I feel like one of the misconceptions about being Sports Editor for The Sun is that I have this innate understanding of every sport. While I would like to think that I have a basic working knowledge of most of the sports I cover — or at least the ones I have to edit — I must admit that I am no sports wizard.
Last week I had to watch WrestleMania for one of my classes. My professor wanted me to analyze what I saw and apply what we were learning in lecture to see if violent television was related to aggressive behavior in boys. Looking at the assignment, I figured it was simple enough — watch 30 minutes of wrestling, then comment on what I saw. However, WrestleMania is not your grandma’s television.
Staring at my computer, I saw was an artistic spectacle of spandex, overt masculinity and Flo Rida. When I think about wrestling, I think about singlets and Friedman Wrestling Center, not oily men in mankinis hitting each other with chairs. While the assignment only called for me to watch for a half hour, I sat there and watched well over an hour’s worth, including John Cena put a hurting on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It was like roadkill. I couldn’t look away.
While I was fascinated by what I was seeing, I didn’t really have any idea of what was actually going on. To me it seems like a perfectly choreographed dance rather than a real fight. But, it’s not fair for me to judge someone for liking a sport that I’m not a huge fan of.
Pondering the popularity of WrestleMania led me to begin thinking about different sports that I really just don’t know much about. Rounding out the Top-5, in no particular order, are: cricket, synchronized swimming, handball, squash (read: sorry Rishi...) and NASCAR. Over the summer, I watched synchronized swimming during the Olympics (funny story: it was the only Olympic event I watched). While my mom and I joked that the swimmers looked like rainbow-clad mermaids, I could appreciate the hours of training the teams put in. I might not understand what it takes to be a synchronized swimmer, but I have great respect for those athletes.
Personally, I have nothing against the sports that I don’t follow or understand. I think that half the battle of getting into following a sport is understanding what is going on on the field, ice, court or what have you.
Cornell has given me a great education in sports over the past three years — introducing me to soccer and crew, furthering my love for hockey and teaching me what a chukker is in polo. However, while my athletic horizons have expanded, I still think that there is a lot more for me to learn if I want to be a worldly sports connoisseur — starting with baseball. Anyone on the Cornell baseball team want to sit down and explain it to me?