Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If Only (in which I have regrets)

The college basketball pre-season started last night with KU soundly trouncing Washburn. That's not newsworthy, but it got me thinking about sports in general. Basketball is the only sport I have ever cared about at all. In particular, I despise football. It's boring. It's grown men running around trying to knock each other down on purpose. Although I recognize that most sports have a "warlike" element to them, it seems really obvious in football, and it makes me kind of ill. Being forced to watch football makes me twitchy.

When I was a young teenager, I belonged to a church youth group that had a Super Bowl party every year. I only went one year, was deathly bored, and never went again. I hated football so much that I simply could not endure four or five hours of it, even if it meant I was hanging out with my friends.

But now (you knew I would work around to this) I knit. Knitting makes so many boring things bearable. Recently, I went over to my mom's for dinner and she had golf on the television. My mother likes to watch golf. I don't know why. I think she's secretly jealous of the perfectly green lawns. I do not like golf. Normally I would immediately start whining: "This is booooring. There has to be something better on." As soon as I could, I would snag the remote and check TCM. The stupidest old western is better than golf. At least there's a story, no matter how inane.

But on this day, I had my knitting with me. I don't remember what I was working on, but I pulled it out and started stitching. And suddenly golf didn't suck. I got involved. I watched the players. I appreciated the beauty of the swing, was happy for the players when they made good shots. I was downright gleeful when one of them knocked the little white ball in the small hole and the announcer informed us he was "under par," whatever that means. Apparently it's a good thing, so I was happy.

Eventually I came to a stopping place on the project and it was almost time to start dinner, so I put my knitting down.

Suddenly golf sucked again.

I hated it. My fingers, no longer restrained by yarn, started twitching toward the remote.

I don't understand the effect that knitting has on brain chemistry, but there's no doubt that it is calming. Occasionally someone will make a comment to me about how they would never have the patience to knit. "I don't knit because I already have patience," I tell them. "Knitting gives me patience."

All this makes me wonder whether I could've borne those youth group Super Bowl parties if I had just known how to knit. If I had learned to knit sooner (or at least taken it seriously; technically I already did know how to knit), I might've been able to withstand five hours of grown men knocking each other down. Although those teenagers (one or two in particular) would've given me grief for doing something as dorky as knitting, the knitting itself would've given me the grace to smile serenely in the face of good-natured taunts, and would've made it possible to spend that time with my friends and maybe learn to see what they saw in football. More importantly, it might've given me the space and time to learn what was worthwhile in them, something I was too impatient to bother with at the time.

I hope someone invites me to a Super Bowl party this year. I figure five hours of people running into each other on national television is probably worth a little over half a sock.

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