Monday, August 15, 2011

Sports Talk Radio

My wife got in my car the other day, and as we were pulling out of the driveway, she made a face like she had picked up the scent of something decomposing. "What are you listening to?"

"The Sports Hub," I said. "It's a Boston sports talk radio. You know, they talk about the Red Sox and the Bruins and The Patriots and The Celtics."

"They talk about it all day?"


"Don't they ever run out of things to talk about?"

"No," I said, gripping the wheel out of shear frustration that this line of questioning was making it impossible for me to hear what Mazz was saying about John Lackey, the Red Sox starting pitcher that night. "Sports talk radio is a soap opera for males. The story lines are endless."

"I can't believe they talk about sports all day."

"They do," I said and turned up the volume.

My transition into a full-fledged sports talk radio listener has occurred, slowly, over the last year or two. Around five years ago, I dumped listening to music on the morning commute to work in favor of NPR, a move that made me feel old at the time. But now, as a loyal listener of 98. 5 The Sports Hub, I think I can officially include myself in the venerable subclass of Middle-aged Married Man (MMM).

There's no way around it.

Being a MMM isn't as bad as it sounds. Essentially, most men hit an age---circa 35 years-old---where we give up on the whole idea of looking or seeming cool. Blasting music in our cars seems more like a sad attempt at holding on to our younger, wilder selves than a genuine expression of our innate need to rock, so we ditch the tunes, and instead of listening to electric guitar rip through our brains, we want to hear other MMM's with lives more pathetic than our own call into these programs. If you've never listened to sports talk radio, it's worth spending half an hour just hear the one guy---and every show has one---who calls in from his parents' basement, working himself into an apoplectic fit about whether or not the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is bigger than the Bruins/Canadians rivalry in New England. While most of this manifests from the fact that said caller is 42 and has never touched a bra, it's still great theater.

Now, while not all MMM's like sports, most like talk radio. If you're an MMM and an intellectual, you might choose NPR for your commute, or if you happen to have an extra chromosome, you might listen to conservative talk radio. But a good number of us choose sports. Why? For the very same reason we follow sports teams: It's a diversion from our every day lives, which---let's face it---are no longer filled with parties, wild bars, and different women each weekend.

That is, of course, until we hit our mid-life crisis, somewhere in the vicinity of 45-50 years-old. Then we buy convertibles, drive around blasting Jay-Z, and date girls half our age who likes us only because we pay for everything.

"Are you ever going to call into one of these shows?" My wife asked.

"Maybe," I said, dreaming of a witty comment that would earn me the respect of the talk show hosts Felger and Mazz, or even Toucher and Rich. "Maybe, I will. Maybe someday I will."

We have Nate from Manchester on the line. How's it going, Nate?

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