So today we have a very basic question about what led us all to be spending our time reading or writing about sports here at GABA. What got you interested in sports? When/why did you start to love them?
I suppose my interest in sports developed via a fairly typical formative involvement with youth sports. Beyond that, my dad was and still is a passionate golfer and baseball fan, so normally one of those was on television. However my devotion waned in early high school when I'd hit my ceiling as a competitive athlete and my burgeoning interest in music marginalized my interest in sports. In fact I only afforded perfunctory amount of attention to sports of any kind while I was at Carolina-it was sometime in my early twenties when I developed a deep and renewed interest in the Atlanta Braves and most Gamecock sports. And then a few years later they let me start writing here for some reason. I don't get it either.
I'd have to say my parents. I was playing baseball and basketball at an early age. I remember watching Braves games with my parents on TBS every night when I was young as Chipper Jones became my sports idol. Also both of my parents went to USC and are avid Gamecock fans, so I'm Gamecock from birth y'all.
Nerf, playskool basketball, or even a wiffle ball was unheard of! Nope. No way. I was catching and trying to throw a regulation size Wilson football. The first time I could remember, I think I was in kindergarten, my dad got me a Dallas Cowboys helmet and a football. The Cowboy's helmet was too big and the chin strap was 6 inches from my chin. The football was enormous for my little hands. Then it was baseball and soccer. So, my dad was the one who got me interested in playing and eventually watching sports.
I was never really into sports before I went to USC. I watched them casually, and I can remember picking NFL games with my parents when I was younger and loving Michael Jordan as a little kid, but other than that, I just didn't really pay too much attention to them. When I got to USC, though, all I heard about was how big of a deal football was, and once I realized that was what people did on Saturdays in the fall, I didn't want to be left out. From there, I started paying more serious attention to both pro and college sports. It helped that the Gamecocks had success in football and baseball, and that the Blackhawks won a couple of Stanley Cups. And now I get to write things about sports and people read them, and while I wouldn't have imagined this happening 10 years ago, I can't imagine what my life would be like without sports now.
For me, it was living in Virginia during middle school and being able to hear baseball, hockey and basketball on the radio. It really grew once I moved to upstate New York in 1998 and shortly afterward became a fan of the Bills and Sabres (has it really been that long?). My Mets fanhood (sorry Sam and others) stretches back to 1995 as I grew up listening to them on their (former) flagship radio station (thank goodness for MLB At Bat live audio!). Since then, I've been a big sports fan, always keeping track of it and staying involved in sports journalism since my college years.
My dad's side of family are devoted Gamecock fans, they are huge into sports in general, and pretty much everyone either participated in or coached sports at some point. Despite that influence, when I was younger I just wasn't particularly interested. I'm not sure exactly what happened that changed things, but in high school I started taking an interest. One factor was probably that I was running track and therefore participating in an organized sport for the first time. Also, and this is the nerdiest possible way to gain a love for sports, I was in the marching band and therefore went to all of the football games. At some point pretty early on the football games shifted from being mostly-ignored background noise to something I cared about. I started asking my dad questions and watching football with him to learn how it worked. By the time I graduated I really enjoyed football and my freshman year at USC I fell completely in love with Gamecock sports. Since then I've gradually paid more and more attention to sports outside of the schools I attended and now it's weird to think about what I would do with all my time if I didn't spend it watching sports.