Sports, long considered the arch nemesis of libraries. The anti-matter to the library’s matter, if you will. But does the universe end when you bring a library book to a sports game? No! I say, it provides hours of entertainment for the uninterested partner who is dragged to what sporters call ‘the big game.’ But beware, you might get a funny look from a right winger who has just scored a triple-double at the buzzer and is looking to the crowd for approval. In these situations I suggest the reader lightly tap their book against their knee to approximate clapping—no need to look up from the page.
But what then does the library offer sporters? One might think the labyrinthian nature of library shelves might offer the perfect field for a game of ‘tag.’ However, study after study has revealed that ‘tag’ is not a recognized sub-genre of sport. Recognized sub-genres of sport include: baseball, football, hockeyball, and tennis. Curiously, these sports sub-genres have spawned a genre of film called the ‘sports movie’ of which the sport sub-genre of ‘football’ is my favourite. Some examples include: Friday Night Lights in which a down on their luck football team overcomes challenges to make it to the championship game; Remember the Titans in which a down on their luck football team overcomes challenges to make it to the championship game; or Rudy, in which a down on their luck footballer overcomes challenges in order to take their team to the championship game. These films, available at your local library, are thoroughly enjoyable for sporters and non-sporters alike. But be warned, even after watching dozens of entertaining football movies the non-sporter may still walk away without a great understanding of the complexities and nuances of the rules of football—even when movies such as The Blind Side explain them using condiments as stand-ins for players.
Of course, for non-sporters there are books available to provide a more in-depth look at sports rules. My personal favourite is Moneyball. Moneyball, for those not in the know, is a sub-genre of the sport sub-genre baseball. It is sort of a meta-game in which the players analyze the statistics of baseball players and try to make the best baseball team possible based on those statistics. The book Moneyball is all about the first Moneyballers who popularized the sub-sub-genre.
If I may take a personal aside for a moment, the library is also a place that provides resources that may encourage non-sporters to take up sports. There was a time in my life when I didn’t think I would ever be a sporter. Then I played Mario Tennis, a video game which emulates the sport sub-genre of tennis. I was so enamoured by the game that I chose to take up tennis in real life. While I was disappointed that in real life I did not encounter mustachioed plumbers or dinosaurs on the tennis playing area (sometimes known as a court), I did find immense enjoyment in chasing down tennis balls and hitting them with a paddle-like stick known as a racket.
There is one last thing the library offers that non-sporters should consider as a tool to introduce literature to sporters in their lives. A literature review of literature has revealed that novels have a long history of inventing their own sport sub-genres. While the layperson may believe that Quidditch is the best and most popular of these ‘literature sports’ the experts agree, Calvinball is definitively and without question the best literature sport ever invented.
In conclusion, libraries have a lot to offer sporters and non-sporters alike.