On any other day, if you had asked me what the most important constant is, my answer would have been π (followed closely by e). That said, frame of reference can be a funny thing. Last week, after I had written my final post for the week but before I went out for the weekend, I found my daily cache near Downs-Mabson Field in East Austin. I’d been there before for a cache, but the old one was gone and a newer one had been placed nearby. A short traipse down the adjoining trail led me to the appropriate tree. When I logged it, I happily gave it a favorite point, for being both clever (which is nice to see from newer cachers) and thematically appropriate. Even more interestingly …
… there was a game! Local Huston-Tillotson was playing a visiting team. I decided to take a minute, sit in the stands and watch for a bit.
I’m not really a sports person. The last time I followed football, Roger Staubach was still playing. The last time I followed basketball, Sampson and Olajuwon were the NBA’s Twin Towers, not those other Johnny-come-latelies. Being from Texas, I’m not someone you would expect to be a hockey person, but I used to like the Canadiens back when Roy was their goalie. When Savard went to the Blackhawks, my least favorite team (because it was my buddy’s favorite), it just about broke my heart. That said, with the exception of the occasional Superbowl (mostly because of barbeque and ads), you will never find me parked in front of a television to watch a sporting event. It’s too passive an experience to see a bunch of millionaires on television playing a game to generate advertising and merchandising revenue for billionaires.
Further, my identity is not so attached to anything that I feel the need to see a team virtually represent me in a conflict and vicariously enjoy their hopefully victorious efforts. But being there in person changes all that. I’ve seen the Blackhawks play the Stars in Dallas, and that was a heck of a game (and a heck of a fight—seventeen penalty minutes and double ejection for three different players?!?). I’ve seen the Longhorns destroy other teams at Texas Memorial. If I could, I would love to see some Negro League games and, if I was lucky, watch Satchel Paige outpitch the best of the best. Besides, there’s something to be said about being out on a warm day, a breeze against your face, a beverage in your hand, enjoying the competition, soaking in the energy of the fans rooting for their team. It is nothing if not intoxicating. Most importantly, you are there to experience it, not parked in a recliner seeing what a camera operator or sportscaster thinks you should see.
There are some who consider Geocaching to be a sport. I don’t entirely agree with that assessment, but if the IOC can consider chess and bridge to be sports, there’s no reason caching can’t be (it’s at least physical, while the others are mind sports). But more importantly, it’s not passive. You go to that place. You lift that lamp post skirt. You make that hike.
You do it. Experience is everything. And the doing is even better than watching the Boys of Summer.
2 thoughts on “The One Constant”
Sampson and Olajuwon were the Houston Rocket’s Twin Towers. David Robinson and Tim Duncan were the Spurs’. But you are not much into the sportsball, so you are forgiven. Carry on.
[ABUSE OF EDITORIAL POWERS] What mistake? 😛