The older I get, the more I’m thinking about childhood and how regularly I once watched sports on television. But slowly over time my interest in following professional sports began to fade, and I watched less and less. Instead, I spent years complaining about guys being paid millions to play a sport, while school teachers and civil servants barely earn a decent living. The new, adult me grew to shun sports as an industry, while the child in me was forced let go of the fun and excitement of watching a great game.
Since staying at my dad’s the past two weeks I find I’m enjoying watching sports again. I’m learning players names, keeping up with statistics, and even willing to sit through the annoying commercials that keep the profitable side of the profession going. I’m also remembering the ball players who were childhood heroes, and realizing the privilege of playing sports for a living while most of us settle for “real work.” Watching The Yankees play baseball lately also has me talking with my dad more like we used to, as my knowledge and the language of the game come back.
Maybe the key to aging gracefully is accepting that people, relationships, or the careers we choose are never perfect. The world revolves around money; some of us make too much, and as long as we support professional athletes and other entertainers, people like ball players, their owners, and advertisers will keep earning more of it. But boycotting something completely that once made us happy, just because it generates a lot of money for some, seems extreme and maybe too adult.
A friend gave me a New York Yankee hat last year, which I’ve been wearing more lately as a tribute to my home state and favorite childhood team. Though my face shows some wear under the brim, putting on a baseball hat still makes my hair, now thinner, stick out on the sides like when I was a kid. We should never forget the value of youth, what it’s like to play, and how following a sport can bring us closer to our friends and families again.