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At what age did you care the most about sports?
I’ve heard it said before that age 12 is the pinnacle of sports fandom. The complications that come with being a teenager are still in the future, and you’ve built up a base of knowledge that a kid of 8 or 9 doesn’t have. I think that’s pretty valid.
That said, it was probably a little earlier for me. When I was 12, the Red Sox had just lost Carlton Fisk and traded Fred Lynn, Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson, so that was the year I started to learn that your favorite teams and players don’t stick around forever. The Red Sox inspired cynicism even in kids in those days.
I think for me the pinnacle – the point where I cared about sports the most and thought about it all the time – was probably at age 10 in 1979. The Red Sox still had a loaded young roster featuring all of my heroes coming off the ’78 heartbreak; it still seemed like Lynn, Yaz, Eck, Jim Rice, and the rest had a World Series in their future, if not two. And the Celtics had just added Larry Bird. That worked out pretty well. For someone whose favorite sports were (and still are) baseball and basketball, that was a special time.
I’ll say this though: I really cared about sports deeply in my late 20s, especially when it pertained to the Red Sox. Those Nomar-Pedro teams were so likable – and the Yankees were so damn good and so easy to despise – that it was incredibly satisfying when the Red Sox won, and disappointing to the point in which my mood was altered for the worse when they lost. I lived alone in Concord, N.H., and I cared about every game every night then. For better or worse, sports sometimes filled in those gaps of loneliness.
But age 10? Age 10 is definitely when I cared the most. I should note that Lynn, Rice and Hobson combined for 106 homers that year, and I probably reenacted every one of them playing Wiffle Ball that summer. Happy times.
How about you? How old were you when you cared the most about sports? I’ll hear you in the comments.