I stayed up this morning until too early watching the US win at the World Cup. I am not a huge soccer fan, but I am one. My two emotional connections to sports are to Soccer and College Football. Soccer because I played it as a youth and enjoyed it, and College Football (specifically Notre Dame football) because of the all the games I attended with my father growing up. To some extent professional football, mostly because of memories of the Chicago Bears in 1985 and watching the superbowl with childhood friends on their televisions (because I did not have a TV at my house at that time)
I managed to get to one of the World Cup games eight years ago when some were played here in Chicago, it was a birthday present to me from my then roommate - very cool. I'm glad that I can say I have attended a World Cup game.
While I do listen to and keep track of sports to some degree, I do not have a very emotional tie to sports. In large part because I was not on sports teams in high school, indeed far from it - I was the captain of the school Chess Team for three years, and a member of many of the other academic teams.
Growing up without a television has made me an anomoly in US society, especially for someone of my generation. I do not have the viseral connection to TV, to common TV shows and histories, or to the rythmns of the community that are set by TV. My childhood was one of reading books, libraries, games - both "official" and ones I created, and listening to the radio. TV was something I saw very rarely, at random intervals, and at other people's houses. I did not see it in long bursts, nor did I watch enough to know what the shows where, let alone to memorize them.
Life in my house growing up was not dictated by "prime time" or by when the "tv news" was on, indeed to this day I do not know when either of those events are, still my watching of TV is mostly at random intervals without it being a regularly scheduled part of my life.
It certainly impacts my attachment to sports, I did not grow up watching Baseball on TV, or watching other sports, even my football viewing was mostly just the superbowl and occasional live college games.
Last night I was seated next to a group of people in a coffee shop I frequent, they were all near my age, perhaps a few years younger. I knew one of them from a role playing game we had both been involved in years ago, but had not seen her in about two years. Their conversation was wide ranging, and I did not catch all of it. But in listening, I heard many portions that made it clear that they shared bonds of identiy via a common childhood of watching the same cartoons, they talked in shorthand about them, and they were discussing as a topic of conversation which cartoon character they identified with (Allvin? of the "Chipmunks" was a favorite).
I have an intellectual understanding of who that is, a memory of annoying music, and a scattering of images from probably having seen the cartoon a handful of times in my life, but I clearly have a very different understanding of it than they have.
At times, indeed most of the time, I feel cut off from America and American society. I am American, born here and have lived here all of my life, but at the same time I do not grasp at a very fundemental level much that my fellow Americans do, and how they view the world. In my life this has manifested itself in many different ways - I still don't "get" how dating works - I'm still shaky on the whole process; I did not "get" much of what happens for most in High School or indeed in college - in High School I NEVER was somewhere with drinking or drugs - never crossed my mind.
My approach to college and my career also has been unconventional, I have not done the College, internships, job path - still don't "get" that approach to life at some fundemental level, there is something about that whole approach I don't understand.