Sports Fan Genetics · 25 July 2010

I love sports. But as I have said before, I am not much of a sports fan. I would much rather play any sport than watch one. Looking at genetics, this ought not to be so. After all, my mom is one of the biggest and craziest sports fans I know.

I was not always a sports non-watcher. During my elementary school days, we lived in Colorado where everybody was required to watch Denver Bronco games during football season. The Broncos were not that great of a team back then, but everybody rooted for them. My mom’s favorite player was the guy with the ball when the Broncos were on offense (usually Floyd Little) and the whole defense when the other team had the ball. She probably knew more about football than my brother and I did and we played almost every waking minute.

Whether our family was at home or at the Matsushima or Miyoshi farms, when the football game was on, everybody was watching. (Like I said, it was required for everybody in Colorado to watch the games and root for the Broncos.) So naturally, we kids watched too. Mom would jump up and down more than anybody else regardless of whose place we were at. She would whoop and holler at every good play. She would hiss, groan, and boo at every bad or unfavorable play. There were no high fives or chest bumping back in those days, but if there had been, my mom would have been giving them right and left at every game. Looking back, my mom was probably as entertaining to watch as the games were.

Mom also showed us the downside of being a big fan – gambling. I only saw her bet on a game one time, but I remember it vividly.

One of my dad’s friends and co-workers, Mr. Roberts, was at the house on game day. Because of the Colorado rule, we were watching the Bronco game. Mr. Roberts said it might make the game a little more interesting if there was a little wager. Mom was game. She would never bet against her Broncos and Mr. Roberts was not afraid of the Colorado rule about rooting for the Broncos. So he took the other team. He even gave her points. Mom did not understand what points were in betting so he explained that the Broncos could lose up to the point spread and she would still win. He gave her six points which meant that the Broncos could lose by five and she would still win. If they lost by seven or more, Mr. Roberts would win. If they lost by 6, nobody would win. Naturally, if Denver won, my mom would win the bet. And naturally, Mom took the Broncos and that dollar bet.

It was a good game and Mom never gave up on her Broncos. At the end, her team could not win, but she was hoping they would beat the spread. When it was all over, the Broncos lost by more than 6 points. And Mom lost the bet. Mom always hated when her team lost and she hated losing her bet. She did learn that she could not always bet with her heart so her first bet was also her last. At least for the big money.

Mom left the room for a while after the game. Mr. Roberts thought that it was to cry a little about the loss of the game and the bet. But when she came back, she was all smiles. She handed Mr. Roberts his winnings. One-hundred pennies. Mom and Mr. Roberts both laughed and laughed.

My mom loved the Broncos so much that not only did she bet on them when they were bad, when we moved from Colorado, she vowed that she would never love another team like she did the Broncos. Especially, since we had moved to Washington and the Seattle Seahawks were in the same division. She could never love the expansion Seahawks because they played her beloved Broncos.

That promise to cherish the Denver Broncos may have lasted one season, but certainly not two. Mom hated to see the Seahawks lose, but she loved to watch Jim Zorn and Steve Largent play football. There were times when she wavered as to who to root for when the Broncos and Seahawks played, but over time Mom changed her colors from Blue and Orange to Blue and Green. Now she even asks in jest, “Who are the Broncos?”

Over the years, Mom has gone from being a rabid football fan to a rabid baseball fan. She loves the Mariners and Ichiro. So much so, that it seems whenever I call her on the phone, I am interrupting the game. I guess that if she had passed the fan gene to me, I would know that the game was on and would call before or after. At least one of my siblings got the gene (but that is another story) so when he calls he is never interrupting any sporting event Mom might be watching.

I do not regret that I did not get the rabid fan gene because instead I did get a deep passion gene from my parents. It just did not go into being a sports fan. Although, like my mom, I am a big fan of my own kids and I love watching them participate in sports and life. So while I did not become a huge sports fan, I am a huge fan of my family. And I am one of the biggest fans of my mom. After all, she is still more entertaining to watch than any sporting event.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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