I’ll let everyone in on another little fact about me.
I’m not a huge sports fan. When I say huge, I mean I don’t go online to find updates or watch games every Sunday, or go hardcore for a certain team, and I definitely don’t have names of players memorized and I don’t know what positions people play.
My boyfriend is the exact opposite. We’re almost the exact opposite in everything. He loves sports–you know, things like Soccer and american Football, probably not something like cricket or or golf I don’t think, I’d have to ask. Golf is considered a sport right?
If you know stuff about american Football or you just live in America you’ve probably heard of the Oakland Raiders and that’s the team his family are huge fans of. Now I grew up watching football with my family, particularly on holidays or during playoffs, but we never rooted for specific teams all together. My father rooted for different teams depending on the game, but if a team from California was going against a team from some other state, he’d root for the team from California because he grew up in California–you know, 49ers, Raiders, whatever. My mother grew up rooting for the Lions because she grew up in Michigan.
Yes, you can laugh, it’s fine.
Anyway, I grew up not rooting for anyone. I watched the games but they always took so long my wild brain couldn’t focus on them, especially during slow games or during games where one team blew out the other. I just couldn’t focus on it. I had to be doing something else–writing, reading, thinking, playing games, anything that let my imagination fly a little more than a sports game required.
I liked playing them in school for physical education. I actually fell in love with flag football, although with my anger I would have much preferred to play tackle football. Knock a bitch out. I was the one everyone threw the ball to because I bobbed and weaved and scored and did a dance and flipped everyone off.
I never flipped them off, I would have got in trouble.
Had I been less anxious , I probably would have tried several sports teams. I probably would have tried out for football. We had one girl on the team and she was big and she could truck the shit out of you. Too bad she didn’t ever get put in. I could have scored some touchdowns if people just threw me the ball. I could have had two people on my ankles and I would have dragged them into the end-zone with me.
Our high school football team was embarrassing. The first game I ever saw we lost 54 to 7 or something.
So I grew up around sports, but never got attached to them in ways some people do.
Imagine my surprise when I found out how adamant of a fan my boyfriend was and how adamant of fans his entire family was. I knew I’d be introduced to sports culture.
I’m honestly surprised at how fun it can be.
I’m not a jump out of my chair, scream, hop, and almost break my neck find of person at games. I might clap and cheer at the most. Obviously–I have social anxiety, I’m not going to be one to point myself out in a crowd even if the crowd around me is doing the same thing.
It’s funny I’m rarely anxious sitting in the crowd at a stadium that holds so many people and makes bank and therefore tries to make you feel at home, like you’re part of their profit when you’re never going to be. During time outs and halftime and stuff, that’s what I do by the way. I look around the stadium at all the people and I look at the giant screens advertising things calling everyone part of the family and emphasizing the importance of loyalty and it makes you feel like a part of something and I’d say that’s a sure fire way to keep your wallets open. I know most people are just fans enjoying their team and rooting for their team but do they see the creepy factor of it? The George Orwell kind of “Big Brother” factor of it telling you to be “Loyal” and “you’re part of our family” kind of creepiness?
I’m being 100% serious. I saw an advertisement promoting loyalty.
It’s creepy. I’m sorry, it’s creepy. It’s like a cult.
You’re the one spending all the money and they’re the one making all the money and the only thing your loyalty gets you is 10 percent off a keychain or something.
That being said, it doesn’t make anything less enjoyable. I actually enjoy being in the stadium with all the energy and the people (yes, even the people) and I like watching the little football players running around like crazy people and leaping on top of each other and getting pissed as fuck when a play gets ruined. I like how you can be anticipating one thing and the exact opposite of what you hoped happens. It’s exciting as hell!
Just because I don’t jump around and act like I have rabies does not mean I’m not enjoying myself. I just enjoy myself in a different way. Because I’m different. That’s just who I am and even when I get my social anxiety under control, I’ll still be that way. I’ll still be the one analyzing the creepy factor of the sports culture and sitting quietly and if you EEG’d my brain you’d see I’m enjoying every moment of it to the same degree the dude across the aisle who gulps beer and screams “fuck yeah motherfucker! Fuck the Chiefs! Fuck you!” and jumps around and hugs the people next to him in a moment of fan-to-fan bonding is.
I don’t mind rooting for the Raiders regardless of whether they win a lot or lose a lot. Their clothing and hats just happen to be my style, they know how to rock the right music at the stadium, and hey there’s always a lot of different kinds of people at the games–black, white, Hispanic, whatever, it’s always a good amount of different cultures.
But there is one thing I draw the line at:
Living in Oakland, California.
That’s about as likely to happen as me shoving a spoonful of tarantula babies in my mouth.
We don’t live very far from there, maybe an hour and a half or so, but fuck. That. Shit. Straight up. It’s time for the half ghetto part of me to come out. I ain’t living in a place where motherfuckers get shot walking their dog in the hills in broad daylight for no apparent reason. They didn’t even rob the dude! They shot him and left him! In the supposed “good part” of town! Fuck that. Fuck. That.
My boyfriend always says he wants to live in Oakland and I’m like that’s so cool, I hope I can visit you often because if there were only two towns in the world and I had to choose between living in my tiny ass, beach-ass, boring-ass town where the biggest attraction is a boardwalk with old ass wooden roller coasters for the rest of my life, and living in a city where I’m 100% sure the zombie apocalypse Crips and Bloods dictate people’s lives, I’d choose my tiny ass town.
Yes, it’s nice the majority population is African American in Oakland. It is not nice the majority of the city is ghetto as fuck. Whatever happened with Oakland? I’d like some history on it. It’s not ghetto because there’s a lot of black people. Something must have happened historically for it to be so ghetto.
Like how cities were red-lined back in the day as “dangerous” and that’s why suburbs emerged–“come live here white people, away for those dangerous ethnic people. They might rob you. We’ve got the perfect house for you on the outskirts of town”.
And that’s why suburbs are often named “white suburbia”. Because it was made for white people. And just as another side note, for all the people who say “everyone has an equal opportunity to come up in America”, tell me how is it equal if you grew up in an apartment with unstable parents crippled by debt and had to start working when you were fourteen to help pay the pills and therefore sacrificed your education compared to someone who grew up in a house with two parents and a picket fence and got help with their homework because their parents went to college or at least finished high school? Who do you think will have a determined type of mindset? Who do you think will be encouraged to make something of themselves? Who do you think has more of an opportunity to be around people who have made something of themselves?
It’s not about race. I don’t care if the apartment kid was white and the house kid was black. If you grew up in a suppressed environment, your drive and your motivation is going to take some time to conjure and you’ll be more likely to make uneducated decisions than your counter-part. That’s just a fact of life.
Anyway, that was a tangent.
Stadiums are simultaneously exciting and creepy, I enjoy going to games, my social anxiety isn’t too bad at them, I just won’t talk or scream or break my neck, and I’ll never live in Oakland.
End of discussion.