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True Story: Sports still consume lives of washed-up champions

A lot of my friends here at Ohio University enjoy doing two things: watching sports and smoking weed.

At the beginning of college, I figured I’d mostly be hanging out with other journalism students.  As it turned out, though, most of the kids I’ve gotten to know here are studying sport management.  They’re former athletes — big guys who could, without much effort, tear off my arms, if they ever felt like it.

They’re all pretty friendly, though — laid-back kids in sweatpants, hoodies and Nike sandals.

I come into their rooms to find them sitting around on a couch watching SportsCenter or a football game. It amazes me how much they know about sports.  Even when outrageously stoned, they’re still able to rattle off statistics, numbers and names and argue about small details while making me feel really stupid.

I wish I knew more about sports, especially football.

My game was soccer.  I made it all the way up to the junior varsity level when I was a sophomore in high school, and depending on whom you asked, I was either the worst or the second-worst player on the team.

That never bothered me all that much, though.  Instead of focusing my energy on improving, I spent most of my time trash-talking the opposing players.  Some kid would juke me out, beating me down the field, and on his way back I’d do my best to make him feel as uncomfortable as possible.

 “You’ve got some really toned calf muscles, by the way.  Anyone ever told you that before?”

“Dude. Stop.”

Then, at the end of the game, as we walked up to shake hands with the other team, I’d give my chosen opponent a good, long stare-down, nodding my head and smiling like a crazy person.

Winking is good, too.  Guys get really uncomfortable when you wink at them.

I guess that’s why I could never imagine myself doing anything sports-related as a career.  The guys who I know were real athletes once upon a time. They were the football stars of their high school.  Now, having been forced into retirement, they get high and sit around the TV, watching other people play.

Maybe one day they’ll be coaches, general managers, commentators or athletic directors.  From what I hear, though, the sports business is a tough one; you’ll get hammered just as often behind the big management desk as you would out on the field.

But so be it.  At the very least, maybe one day these guys will have kids of their own, young sons in football pads who can reignite the old glory.  That is, of course, before those kids are in turn beaten out of the game and forced to take that empty seat on the couch, light up a bowl and just kick back to watch as other athletes perform at a level so high, it’s beyond even their understanding.

 

Evan Smith is a freshman studying journalism and a columnist for The Post.

Email him at es394910@ohiou.edu.

 

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