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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: When Did You Know The Most About Sports?

Tom Jones, who hosts a morning radio show with Rick Stroud on 620 AM, asked an interesting question the other day: When did you know the most about sports?

As a long-time sports writer, the question resonated with me. “Snacks” — as I’ve called Tom since the days when we worked together at The Tampa Tribune — noted that he knew the most about sports when he was around 17. Point being that he now knows more about what’s going on behind the scenes, the warts, the player personalities and the like, but his mind no longer has all the sports information at his disposal that it once did.

My sports IQ probably reached its peak at around age 12. My father would hand over the sports page first thing in the morning, I’d read Sport Illustrated cover to cover within hours of the magazine reaching our mailbox, and I watched every televised sporting event. Of course, this was before cable, before remote control — at least at our house, and way before pro sports hit the Tampa Bay area.

306px-SportsIllustrated.svg “SportsIllustrated” by LogoSubcheck

I knew every box score, every hitter’s batting average, how many touchdowns every running back had, I could recite starting lineups for any team in the major leagues, starting offenses and defenses for the NFL, starting lineups for NBA teams, and I knew the numbers they wore. I augmented my knowledge with subscriptions to The Sporting News and Sport Magazine. Everything just added to the glob of grey matter dedicated to sports.

Of course, free agency had not confused things just yet. You knew Hank Aaron played right field for the Braves and Willie Mays was in center for the Giants. Whitey Ford pitched for the Yankees, etc.

And then…

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for, uh, girls.

Other distractions accompanied that complication.

Today I can tell you a lot about the Rays, but the rest of the sports world is often a dark hole. A knowledgeable kid could carve me up any day if we matched sports knowledge, as could the guy on who competes on FanDuel fantasy football.

Good for them, and good for me.

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