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20 – What’s left of the Sport’s guy I once was

12 December, 2011

You'll never completely out when you've been a sport fanatic

Even if I self-appointed, and with good reasons, a (non) ordinary man at his midpoint, my rapport with sports is not very different from a typical teenager. And the beginning of the NBA season put me in front of the evidence, that even my attitude as sport fanatic has changed, even if my emotional attachment this addiction is taking away from me are far less than it used to be, even if I am more detached, I must admit I am not out of the tunnel yet.

Surely times where my weekly schedule lay his foundation on football, then other sports, then whatever was left on spare time, are luckily gone. The website of Gazzetta dello Sport is still part of my bookmark bar, but my daily tour is usually just a quick look through the home page and maybe I click o a couple of articles. That’s it.

The attitude I follow football and all sports in now the same I follow any other news. I want to know about results, I don’t care to watch any highlights, let alone interviews or comments. I even quit gambling, a pastime I had fun for years, without luckily being involved on the point to put big money. Message boards become boring to me since I have started moderating discussions as a job. With people I met for real, I avoid sports topic, pretending I don’t know.

The satisfaction I feel for a win of Milan or a defeat from Inter or Juventus is more and more ephemeral, and since I don’t watch games anymore, I barely know names of the players. Since the beginning of the football season in late August I only watched the two Champions League clashes between AcMilan and Barcelona, more for the joy to admire el Barca that to root for my team, and 30′ minutes of Napoli-Manchester City.

To be honest I still enjoy watching games, as I’d love to keep playing, but I have other priorities. There are really few other sports events that drain my interest: for instance this year I rooted for Francesca Schiavone in her attempt to bis her deed at Roland Garros and I hoped fro a miracle at rugby World Cup when Italy faced Australia and Ireland. In short I am almost completely detoxified. If only there was not NBA basketball..

Basket was always my second sport after football. I used to like watch and play. NBA became a real passion at the end of 1999, while I was working for a company that organize fantasy football games. Part of my duties was to test fantasy competitions around the web, and when I start playing fantasy NBA, with games scheduled every day and a massive use of statistics, I felt it compared to Fantasy football as Champions League compare to Italian league after the big scandal of Calciopoli.

I have been a fierce Fantasy NBA player for three seasons. I retired at my best, after finishing 9th overall a tournament organized by Thesportingnews with more than tw hundred thousands competitors and with the accomplishment of being at the top of the table during the All Star Game break, at two third into the season. On contrary to expectations, since I quit my attachment to NBA has only grew up.

It’s a little bit funny, because I didn’t watch many games. Before I start travelling I didn’t miss the an appointment with games commented by Flavio Tranquillo and Federico Buffa, by far the best between who I use to call colleague. Since I was never assigned to follow basket in the places I worked, I never had the chance to meet them in Italy, but only at the All star game in Philadelphia. I had the impression they are also good people, on contrary for instance of my old colleagues at la Gazzetta, who I don’t give names, only surnames: Guida and Chiabotti, arrogant like and more of all the components of their class: the category of losers.

In many years of incurable fan, the way I used to feed my obsession were chatting with friends, stadiums and television to assists games and press to prepare and relive the events. In case of NBA, almost everything happen on internet. Nights refreshing game center on ESPN, mornings analyzing scoreboards in details, days following rumors on Twitter, highlights videos, blog post and discussions, and the unmissable columns of Bill Simmons, The Sports guy. Even when I watch games, I usually do on streaming.

I always hated haters, but I am pride to say I am a Lebron James hater. See him losing NBA finals and at the same time see Dallas win, a classical team of underdogs and overachiever, has been not only the sport emotion of the year, but surely one of the most exciting of the decade.

Right after the finals has begun the lock-out, so the season, that usually start at the end of October, this year will begin on Christmas day. During the lockout, that I follow indeed with indifference, I wouldn’t expect being suddenly again so attached once it was over and the season finally began few days ago.

In my intentions in this post I wished to offer some thoughts on how you could still be a sports guy at the age of 40 without being an incurable Peter Pan. And of course the impact of working for ten years as a sport journalist in my passion. But I have just realized that only telling how I use to follow and follow now sports I have already passed the one thousand words, a limit, if you are not Bill Simmons, my six readers are already willing to move to something else. So I finish here. At least I have more time to catch latest NBA rumors. JJ Barea a T-wolves: Khaaaaaaaaan?


Bill Simmons, the Sports guy


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