Music vs. Sports: 1 on 1

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February 25, 2013 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

A fan once asked Chuck Klosterman which he would rather live without for the rest of his life, music or sports, two of Klosterman’s biggest passions.  For someone, who tries to rank everything in his life in some kind of order, I naturally had to take the question onto myself.[1]  If I had to give up one over the other, music or sports, for the rest of my life which one would I give up?  Which is more important to me, the thrill of watching the Yankees win the World Series, or the excitement of listening to Physical Graffiti for the first time?  One has to mean more than the other, even if it’s only by a negligible amount.  After about a week of mulling over my answer to a question that was not even directed towards me, I’ve finally figured it out.

Before I divulge myself[2] I have to contextualize and explain how I came to my conclusion.  Music is my first love, the first real thing that I gravitated towards that I could call my own.  During the awkward years of 7th-10th grade, I defined myself by the music I listened to; it was a way to craft an identity for myself in a way that I thought was reflective of myself.  Music is my high school sweetheart, the one girl who after years of not seeing her, I would still be in love with, and continue to be a fool for.  Sports in a sense then, is my mistress.  When I want to have a good time, or when the music is just too heavy or deep, I go blow off steam and immerse myself in games and stats.  Even though music might mean more to me, sports are more exciting and more fun.

Music, I can be myself around, I can be fired up, passionate, and hyper, but at the same time, she’ll still be there for me when I’m upset, or pensive, or sad.  For sports, there’s really only excitement and joy from winning on one hand, and anger and misery on the other.  Regardless of the outcome, it still draws an excited and manic response from me, whereas with music, it’s ok with seeing more sides of me.  It doesn’t just want to see one side of me.  That goes for everyone, regardless of the outcome, I’ve never seen anyone cry at a sports game, but at the same time I’ve seen people cry while listening to a song.[3]  Music is innately more emotional than sports are, but sports are more dynamic in nature.  Music I’m myself around, but with sports I’m always in fan mode.  What most people don’t understand about sports is that sports means something more than itself.  Each Superbowl victory, each Finals appearance, each World Series trophy means something different than the rest.  It becomes a matter of what went into it, who was there, how it happened, and so on and so forth.

Most of the women in my life have been big music buffs; I don’t think that’s coincidental.  It’s a shared interest through which a connection is forged, even if they don’t like Led Zeppelin or hate the Red Hot Chili Peppers, there’s still a mutual respect for the passion that is elicited from the music.  There’s something to be shared from that.  That’s how it is with music though, if you love it, you’ll know everything there is to know about your favorite band, or album, or song.  With sports there are different degrees.  Loving sports means many different things; it could mean watching the games, only following your team, enjoying a broad range of sports, or trying to know every stat imaginable.  Two people might love sports but in two different ways.  Someone who’s a big Knicks fan might not have any idea or care for hearing inane theories about how not resigning Xavier McDaniel after the 1991-92 season cost them the 1994 Finals.[4]  But chances are anyone waiting on line to meet Slash at a book signing could tell you everything there was to know about Guns N’ Roses including concert dates from 20 years ago, unreleased songs and other such sweet tidbits.

Music is my soul, but sports are my heart.  I’d die without sports, but I couldn’t live without music (hyperbole).  One is number one and the other is number two, it’s just a matter of which is which.  Would I rather see Eli Manning beat the undefeated Patriots, or would I rather know that the Rolling Stones exist?  With sports it’s finding the meaning in between the numbers and memorable plays, and with music it’s finding the feelings between lyrics and guitar riffs.  Each carry weight and define who I am, but in two different ways.  Music knows me more broadly and deeply, but sports have seen me at my best (the elation of winning) and worst (the torment of defeat) more frequently.

To answer this question Klosterman rationalized that he loved music since he was 14, but loved sports since he was 10, and therefore would choose to live with sports over music.  For me, I’ve been in love with sports since I was 17, but I’ve been in love with music since I was 13.  The Yankees have always been a constant in my life, but I didn’t really understand and appreciate them and my own fandom towards them until they missed the playoffs.  As soon as I heard “Californication” for the first time at age 9, I intuitively just, knew it.  It meant something, something more than what all the other songs that a nine year old in 2000 would listen too, but I didn’t know what.  So if I had to choose one over the other, I’m going music, my first love, over sports, my thrilling and captivating mistress.

[1] I think the absurdity of some of the “Top 10’s” prove this point quiet vividly.

[2] That sounds incredibly sinister of me to say.

[3] I’ve also seen people play music specifically so they can cry to it.  In all honesty that’s probably one of the strangest things I will ever see.

[4] This is absolutely true however.  Maybe this theory will see print one day…


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