Friday, May 09, 2014

Transactions vs. Action

As a sports fan, I’m prone to choosing sports radio as a kind of default option when involved with certain tasks like mowing the lawn (discussed yesterday), cleaning stalls, errand-running, and the like.

Back in the day we were all confined to listening to the local guys yammer on about local teams. (Actually, if I think far enough back I can remember days when sports radio was a unique option on the AM dial where you were more apt to hear music or news.) But now we’ve got our smart phones and internet and can pretty much pick whatever we want when it comes to sports radio.

It’s nonstop, too, airing round the clock with thousands of stations all running at once. It’s kind of overwhelming the actual sports about which everyone is talking, really. And the games obviously don’t provide enough to fill all that time, so other aspects of sports tend to help fill up all of those hours.

Lately I’ve been listening more and more to Dan Le Batard’s show out of Florida, which is often quite good (and funny). Yesterday I had his show on while doing some work around the farm, and he was expressing a lot of angst over all of the NFL draft jibber jabber this week. I feel exactly the same way, not caring in the least about the draft, and so was keen to hear Le Batard express a similar view.

One line in particular stood out for me from what he had to say about the overkill in coverage of the draft, an observation that kind of put it into a larger context regarding how people tend to follow sports these days.

“Transactions have replaced action in sports,” said Le Batard, here referring in particular to the draft and side stories of trades and so on. He went on to explain how it was not just the business of sports that seem to occupy so many so much, but also fantasy sports which allow fans to play at the business of sports, building their own teams, making their own trades, and so on.

I’ve written here before about how fantasy sports don’t really do it for me. Le Batard and I come from roughly the same generation, I think, and so we both grew up watching sports in the same way -- more focused on the action than the transactions. I’m intrigued by trades and even the business side of sports sometimes, but it is never as compelling as the games themselves for me.

Sometimes I think with poker there’s a similar phenomenon wherein a large number of players and others -- we’ll put them all under the heading of “enthusiasts” -- get more involved with various contexts for the game than the game itself, including the business of poker, legal issues, and other dramas that arise fairly frequently thanks to the wide variety of characters the game attracts. Or it could be I just feel that way after being relatively out of “action” for so long (i.e., without an online account or a ready live venue in which to play).

Looks like the draft is on again. At least there’s an NBA playoff game coming on in an hour.

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