Mike Hagan: Next Sunday, I’m going to go skiing | AspenTimes.com
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Mike Hagan: Next Sunday, I’m going to go skiing

It’s taken me almost 40 years, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion that being a sports fan is an incredible waste of time.Not that I’m one of those fanatics who can tick off the stats of any player in any sport from any year. I know several of those kinds of people, and they really need to find something better to do with their lives. Even though I’m a fan of professional baseball, I can’t even remember who won last year’s World Series.And I also am pretty picky about the sports I follow. College anything just doesn’t interest me. I attended plenty of Grizzly games at the University of Montana, but I think I only left the tailgate once to go inside and watch a game. After a few minutes, I was back out in the parking lot, where the real action was.I’m an off-and-on basketball fan. If the Nuggets make it to the finals, I’ll probably tune in. And I certainly don’t waste my time watching the high excitement of golf, pool or fishing.So, to call me a sports fan at all is probably not even accurate. However, I must admit a serious addiction to pro football, hockey and pro baseball. Much of that stems from my childhood in Pittsburgh. I was there for the Immaculate Reception, when Roberto Clemente ripped the seat out of his pants sliding across home plate after hitting an in-the-park home run, and spent many hours inside the old Igloo watching the Penguins when tickets were $3.Pittsburgh is a hard-core sports town, and there was no better time to be a sports fan than as a child during the 1970s in the Steel City. However, as I’ve moved on and lived in places like Alaska, Montana and Washington, my infatuation with the Pittsburgh teams has waned (though the Steelers will hold a special place in my heart forever).That’s likely to change, though, after my realization this weekend. Sunday was a beautiful, albeit cold, day. Even though I could barely walk after pounding through powder all day on Saturday, it was a day that absolutely required getting out and doing something anything.But I didn’t. I spent the day cheering on the Seattle Seahawks (the whole time I lived there they never made the playoffs) and the Denver Broncos. What a friggin’ waste of time that was.At least the Hawks made a game out of it, and I suffered the delusion several times that they would make it to the next level of the playoffs. The Broncos, on the other hand … well, what really is there to say? I hated them when I lived in Seattle, but now I really can’t stand them (after cheering them on for the last seven years).And then there’s the Rockies. Year after year I spend countless hours throughout the summer watching a team filled with talent lose game after game. The only reason to go to Coors Field is to go to Coors Field. It’s a beautiful place to hang out. The action on the field, however, is downright ugly.And the Avs. Oh, those Avs.One of the greatest things about moving back to Colorado was to once again have a hometown hockey team. I’ve been a hard-core fan since we unloaded the moving van in 1996.The worst part about the Avs is that they have delivered a couple of times since I moved here. Spending week after week after week cheering them on somehow seems worth it when Ray Bourke and Paddy Roy and Peter Forsberg are skating around the rink kissing Lord Stanley’s Cup.But it takes true dedication on the fan’s part to get there. The team doesn’t do all the work. A real fan must sacrifice many of the best evenings of spring to watch the endless hockey playoffs. That’s not easy when you have a family who could give a hoot about hockey.So, when you have spent all those weeks glued to the TV, the adrenaline pumping, sure that the Avalanche will crush the competition and win the championship, only to watch them fall like a stack of cards at the critical moment, I can’t help but feeling like a total fool for wasting all that time.My wife’s been pointing this out to me for years, but I always tell her she simply doesn’t understand. After this past Sunday, I’m starting to think she knows more than I do.[Mike Hagan is editor in chief of The Aspen Times. His column appears every other Tuesday]


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