Although I’m not much of a sports fan myself, once of a while I get a glimpse of why it plays such an important role in American society.
The first time I really “got it” was when the Arizona Diamondbacks were in the World Series in 2001. I watched each game on TV – except Game 6, which I saw in person – and also watched the recap on the news afterward and read the sports pages the following morning. I knew the players’ names and being at Game 6, which I was fortunate to attend with friends and my Dad, felt like experiencing a piece of a history. I thought it was going to be a turning point for me in my connection to sports, but by the next season, my passion already subsided.
Even now I’m the kind of person who prefers the Super Bowl commercials and half-time show over the actual game, but for that week in 2001, I understood why people devoted so much time to whatever sport they follow. It makes you feel like you a part of something bigger and feel a camaraderie with other people in your community.
My grandfather used to have two televisions in his living room, right next to each other, so he could watch two games at the same time (he would have loved the “picture-in-picture” feature). There will likely be many people following the game on two screens even today – the TV supplemented with their smartphone. I have childhood memories of my dad watching sports games, screaming at or cheering the players on the screen and I just heard one of my sons cheering on the players as my older sons are watching this year’s Super Bowl – the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the New England Patriots – with their dad and grandpa. (My youngest is in another room watching “Puppy Bowl 2018” instead).
Watching sports is a good multi-generational pastime
One thing that makes watching sports a good multi-generational pastime is that it offers an opportunity for the older generation to teach the younger generation. If the grandfather or grandmother is a longtime sports fan, they likely have lots of interesting information about past games for the young sports fan. In today’s society, with so much new technology and a quickly changing definition of “what’s cool,” it seems the older generation is always struggling to keep up with their grandchildren.
Watching sports, with its set rules, seems to be a good opportunity for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren without having to play video games or having to use any new technology (especially if the TV is already on when they come over so they don’t have to worry about which of the four remotes they should use to turn the TV on.) (I would like to disclose here that as of this past year, both of the kids’ grandparents now use a smartphone so they are on their way to embracing new technology).
Families also tend to bond over food – and according to news reports, Americans are expected to eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day except Thanksgiving.
The game is now on – Pink sounded great singing the National Anthem! – and soon there will be commercials and eventually Justin Timberlake’s halftime show, so time to go join the party.