Commenting on my post on sports, my friend John Goodman said that he was surprised that I am so into sports. People who knew me before I was about 32 are surprised too, one of the main ones being my wife. Here’s how I came to see the value of sports.

When I was growing up, my father watched sports but he would usually get disgusted with his favorite team, the Montreal Canadiens, when they made mistakes. So when I thought about watching sports then, I thought about pain. Why have that?

But bit by bit as an adult, I saw that you don’t have to watch sports that way. As one of my economist friends put it when I was in my early 30s, “When people point to a major league baseball player who screws up, all I can say is ‘Man, he’s good.'” So much of what I like about sports is the celebration of human accomplishment. Where else do you see news reporters celebrate the accomplishments of successful people? When a big company makes a huge profit, the reporters don’t typically talk about how incredibly good many of the company’s employees are. But they usually make an exception for sports. Not all of them, of course. But many of them do. And even when they don’t, so many other sports fans do appreciate accomplishment in sports. So, along with my other reasons, I see sports as a way to bond with at least some of my fellow men and women.