Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Are You Sports-Minded?

(C) 2014 Luke T. Bush

Boss: "Did you catch the game last night?"

Me: "No."

Boss (perplexed): "You didn't?"

Me: "I don't follow sports."

A conversation from many years ago when I worked (for three months) in sales for an office equipment and supply company.  That reply caught my boss off-guard.  After all, everyone loves professional sports, especially if you're male.

Sports as shibboleth.

I'm generally indifferent towards pro sports.  Hey, if it's your bag, great.  But my indifference becomes irritation from the two-pronged spear of conformity and commercialism constantly jabbing my brain.

My television viewing is limited but on those few occasions when there's something worth watching I have to suffer through the same relentlessly rotating spots, especially on Vermont's Own Channel 5 (which I refer to as WPUTZ-TV).  Very few local businesses think it's worth buying air time at Channel 5 to promote their products and services.   Ergo, the preponderance of in-house spots aired ad nauseam (pun intended).

Lately WPUTZ has been running advertisements every ten minutes for the upcoming winter Olympics in Russia.  Each one features a plasticized personality at the station – including the ever-smiling Joker weatherman – sincerely talking about his/her personal connection to winter Olympians while reading copy on a teleprompter, a "sincere" presentation manufactured by the station's ad department.

This promotion truly motivates me to tune in to the Sochi Games, glued to the entire event, nose pressed against the screen.

Getting back to that conversation with my boss at the office equipment company,  I don't know if my pro sports indifference affected the continuance of my employment.  It probably didn't help.  After all if you're not a team player...

I've spent a good share of my life looking for work.  Fruitless digging through the newspaper classifieds helps you quickly develop a nose to what job openings are skippable.

There was one in particular: "Are you sports-minded?"  Only a phone number was provided, no details about the company's name or type of business being conducted.  I ignored it but remained curious about the set-up behind the listing.

Then I met someone who answered the ad.  He passed on the opening.  The position was in sales – for an insurance company.  It was selling insurance in general, not just policies for athletes.

So why was this insurance company looking for sports-minded people?  Well, let's say you're a company rep hanging around a bar and you break the ice with a stranger by mentioning last night's game.  After you get the person warmed up, you slip in that you sell insurance and that everyone needs more insurance...

Another reason to be unsports-minded: the ilk you end up avoiding.

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