Anyone who knows me knows that sports has played and continues to play a roll in my life.
I am a fan of the New York Mets baseball team, all Brigham Young University athletics and the New York Giants football team. Playing and coaching baseball is still a passion of mine, and I enjoy hitting the links with my son from time to time.
I enjoy watching sports, and playing a sports-themed game periodically.
However, if you would have asked me to write this same column, say, seven years ago, that list would have been longer. It was a much bigger part of my life.
You see, there comes a time when you have to trim your sports tree. You can't watch everything. I used to enjoy the NBA, now I hardly blinked during the playoffs. Hockey - I watched one game all year - game seven of the Stanley Cup finals.
With this, I have also found that I have transitioned from a "sports fan" to a "fan of sports." These two terms are quite different.
A fan of sports appreciates the game and, while still using sports as an escape from the real world, realizes that his life does not end if his favorite team loses a game.
A sports fan, well, that's a little different. Here are some examples:
Fan of sports: Knows that the officials are human, capable of mistakes, and that one or two missed calls most likely do not effect the outcome of a game.
Sport fan: Believes the NBA is rigged, Major League umpires have it out for their team and that it was the ref's fault that their children's high school team lost by 30.
Fan of sports:Respects the other team, shows courtesy and respect after the game, much like when fans cheered former UVM goalie Tim Thomas when he was named the Con Smythe (playoff MVP) winner after game seven in Vancouver.
Sports fan: Was outside the arena in Vancouver, turning over cars, breaking windows and making a fool out of a city that is one of the best in the Pacific northwest, and the host of the last Olympiad.
Fan of sports: Realizes that it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication for these athletes to attain what they have.
Sport fan: "LeBron James is a bum! He can't play in the big game. How is he even in the NBA!"
Fan of sports: Respects an athlete's privacy.
Sports fan: "Mr. Jeter, can I have your autograph."
"Sure, sir. Just let me finish using the toilet first."
Fan of sports: Encourages their children to do their best in whatever sport they choose to play and support the team in any way that they can.
Sports fan: Pushes little Bobby toward basketball because that is the sport he enjoyed growing up and believes that, so what if Bobby can't dribble or shoot, he should be a starter or the coach does not know the game.
Fan of sports: May disagree with a call or a move by a head coach or manager, but realizes it is just a game.
Sports fan: Writes an anonymous opinion section stating that the referee that was responsible for the 30-point blowout or the coach that won't start Bobby should be fired and shamed for eternity.
I could go on, but I think that paints the picture. Now I am not saying that I sometimes do not have flashbacks (Terry Collins as Mets manager?). It is a long road to detox from being a sports fan to a fan of sports.
But I'm getting there.
Keith Lobdell is the editor of the Valley News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org