I’ve mentioned before that I’m a tennis junkie who watches almost every important match played during the year. Unfortunately, I can never watch all of the important matches because I have to attend this dumb thing called school. Most of my college professors allow us to use our laptops during class, so I can simultaneously stream matches and take notes. But high school ain’t so sweet. Teachers are fucking vultures, just gawking at you and waiting to peck you alive for showing the slightest sign of disinterest in their vastly entertaining lectures. (I’m talking specifically about most of the teachers I had at my high school, a place I loathed with 97% of my heart. So please take no offense). Technology is basically taboo. Well, except for that shitty projector thingy they love so much. I’m not even allowed to check the bloody live scores on my phone. But I never gave a shit, of course. Saturday school was a small price to pay for an update on my favorite player’s journey to conquer yet another milestone. Trust me, you’ll find tons of sports fans more obsessive than I.
Shit, I’ve digressed quite drastically from the actual point of this post. I didn’t intend to go on a mini rant about my horrendous high school experience. What I really wanted to say is that my following of a tennis match has zero impact on the outcome of that match. Yet, I still can’t help but believe that if I follow the match, by either watching it or checking the scores, my favorite player (or favorite team in other sports) has a higher chance of winning. In other words, if I stare at the screen long enough the next point is more likely to go Djokovic than Nadal. If I don’t check the scores for 20 minutes, I’m sure Nadal will be up by two breaks. It’s bizarre and completely irrational, and I’m honestly kind of embarrassed for believing that.
But is it really so bizarre to want to be involved in something larger than ourselves, to foolishly overestimate our importance? I don’t think so. We want to feel important in this huge, crowded world. First hand knowledge makes us feel important. That’s why replays are never as impactful as live matches. Because millions of people already know the results. Because millions of people have already celebrated or sobbed with their friends. Because millions of people already witnessed the event before you did, which makes your experience irrelevant.
Take this line, for example: “Dude that’s old news. You’ve only just found out?”
We’ve all heard that before. We’ve all said that before. Apparently we only have a small window of time to make our knowledge of current events relevant. That window is generally 24 hours wide. When it comes to sports, it’s 2 hours wide. The relevance of our knowledge and the importance of our opinion on an event are heavily contingent on the number of people who came upon that event before we did. We can never be the last to discover anything. The least we can do is be one of the first.
This has been a very strange and disorderly post. I’m not sure if any of it made sense at all, but I just think it’s an interesting subject to discuss.