by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
October 14, 2006
I'M WATCHING THIS GAME IF IT KILLS ME
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- "Some men will do anything to watch their sports," said Karl, plunking his beer on the table. Karl, my friend and part-time curmudgeon, often plunked his beer as an exclamation to his declarations. We were at my house, watching the Indianapolis Colts play the New York Jets.
Use a coaster, Karl! I said, jamming one under his bottle. My wife will have a fit.
Karl waved his hand dismissively. "Bah! We're talking about serious issues here, Kid, not lace doilies and flower pattern teacups."
Who said anything about teacups?
"You did when you interrupted my revelation about men and sports."
Revelation? Men and sports are hardly earth-shattering news. What can you rant about there?
"Some egghead doc at the University of Maryland says that men will put off visiting an emergency room until a televised sporting event is over." Karl pulled out a piece of paper and shoved it at me. I read it.
According to a Reuters article, Dr. David Jerrard, an emergency room physician, tracked 800 college and professional baseball, basketball, and football games in the Maryland area over a three year period. He found there was a 30 to 50 percent increase in men who visited an ER after the game.
Wow, you're right. That's a cause for concern.
"Cause for concern?!" Karl plunked his beer again. "It's a cause for celebration!"
How do you figure?
"This research shows the true dedication of the real sports fan versus the bandwagon fan. A real fan is willing to endure pain and discomfort to cheer his team to victory."
Yeah, but one of the teams he studied is the Washington Nationals. Those fans could be waiting a long time.
"Maybe so, but they're still dedicated. They believe in their team so much, even if they're losers."
Now Karl, Nationals fans aren't losers. They're just pulling for the underdog.
"Not the fans, Kid, I'm talking about the -- never mind. Look, haven't you ever wanted to watch a game so bad that nothing, not even a full bladder, would make you leave your seat?"
Sure, every time the Colts play. I never miss a game, even if I'm traveling.
"That's what I'm talking about. You catch every game, in its entirety, and won't let anything keep you from your team."
So you're not disturbed by the fact that a man would risk severe health complications if they don't get immediate medical care?
"Naw, we're men. We're tough. We'll recover."
Not always. The article says the doctor wants to do further research into whether a delay in treatment compounds the harm. Meaning a problem could get worse if you wait too long.
"Of course he wants to do that. More treatment means bigger bucks for him."
Karl, he gets paid regardless of how much treatment people get. He's concerned about saving lives, not doing more procedures. He even says he's concerned about men's health right here: 'Men should not risk their health by putting off going to the emergency room because they want to see the final results of a football game. It could be the last game they ever see.'
"How can he be concerned about men's health? He's not even a sport head. There are no 'results' in a football game. It's a score. I'm surprised he didn't call it a 'meet.'"
What do sports have to do with men's health?
"Everything! Sports define us as men. Our emotional health comes from watching guys beat the crap out of other guys. We get exercise by participating in competitive sports. We even compete by comparing our health to our friends' health. Everything we do is competitive, just like sports."
But don't you think that a man's obsession about sports could end up killing him? Sure, we don't want to miss a second of a game, but I think that a tight chest and numb left arm would scare any man to the hospital.
"They'll blame it on heartburn."
What if they're feeling lightheaded and dizzy?
"Excitement and elation."
"Too much shouting."
So what's the answer, Karl? What can doctors like Dr. Jerrard do to get men to listen to their bodies, and go to the hospital when they're really sick?
"I don't know, cheerleaders at the admitting desk? A couple offensive tackles to clear a path to the ER?"
You should suggest that to Dr. Jerrard. You want another beer?
"Naw, I think I got food poisoning from those brats. After all this medical talk, I think I'd better get to the hospital. Can you give me a lift?"
Right now? The Colts just got the ball back.