanatic

I deny neither, though I distinguish between the two. I am a sports addict because I can't get away from it, I can't go a weekend without watching football, I can't turn off a Cardinals game. I am a sports addict because I have learned the jersey numbers of most Rams players (#82, tight end Cam Cleeland, for example) and the explanation for the Infield Fly Rule (really, ask me any time).

I am, however, a sports fanatic because of the way that I act when watching sports. My housemate Thomas put it best. We had just been in the stands for a disappointing home loss to Oregon State, then I'd caught the final heartbreaking minutes of the USC-Notre Dame game in silent color on the stadium TV by the exit (so very very close to showing up those arrogant brutes). So I walked in sullen, stunned silence for the first half-mile of our journey home. Finally, I composed myself enough to mutter a half-hearted, "Well, it's only a game", Thomas laughed and said (picture his German accent):

"Ah, Patrick, it is amazing. Normally, you're pretty quiet- even shy- but when there's football on, you're suddenly all 'YEEAAAHHH... KILL HIM!!!' and everything... You know you would make an excellent hooligan, like the English."

And he's right. There's something about competition, either direct (did I ever tell you I punched someone over a game of Mario Kart? While I was in college?) or vicarious (yes, that was me shrieking tonight in an octave you'd never believe as Albert Pujols hit an unimaginable home run with two outs in the ninth inning to save the Cardinals' season), that just gets my blood pumping. I even think that I love arguing so much because it contains that competitive element of verbal sparring.

Other hints that this might be pretty pronounced for me:

1. Hearts. We've been playing Hearts most every day in the math department, as a break from the tension of doing proofs. Actually, I think I usually end up more tense than before I started- but I can never stay away from it. Invariably, I get beaten soundly (John's explanation: "Well, it's just so much more fun to see you lose; you take it so [expletive] seriously!"), but I'm always back the next day.

2. Revealing Conversations. Last week, Barbara and I watched a really excellent PBS documentary on the Palestinian intifada (I recommend watching it if you can find it), and follwed it up by talking till 2 AM about faith and politics and temperament and everything. One thing we touched on was anger- that there are some political figures at whom Barbara gets so furious it makes her ill. Now I don't tend to get that way at all about politicians or about people with whom I disagree. I was about to say "I just don't get that angry at anyone," and then I realized that I do: not when they advocate something I think to be evil, but when- darn it- they're beating me at RISK. So I realized that as regards anger, my temperament is as screwed up as anyone's. I'm sure that Erik, Josh, and others can testify to that.

3. Familial Witness. I mentioned the above conversation to Katie. Her reply: "Ya think!?!"

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