I Prefer My Sports Shallow

I've always loved sports. My first love was the Toronto Blue Jays when I discovered them during the summer of '83. Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth were my guides and I listened as often as possible.

I discovered the Toronto Maple Leafs shortly thereafter, mesmerized by Rick Vaive's scoring touch. My sports diet primarily consisted of baseball and hockey until I started diversifying in the late 80s. Then I was enamoured by Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Jim Kelly's Buffalo Bills. Throw in some tennis, Indy cars, NCAA basketball and Argos and I've been a sports fan ever since.

As I age, I've realized the deeper the dive the less fun it all is for me. I love to watch the Leafs, enjoying our talented rookies, but I don't really care for the new analytics. I appreciate that possession stats are important, but I prefer to stay a step behind. Entertain me, and just win, baby.

With baseball, I enjoy the stats I grew up with. Batting average, HRs, stolen bases, walks, ERA, strikeouts, saves.... Data is important, but I can only absorb so much before it detracts from my enjoyment of the games. When sports stop being fun to follow, it's time to abandon ship. This is precisely what happened to me and football.

I don't know if this makes me less of a sports fan, but I definitely prefer my sports shallow. Today we have instant access to hyper analysis of every minutia. I'm glad it exists, but I'm going to pass.

Go Leafs go.


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Comments (20 - click here to join in!)

Hamish Grant

I've only just come to NFL football as a fan in the last couple of years - maybe it's because I only grew up with it tangentially (i'm 46 and never watched anything but the SuperBowl each year until I started following my chosen team two years ago) ... I'm still learning how all the positions work together and what the plays and rules are, but it's fascinating to me. Perhaps it's because I missed what came before, details-wise, that it is still entertaining to me, while you've become jaded about it.

February 28, 2017 @ 12:48 PM

McNulty

Years ago I remember a broadcast where they revealed the stat that John Olerud had something like the second highest batting average for left handed first basemen in August (or something like that).

That's when I realised I don't need silly stats.

February 28, 2017 @ 1:13 PM

Andrew

Don't care who wins, who loses, who gets injured, who's coming back, point streaks, whatever.... just finish the damn game in a reasonable time :)

Cheers,
Andrew

February 28, 2017 @ 1:17 PM

j

"Entertain me, and just win, baby" - i love this ! i too am a shallow sports fan, some of these basketball players are hella cute (see what I did there...)

I just started basketball this year and the stats are overwhelming. but i am trying to learn at least the basic rules etc - can't say i am any good but too many stats and yes it would get boring.

but i learned something about claiming players off waivers than none of my friends knew before so i was happy about that haha

February 28, 2017 @ 1:51 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about rules. I want to know and understand all the rules, I just don't have time for the microanalysis.

February 28, 2017 @ 3:02 PM

Mark H

*shrugs* It's like geek culture. You can enjoy a Marvel movie or the latest Star Wars/Star Trek adventure without being fanatical about it. Same with sports.

No biggie.

February 28, 2017 @ 3:50 PM

Blind Dave

I'm with @TO Mike on this one. I want to know the rules, understand some strategy, and know the basic stats. I don't need to know anything else to enjoy a game of hockey, baseball, or soccer.

In most cases, though, I don't care who wins or who loses. I lost the fanaticism years ago. Just entertain me.

February 28, 2017 @ 7:53 PM

Sid_V

I agree 100%. I can't even listen anymore to the panels of talking heads breaking down everything to meaningless analytics and stats - I just want to see some wide-open freewheeling play with a healthy dose of athleticism thrown in.

March 1, 2017 @ 7:11 AM

j

in my learning this year, i haven't been able to grasp/focus on the rules. but i think i will get better with them over time once i keep at it. i agree rules are important - didn't mean to convey they were not. otherwise how can you critique most of the plays? so far all i can critique is the fact that some Raptors can't make a 3 to save their lives, or our games.

March 1, 2017 @ 9:29 AM

Justin

For me, analytics have enhanced my viewing of games. Knowing the underlying numbers that account for some of the variables behind a hockey player's performance (such as quality of competition, zone starts, and possession stats) gives me a deeper appreciation of certain players and a deeper understanding of players' games and skillsets. Especially for defencemen, goals and assists can only tell so much of the story.

In the same way that a seasoned hockey coach would appreciate and understand the nuances of hockey in a different way than an average fan would, having a foundational knowledge of key analytics has altered how I understand games and players' performances when I watch them.

March 1, 2017 @ 2:00 PM

John M.

The beauty of sports is that there are many ways to watch it.

I recall my friend in Montreal telling me that he and his brother -- who he didn't see very often -- would go to an Expos game to catch-up on their lives. This was towards the end of the Expos time there. But they could chat and once in a while look up when the (small) crowd cheered.

You can go to baseball in the summer time and drink beer with your buddies and cheer on the home team in the glorious sunshine.

Or you can sit stoically writing down every pitch in your scorebook and going home an analyzing all the stats.

I was in the last category and used statistics to enhance my enjoyment of baseball.

I love the use of advanced statistics but I realize they are not for everyone. I just don't like people who put down those who enjoy and use them.

If you want to cheer for the team in blue because you like blue, I won't make fun of you. Don't make fun of me for not cheering.

March 1, 2017 @ 4:26 PM

stephen

Today is a good day to avoid sports talk radio, and sports channels. Nothing but a bunch of gas bags talking incessantly about what didn't happen on trade deadline day.

Gas bags and talking heads have ruined sports, their redundancy, hyperbole and hypotheticals have made watching sports almost unbearable.

I don't care what the Leafs did or didn't do today.
All that matters to me is what they do on the ice.
Be competitive, win more than they lose, be better than previous season.

Spare me the analytic drivel.
Analytics don't, won't, explain why or how JVR shit the bed last night, coughing up the puck for the Sharks winning goal.
Analytics don't explain Gardiner, helplessly, watching JVR shit the bed.
Analytics won't explain Anderson making tough saves on difficult shots, yet fluff a short side warm-up type shot.

Hopefully the Sharks thanked JVR, Anderson & Gardiner for the 2 points!

March 1, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

Rob J

I remember Joe Morgan crapping on the analytics movement during his hilariously inept stint on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball when, ironically, many of those stats actually elevated his own playing career and went farther to explain his greatness moreso than simply homers and RBI.

March 2, 2017 @ 2:35 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm certainly not anti-analytics or a denier of any sort, just a guy without the time or desire to partake in that aspect of sport.

March 2, 2017 @ 2:40 PM

Rob J

Personally, I'm mildly interested...seems like a way for people who are naturally condescending and patronizing to have yet another outlet. I just thought Morgan would've been more onside, since those stats defined his career.

March 2, 2017 @ 3:25 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob J

Speaking of Morgan, my youngest daughter's name, I learned yesterday about Morgan's department stores that were converted into The Bay.

March 2, 2017 @ 3:29 PM

Rob J

And the thread takes a sharp left 'New Toronto' turn!

March 2, 2017 @ 3:30 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob J

I don't think there was ever a Morgan's in New Toronto. :)

March 2, 2017 @ 3:39 PM

Rob J

Haha...if there ever were, you'd know! (Outside of the TM universe, I still don't think I've ever heard 'New Toronto" in any context)

March 2, 2017 @ 3:44 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob J

It's so new, nobody knows about it yet!

March 2, 2017 @ 3:47 PM

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