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for a long while, i didn’t give a damn about sports at all.  i grew up watching basketball with my mom, but once the game seemed to change, she went from turning on a game two or three times a week to pretty much not watching at all anymore.  the shorts had gotten longer, the players had gotten greedier and more showy, and teams on the whole seemed to be moving the ball less and featuring shoot-first players with big stat columns and little idea of how basketball was supposed to be played.  at least, that’s how i remember my mom feeling about it.  but by the time i was fully obsessed with comics, i’d lost interest in sports.  i’d played a bunch of different ones when i was younger, and my mom was completely behind me–but once i was locked into wanting to make comics, sports was out of the picture and i wasn’t watching anything anymore.  many years went by and i didn’t watch a game.  through high school, through college and after college, my life was changing so much and so fast that sports couldn’t get through to me.  i didn’t need another thing to care about.

after i moved to oregon, my life slowed down fast.  after my first year at art school was over, i got my job at molly’s, met my wife-to-be and started drawing my first comic–all within about two weeks.  i’m still hanging with those three things daily, almost seven years later, and they’ve been so big and important that they’ve structured my life into routines.  my comics routine was pretty strict for a while.  in the first few years i was making comics, as i’ve mentioned before, i ended up pushing myself to a pace that wasn’t sustainable.

when i realized this and backed away a little, i started to let things besides comics vie for my attention, too.  not consciously, i don’t think.  there wasn’t a moment where i was deciding to spend less time on comics and more time on distractions.  but i did let myself watch more movies, have more free time with sorren, exercise, etc.  and eventually i would catch myself on closing shifts at molly’s, sitting at the bar with my close-out, and my finger would idle over the calculator for an hour while i watched the end of a tight blazer game.  i didn’t even know a dude on the team then.  but 1100 miles from my mom’s living room, if i was watching a good blazer game, the excitement made me think of her and how much fun we had watching games together.  and i found the blazers, like a lot of things in portland, really easy to like.

so i started watching more games.  and that has snowballed.  since getting into cycling, i’ve been following that.  i had so much fun throwing a super-bowl party one year, mostly in jest, that i got into the game (another one i watched when i was younger, though mostly with my cousin) and have been watching a little of it, too.

the irresistible thing about sports to me is the drama and the passion.  any contest at the professional level is the meeting of people who have sacrificed absolutely everything to be where they are.  they all crave winning to legitimize the suffering they’ve been through.  i love that.  i relate to that.  comics offers almost no entrée for the competitor in me.  the criteria for what would be competition in the arts are what?  either money (weak!) or something else totally subjective.  i can only consider myself in competition with others at the things i make my priorities in my work (e.g., line quality, pacing, page construction, blacks, storytelling).  and those are mad subjective, too.  fuckin’ hate that.  worse, the arts can be so mired in subjectivity, so anchorless in arbitrating merit that they can elevate the untalented.  god love ’em, sports want no part in that.  sports say bring your best fucking game and hang with the best–or stay home.

i don’t get to compete.  i can only congratulate myself for how well i think i’m doing and compare my work to others’.  and even though i think highly–probably too highly–of myself, some days that is some shallow-ass solace.  triumphant exhilaration is a feeling we get too little, but we crave it.  and every sporting contest whose outcome a viewer is tied up in offers at least the chance for that exhilaration.

i’m into that.  go, blazers!

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