Sports and I go together like peanut butter and eggs.
When I was younger, I earned a grand total of two trophies in my life for sports: one soccer trophy, because everyone got one in the league, and one softball trophy, because I was the token fat kid who was never played but happened to be on the first place team.
I earned my awards through academics instead, which I pretend was by choice over athleticism.
I tried to abandon sports altogether, deeming them unworthy of an “academic life.”
Until I met Jake.
Jake loves sports more than anyone I have ever met.
When he’s on the computer, he’s looking at sports stats. When he’s watching T.V., it’s Sports Center. When he’s reading a magazine, it’s ESPN. When we go on vacation, we go to a game of some sort.
Since I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this boy, even when he pursues the world of sports after college, I realized that I needed to integrate this fandom in to my life as well.
At first, I tried to jump in full force. I tried to learn everything, love everything, understand everything; I tried to become as much of a fan as he is, but I just couldn’t do it. I just can’t sit through a three-hour baseball game and solely watch. It isn’t me.
I was worried our love was doomed, until I realized that I may just be able to love sports after all; all it needed was a little yarn. I quickly came to understand that perhaps sports and knitting are actually a perfect match.
Knitting is the ideal activity to do while watching sports. Since knitting patterns vary from extremely complicated to brain-dead simple, there are plenty of options to keep idle hands busy during a game. For the most exciting of games, a simple scarf like Baktus is good choice that allows for plenty of cheering and yelling. On the other hand, for the days one desires to watch something like golf, some lace like Rock Island is fantastic. I made myself multiple scarves during the 2010 World Series, and the 2011 Stanley Cup supplied me with hours on end to finish multiple stuffed animals. I was still able to enjoy the company of the sports lovers in my life, but I wasn’t dying of boredom.
Stadiums of most every sport also allow knitting needles past security, and some even encourage it. Baseball fields across the country have official Stitch n’ Pitch days where they encourage any and all needle art folk to bring their craft to the game. Some games even have knitting related giveaways or other craft-related special events. Score!
Sports also lend themselves to plenty of knit swag, which everyone always loves. Knitting for the people I love is very important to me; however, I never just knit something boring; it has to kick ass. Luckily, sports allows a huge variety of personalized and interesting ideas. From simple team-colored accessories and baby blankets to stuffed mascots and even jerseys, there is plenty to choose from. The sports lovers in my life have begun to garner quite a collection.
Sports fans always seem to appreciate the effort put into a handmade gift as well. After Jake and I started dating, I decided to embark on making him a sweater. While this isn’t advised according to knitting folklore, I designed a complex San Jose Sharks hockey sweater. Not only did Jake wear it every single day for the next month upon completion, but when I wore it to a game in San Jose, I had at least five or six people stop me to compliment it. Score!
Although I still don’t understand the rules of football and I can’t quite sit through a baseball game without groaning at extra innings, I have come to love the world of athletics with needles in hand.
All photos by Alex Walper.