Belly of the Whale: Picking Teams Jan01

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Belly of the Whale: Picking Teams


A blogumn by Howard Leder

nflhelmetsThis New Year, I’ve decided to shake it up a little in the resolutions department.  Sure, I have the same typical burning desire to lose some weight & completely renovate my life, but I’m keeping those to myself. 

This year, the resolution I’m making public is this: I’m picking teams.

I’ve decided to pick a team in each of the three big American sports: football, basketball and baseball – with an added team for college football – and then follow them for a year.

I’ve never really followed sports at all.  Truth to tell, I’ve always been rather horrified by them.  As a youngster, my involvement in sports tended to be kind of grudging – grudging on the part of the other kids.  They would allow me to play positions like deep, deep left field, safely shielded behind someone else who was actually covering the left field duties.  Once deployed to my position, I felt less than useless – I couldn’t catch, I couldn’t throw – so I would feign maladies typically reserved for Victorian ladies, like migraine headaches or a severe case of the vapors. “I think I need to spend this inning on the bench,” I’d gasp, fanning myself with my baseball glove.

But the past couple months, I watched the complete Season One of the show Friday Night Lights…and I loved it.  And not just the soap opera, family drama aspect of it, but the football as well.  To my surprise, I found myself getting into the competitive, nail biting tension of team, spectator sports.

Part of my difficulty with these games is I have no idea what’s going on.

I once went to a Seattle Mariners game with someone who actually understood the inner game of baseball & kept up a running commentary the whole time.  It was a revelation & I found myself really following it for the first time with the eyes of a fan, beyond just he hits the ball with the bat – or in my case: he swings and misses.

This past summer as I watched the Olympics – shouting along at home the whole time – I realized maybe I could learn to like sports if I just knew who & what I was cheering.

Everyone I work with seems to have a favorite team.  My boss follows the Detroit Lions.  “Endless heartbreak,” he says, but he stays with them.  They’re his way in, his window on the whole game.  So I decided I needed a team too.

Since I don’t really know anything about the various teams, I’m basing my picks on purely arbitrary factors, like which team has the coolest uniform or the foxiest players.  I’ve also decided they need to have a kind of old-guard charm to them: no expansion teams & no nouveau cities like Denver or Seattle.  So Philly could work, Tampa Bay would not.

I’ve decided to solicit suggestions for teams from the Fierce & Nerdy readership.  If you have an idea for which teams I should pick, please post them in the comments below.  After the New Year, I’ll follow up with the final results.
. Photo Credit: Larry He’s So Fine