I didn’t even know the Oscars had happened until I read that an actor I didn’t care about slapped another actor I didn’t care about.
But the forgetting also made me realize that there are a lot of things, beyond the Oscars, that I cared about and don’t care about anymore — over the past year, I haven’t watched a single minute of the NBA, professional tennis, the World Series, or the Olympics, all of which took up a lot of my time.
I still go to a Cardinals game or two each season, thanks to my stepfather, a longtime season ticket holder who has an actual seat of the old Busch Stadium in his home. I still like being in a baseball stadium, drinking beer and eating hot dogs (which somehow taste better there), but I no longer watch baseball on TV or follow the rankings (whereas the 1969 edition of The Baseball Encyclopedia might once have been my most prized possession).
I probably averaged six or seven sets of tennis a week when it was warm enough to play from college to my thirties, and I wouldn’t have missed a Wimbledon final no matter what time I had to get up or how hungover I was. . But I haven’t been on a tennis court or watched a match in at least 20 years (and therefore possibly missed the greatest three-way rivalry in sports history – Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic) .
I stayed up late listening to the round-robin radio reports for the “Fight of the Century” (Ali-Frasier) and still believe the round robin matches between Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns and “Sugar Ray” Leonard were some of the most exciting things ever in sports, but haven’t followed boxing at all since Mike Tyson was improbably thrown on the canvas by Buster Douglas (!!).
When it comes to the NBA, I’ve gone from knowing the name of every player on every roster in the Michael Jordan days to knowing the names of about half a dozen players in the entire league now. I will always believe MJ was the best, but maybe because I only watched LeBron James on TV a few times.
However, it’s not just sports.
Most of the little rock music I listen to these days was recorded before the mid-1970s. I’ve seen the recent headlines about the death of the Foo Fighters drummer, but I’ve never heard ( to my knowledge, anyway) a Foo Fighters song, and when I think of a rock drummer, I think of Ringo, Charlie Watts and Keith Moon.
Perhaps the most anticipated films of my teenage years were episodes of James Bond, but that interest faded the moment they dragged Roger Moore to the finish line, and I’m making no effort to catch the rides / amusement park cartoons disguised as Bond films in recent days (though things did perk up a bit at first with Daniel Craig).
I’ll still put “Goldfinger” or “From Russia with Love” in the DVD player once in a while, but I’ve come to believe that any Bond without Sean Connery doesn’t count (and as Bond becomes more and more PC /awakened, that is, less and less like Bond, that won’t change).
The last superhero movies I watched were the second Superman starring Christopher Reeve and the first Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, and I’m increasingly puzzled as to why an adult would like to watch movies with characters from the comic books they read when they were 9 years old.
Of course, some of what I left behind was effectively replaced, including the tennis court by the golf course (a sport a younger me could never have imagined playing, with the terrible activity/non-activity ratio and those horrible plaid pants). I also watch college football a lot more, to the point of spending most Saturdays in the fall switching between 11-11 games.
Pulling a beer from the fridge after work has been replaced by shaking a Beefeater martini with two olives, accompanied by a hand-rolled cigar, and the music playing in the background is now Sinatra and jazz, much of which has was recorded before I was born.
However, some things have stayed the same – the Dallas Cowboys have been my team since I was 7, although there have been times over the last quarter century of mediocrity under inept management where I wondered why I bothered. I don’t watch every March Madness match like my friends and I used to in college, but I’m sure I’ve seen every Final Four since Bird/Magic (and I’m getting always crush early).
There are also things that didn’t interest me then and still don’t interest me now — soccer (what kind of sport doesn’t let you use your hands?) and hockey (you still can’t see the puck, and ritualized “fighting” is nonsense) comes quickly to mind.
And I never cared about the Grammys either – at last glance, the Rolling Stones, over their nearly 50-year recording career, have won a grand total of three.
Asleep at the wheel has eight.
Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, earned his doctorate. in political science from the University of Illinois.