I know that I am probably preaching to the choir here, but I've spent enough time around people who don't appreciate sports to hear them talk make comments about how watching sports is a waste of time or lazy. I know we've all heard it I even get onto myself from time to time and try to cut back the hours I spend on my fantasy basketball roster(s), PtR, and justintv. However, in an effort to begin a communal rethinking of sports fandom, I present to you, my PtR brethren and sistren, the 3 ways that watching the Spurs* has made my life better.
1. Coaching: I spent the last spring coaching a group of palestinians high-schoolers who had never played basketball before. I was not a great basketball player in high-school. I did not have what some people call a "high basketball IQ." However, Spurs fandom has exposed me to the finer points of well-played basketball better than any coach has. I was able to instill in my guys a commitment to defense (and not just steals and blocks). I used video of Tony Parker to demonstrate the importance of getting in the lane to shoot. I showed my post players how Tim Duncan rarely leaves his feet on defense, even if that means getting shown up every once in a while, and why that makes him one of the best defensive big man of his era.
2. Playing: During the time I was coaching, I was also playing on a Palestinian team called Thaqafi Beit Sahour. It was the second level of basketball clubs in Palestine. Every single player on the team (save one) was either taller or more athletic than me. The practices and games were all in Arabic. Somehow I was able to contribute and play on that team because I could use my body to gain offensive advantage a la Ginobili and Duncan. My presence on that team was one of the key reasons that I felt at home in Palestine after my first year and it is one of the reasons I am still living there.
3. Community: There are not a lot of NBA fans in Palestine. Games usually start at 3 or 4am. Football (soccer) rules every heart and while basketball is the second most popular sport here, it is a distant second. My best friend and I started hanging out at 3am watching the 2007 playoffs. He has plugged my wife and I into a great group of friends and some great business contacts.
*all or some above comments may not be relevant for fans of teams such as the Nuggets, Suns, or Mavericks.