This habit wasn’t tough to break
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
It’s tough to break a habit, whether that habit is good or bad.
That being said, every now and then I get the urge.
It is difficult to say “no” on the first Friday night of the football season. Likewise, post-season tournaments and their excitement are enticing.
Thus far, however, I have not yielded and don’t see that changing.
In a former life, I stood in the snow on late fall nights, swept gym floors with the seat of my pants in many counties, waded through ankle-deep water in the spring and batted away flies and mosquitoes in the summer.
The elements went with the territory of being a sports editor.
I did it for so many years that there were people who actually thought sports were the blood that ran through my veins.
Many times following a game, a fan would come up and say, “You like sports so much, you would be here even if it weren’t part of your job, wouldn’t you?”
That question always brought an affirmative nod and a smile.
Sports had been a part of my life for so long that it was second nature. When I wasn’t covering it, I was watching it, participating in it or coaching it.
When I opted to move to the other side of the room and handle news, I still kept my hand in sports, taking photos.
Some people, I guess, never noticed the difference. I still hear from people who remember “when I did the sports” even though I never did sports at that particular location.
Over the last decade, things have changed. I no longer bleed sports.
The other night as I was walking into my residence, I heard the public address announcer at Evans Field. It hit me — sports and I was not there. That immediately sent me into a reflective mood.
I thought about how few athletic contests I have gone to in the past three years. I think I could number them on my fingers with one hand to spare.
Something happened in the twilight of my sports career that I have been unable to overcome.
I had been covering sports for over 20 years before my children became volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball and track participants. Once they did, it became a new ballgame.
Their participation added something extra to the events. I had somebody to watch. Not only did I watch them, but I watched their friends. I had coached most of them at one time or another during their sports careers so there was a bond.
Sports became more than pick-and-rolls, blitzes and double plays. Sports became special.
Now the kids are gone (save for one who is in her senior year 300 miles away). There is no special interest and there is no one to watch.
For a time, I thought maybe it was just me. I talked to a friend who also had coached and watched his kids during their athletic careers. He told me that he, too, rarely goes to any events any longer. He said his interest has waned because there is nobody to watch.
I don’t know if his answer made me feel better but it reinforced my theory.
When attending those sporting events, I would see other parents watching their kids. However, when the kids graduated, so did the parents — on to other things.
They were replaced by a new set of parents, sitting in the stands for just a spell, until their sons and daughters graduated.
It isn’t that my view of sports has changed. I still watch plenty of it on television. But it is much easier, less expensive and more comfortable watching Hawkeye football and basketball from my recliner than nosebleed country with the wind howling.
The same goes for high school sports. I don’t miss those nights standing in the rain and snow, sitting on cold gymnasium floors or swatting bugs in the sweltering heat. I will leave those jobs to the younger set.
An old adage said you could take the kid away from the farm but couldn’t take the farm from the kid.
For me, it is the same, in a different venue, you can take me away from sports and no longer do jump shots, singles or touchdowns run through my veins. It was a great ride but the train has stopped.
See you at the game.