At some point after the final out, after untangling the knots in my legs, arms and fingers, I decided I'd had enough. It was time. I turned 56 on Oct. 3. I've been a big baseball fan since at least 1963, when I was 8 years old. (Though I like to imagine that I saw Bill Mazeroski's home run fly over the left field wall at Forbes Field in the bottom of the 9th of the 7th game of the World Series between the Yankees and the Pirates.) I've been listening to games, watching games and attending games for nearly 50 years. This devotion has brought great delight over the years and led to friendships and many shared moments.
But now, I want my life back. I want to think about something besides what the Pirates and the Steelers of my hometown Pittsburgh are going to do next week, or next season. I don't want to spend nights following my adopted Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks (I could never adopt the Cowboys. More on that later.) I'd like to spend my spare time in other ways besides living and dying with each win and loss of my team. I'd like to start a new hobby, maybe exercise more and lose weight. Learn Chinese. Who knows what I could do with all this spare time?
Naturally, I was thinking of starting A Year Without Sports on New Year's. But I'm afraid that my resolve will fade by then. So, I've decided to start right now. Oct. 31, 2011. Halloween. Haunted by all the time I've spent on the couch watching my team on the tube, I'm turning it off. Dave unplugged. I'm starting fresh. To do what? I haven't the faintest idea. But I've decided to take my first step. And we'll see where it all leads.