Musing on Boredom and Conversion

I have not been posting much lately and that is because my usual writing slot is the late night shift, a shift that does not do well with my recent fortnight of 4am west coast wakeups in order to be up and sprightly for World Cup soccer. I am not the world’s biggest soccer fan, not even close. I support my local team, but do not follow an adopted European team or anything.

I feel both a sort of kinship between being a soccer fan and being a baseball fan and at the same time a complete separation between the two. Soccer supporters are known for rowdiness while baseball fans have become a sedate bunch. Baseball offers an endless about of quantifiable information while soccer is all fluid. However, both sports seem to have boredom listed as their number one distraction. This despite the average baseball game has more game action than the average football game and despite soccer having that ever-running clock.

What it comes down, I think is that any sport seems boring unless you have some sort of interest in it, no matter the inherent quality of activity that is going on. Car racing is almost non-stop action, but I cannot stand watching it. Basketball has tons of scoring but I watch the final three minutes take 20 minutes to play and I’m cursing at the TV set for the teams to stop calling timeouts and just play. I know I am not alone and I know there are people out there literally 180 degrees different.

I think going from soccer neophyte to genuine soccer fan has made me consider what gets me, and possibly others, interested in a sport. I believe there is a tendency to end up entrenched in strong opinions about areas that we have little expertise in. A belief that opinions on matters should be formed instantly and then never changed. Sports radio might be to blame, or media in general, or thousands of possible influences.

Regardless, we should all strive to open ourselves up more. Not just reconsidering viewpoints that we didn’t agree with, but also to viewpoints that didn’t agree with us. Baseball is boring many people say. We don’t think so. We find endless avenues in this game to fascinate us. Next time somebody criticizes the sport, consider sharing what you love about it. What is it about baseball that gets you to watch every day?

Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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12 years ago

What is “boring” for most non-baseball fans is many times the most interesting for real fans. Why does a pitcher throw to first over and over and over. For non fans that is boring, real fans know why this is happening. Why change pitchers over and over and over, sometimes in the same inning? Again more boredom for non fans but real fans know why this happens.

It’s the strategy during the “boring” times that keeps me watching, analyzing and sometimes second-guessing. Everyone, fans and non-fans can enjoy the home run, the close play at the plate, but only true die-hard fans can enjoy the “boring” times.

12 years ago
Reply to  Chris

I think I qualify as a “real” fan, and I definitely think the pitcher throwing over to first over and over is not very interesting.

I’m not sure I can say exactly why I love baseball so much. It’s a combination of many things, which leads me to say “I just do” and smile.

12 years ago
Reply to  Patrick

I think Chris is right but provided perhaps not the best example of why – the nonstop tosses to first can get pretty tedious. But I agree that the minutiae of the game are far more fascinating to the serious fan, especially in this age of technology and advanced statistical analysis. There’s just no limit to what we can observe, analyze, and dissect and discuss, and for some of us, there’s a lot of joy in that.

12 years ago
Reply to  Patrick

second this

12 years ago
Reply to  Patrick

I think it depends on your personality. I think if you’re a generally curious person, baseball isn’t that boring.

You just have to ask the right questions and give the effort to seek the answers.