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Friday, September 29, 2006
Geeking out
My good friend Becky had a post earlier this week inspired by the movie Fever Pitch. For those of you who haven't seen the film (it's actually pretty good), it's about Ben Wrightman, a school teacher who is a big fan of the Boston Red Sox. Ben meets Lindsey in the winter when the Sox aren't playing and the two start a romance. Lindsey realizes Ben likes the Sox but has no idea how far his interest goes until spring training and the season starts when the true passion Ben has for his team emerges.

Ben's passion for the Sox pretty much comes down to a term that I call "geeking out." And let's face it--no matter how cool we all are or pretend to be, there is one thing out there in this world that really causes you to just geek out. It can be an interst in custom cars or stamp collecting or a sports team, but we all have that one thing we're passionate about. To the point that if it's brought up in a casual conversation, you have to careful to not suddenly launch into a ten minute monologue on the subject--whether your friends want to hear about it or not.

For me, there are a couple of things that cause me to geek out.

Most of the things that cause me to geek out shouldn't shock any of my long time visitors to the site. Heck, the name of my blog alone should be one clue. And, of course, there's my favorite TV show that returns tonight on SciFi at 8 p.m EST. (Set your VCRs and TiVOs now!)

The thing about geeking out is that it comes from a genuine love of something and the enjoyment we derive from it. And, for the most part, a genuine desire to have another person share or at least understand that passion we have for something. Yes, this can, at times, become an unhealthy thing if it's allowed to go too far and there are people who do that. For example, which I love Star Trek, I've never dressed up like a Klingon or Borg or worn a uniform on a day other than Halloween or around that time of year.

So many times I'm not aware I'm geeking out until it's too late. I had a friend ask me recently to tell them a bit more about Doctor Who, beyond my cursory two sentence summary of the show. Big mistake because ten minutes later I'm just warming up to the subject and the other person is wondering if they can feign death to get out of the conversation.

But there are some people for whom the genuine love can become unhealthy. I met a woman this summer who told me that a friend of hers was dating a guy who wouldn't leave the house on Friday night or spend any time with the friend because he had to watch Battlestar Galactica live. Now, don't get me wrong--I love my Battlestar Galactica, but if the choice is spending time with a woman who is interested in me in a romantic sense and taping Battlestar vs not spending time with her, possibly offending her and seeing the show live, I am going to go with choice a. Now, let me say that I will tape the show and watch it before the weekend is over because that's just me.

I think part of it is all about how we set our priorities.

Back to Fever Pitch, at one point Lindsey has to go to Paris and invites Ben to go along for a romantic weekend. Ben responds that he can't go because the Sox are playing a certain team and he has to be at the games. Lindsey is crushed because in her mind, a romantic weekend in Paris with his girlfriend should take priority over a couple of regular season baseball games.

Which, of course, we, the audience, know it should.

But it's harder to see when we're behaving the same way Ben does in the film. Because our geeking out seem so natural that it's hard to understand why the other person or people in our lives don't get excited about the same things we do.

I know that it's something I have to be aware of--or as I call it, not boring the other party with my long winded stories about great UT victories or the history of Doctor Who from 1963 to today.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go count down hours until Doctor Who premieres this evening...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/29/2006 07:55:00 AM | |
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