YOBcast Episode 018: Sports

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Some boys find success and belonging in the world of sports. Many others do not. How do our sports experiences of the past impact us today?

In this episode, Tom and Elliott welcome back Bradley for a lively conversation about sports: our greatest triumphs, our worst disasters, and what it all means moving forward.

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Enjoy the episode! And don’t forget to comment below about your sports experiences in school. Did you fit in or did you stick out? Do you have any desire to redeem any sports struggles of the past with sports involvement today?

Links from the show:

Tom’s posts: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/tom/

Elliott’s posts: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/elliott/

Bradley’s posts: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/bradley/

Bradley’s “Why I Used to Hate Sports” post: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2017/01/17/hate-sports/

Jon Jorgenson’s “Who You Are: A Message To All Men” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTAn-tk2pDA

  • A Friend

    This site continues to nail my issues on the head, as sports literally makes me shake thinking of all the bullying I got in school. My hands were too little to grab the ball, I sank like a rock in the water, when I’d keep my “eye on the ball” it wasn’t where I thought it was, and worse than that, the gym/P.E. teachers picked on me (“What kind of boy are you? Hey guys, come watch the sissy try to shoot the ball!”). There was no male mentoring, and in spite of my wild success in my career and all the accolades, this is the area (sports) that leaves me feeling unfulfilled. I love watching it, but the body just doesn’t “click” with the brain signals. Where I grew up, sports talent was equal to manhood, and thus my spiral into SSA. Thanks for addressing issues that we need to hear and see. This has affected me having gym-fear, and oh for that trainer/dude/buddy to come along that “gets” this knee-knocking fear! Thanks for letting us know others have struggled.

    • I’m sorry for all those bullies and arrows, Friend. Sports can be such a light-hearted topic with devastating consequences. You’re not alone in whatever hurts you’ve experienced from sports. Glad to have you with us in the boat.

  • Jeff Brady

    Tom, The Cincinnati Reds (Red Legs) are the oldest organized professional team in baseball – Not the Phillies!

    Fyi… any activity that involves a team is a game… a sport is competition one on one that does not involve the use of a ball, ie swimming, wrestling, track and field events.

    I loved wrestling in PE class. I did not care if I won or lost. It was like extended foreplay to me. Nuthin like a hot, sweaty man on top of you, Sorry, I enjoyed it.

    The lockerroom was interesting in the early ’70’s, especially in junior high (middle school today). We were required to shower before the end of class..lots of nakedness. My junior high crush was in my locker row. He was my friend and I would let him copy my test answers in earth science. One day I got hard while changing. He saw me. Big grin on his face. He never harrassed me about it, but I think he knew that I was not like the other boys. He was really very kind to me. I’ve never forgot him. I think he’s an electrician now with a wife and 10 kids. Oh well.

    I got bullied in Scouts. The crap was regularly beaten out of me. I did not mind it all that much. We were all friends later so it did not matter to me. I was a smart a$$, so I probably had it coming. I’m still that way :^)

    Watching sports is kind of boring for me. I do not mind playing. I am not good, but I seem to like the comraderie. I like being a lineman in football and wrestling is hot. Again, I apologize. I just like being manhandled.

    • An addendum: the Phillies are the oldest one-name, one-city team in all of American sports, not just baseball. Knew I had something right!

  • Kevin Frye

    I think Elliott and Bradley should settle their differences in an American Gladiators arena. I’d watch that.

    • Jeff Brady

      Should they be required to wear Sumo suits? Or should they perhaps wrestle in the manner of the ancients in the Olympics?

      • Kevin Frye

        I was thinking they should use those giant Q-tips to knock each other off those columns.

  • Michael

    There’s not an athletic bone in my body.

    But in 1998, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were chasing home runs, a couple of my elementary school friends came up with the idea of holding our own home run competition in PE and at recess for the rest of the school year. Three of the five of us involved had all hit or kicked home runs before, but another friend and I never had, and everyone knew, myself included, that our drought would be unlikely to end. I’m not sure how we ever kept track of the HRs recorded – probably mostly through bragging at the lunch table – since, of course, three of them recorded multiple home runs throughout the contest. Naturally, I was always the last one picked for teams in PE and was declared the easy out, but one day before the end of the school year I SMASHED!!!!! the kickball to the center of the school’s athletic logo high on the opposite wall during gym class, and I’m still not sure how. The whole class was shocked. I was shocked. And although I can’t remember it now, I’m sure the PE teacher declared the game over after that. Or at least that’s how I’ll always choose to remember it.

    Unbelievably, my other HR-less friend managed to hit a HR in his class on the same day. There must have been some Sosa/McGwire magic unrelated to performance-enhancing drugs in the air that day.

    So, to this day, I have only made a home run once, but it was a good once, and I’ll never forget it.

  • ohne Name

    I hated PE in school (except swimming). Especially team sports like soccer or basketball. The physical competition and the rough atmosphere of a soccer game made (and still makes) me feel umcomfortable and felt incompatible with my personality. I played very passively and tried to avoid contact with the ball whenever possible. One of my PE teachers once told me that he had never seen a similar “case” like me before.

    I think to enjoy participating in team sports, it’s necessary to see yourself as an adequate and fully accepted member of the team and you have to believe that the others think the same about you. Outside of my family, I was a very anxious and shy child. I was afraid
    of almost everybody and everything and didn”t connect well with most of my peers. I rather wanted to protect myself from them because I considered them as unsafe and feared that they might put myself into question. In PE however, I was expected to closely connect with them and even challenge them in a team. And that was the exact opposite of the “strategy” I had chosen to cope with them which caused a tremendous internal stress during many years.

    If you don’t really feel as a full member of a team, you won’t like team sports. If you don’t like team sports, you try to avoid it. If you avoid it, you don’t get practice in it. If you don’t have practice, you won’t succeed. If you don’t succeed, you won’t like it and won’t feel as a full member of the team…. it’s a vicious circle.

    If I could redeem my past sports struggles with (team) sports involvement today is something I’ve thought a lot about. I think it could be a healsome experience to do this together with other guys who also don’t play well. However, probably 99 % percent of all men of my age are better than me in those sports.

  • Ashley Lavergne

    So for one I’ll say that I really enjoyed this episode and how a lot of times it feels like I’m sitting listening in on a circle of my friends. I liked the little debate. They both brought up valid points. My husband works with a sports ministry with kids and in south América soccer has this whole other level of importance for people – it’s way more than just some sport.
    My rant is that you guys butchered the names of well known movies, and there were so many you didnt say. My family is big on sports movies and I forgive you for not mentioning Rocky because of your misgivings with aggression.
    Sports with me has been different. I was super interested when I was a kid and hung out with boys for most of my early childhood. In jr high my free throws were pretty good. I’ve always loved swimming and I enjoy watching soccer. Now most sports bore me. Football games are way too long and my moms side of the family and my mom LOVE football. I still like to swim but if you anyone who knows me they know that I despise most excercise related activities. I’m a reader not a runner. And sports have different expectations with women. I have a tendency to look more muscular when I work out the ways that I enjoy. I like swimming and lifting weights and pushups. I HATE running but running is most womens sport of choice because its what helps them lose weight. Sports for women is about being healthy and in shape (nuanced terms for thin). I am curvy and short. If I do excercises that improve my swimming I don’t really get thin, but strong and my pudge just kinda get less pudgy but I’m not much thinner. So my participation in sports or excercise comes and goes. Gaining muscle doesnt bother me as much now. Ive decided in the last year or so that it doesnt matter. People tend to read muscular women as less feminine and that’s why I avoided it. I could dress slightly andro if I’m thinner and what not, but if I look more boxy and square people read into it differently and that can be irritating. But more of trying to not care. I do want to begin to excercise more and actually be healthy though. Be at a healthy weight, and for me that’s actually not all that thin so thats not what I mean either.
    This episode was really cool. Brought a lot of stuff to mind

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    Finally listened to this. Lots of thoughts during it, not sure if I’ll remember them all now.
    .
    Guys…. the movie choices…. I could say something, but maybe I’m just prone to like what the masses like – Sandlot, Mighty Ducks, Remember the Titans – all great movies for me.
    .
    I played rec league soccer from Kindergarten through 7th grade. Not sure why it was just soccer, never considered any other sport during the elementary years…. maybe Dad asked about baseball at some point? Anyway, stopped playing because 1) I moved and 2) it got too competitive. I realize that in sports the idea is to try your hardest to win… but for me there became too much aggression, trying to sneak almost dirty moves into the game, and too much pressure if you didn’t win. Sometimes the other team is better… and that should be okay. But yeah, saw too much loss if the team didn’t win, so I was over it. Try your hardest and have fun.
    .
    Which is maybe why the only other sports I got into were a church league volleyball team – which thankfully never got too competitive, and then running (on my own) during college.
    .
    PE – Ugh. This will be shared more in length in a blog at some point. But I was drawn to the arts, and while not terrible at sports overall – I wasn’t great at football or basketball, which seemed to be the only sports that mattered in middle school PE. The lockerroom was where I first wondered about how I compared – height, weight, muscles, pale-ness – to other guys. And while not as extreme as Tom’s story, there were a handful of exhibitionist guys throughout the years. Redeeming part of PE in high school was forming a co-ed group who stuck together for a year of PE. We weren’t awful, but definitely not athletes. The eight of us would do our best to be paired together as often as possible. Saved me.