As I prepare to leave the Independent for a new journalism job in the city, I think back over more than two years at this newspaper, amazed at the variety of subjects I have written about. There have been football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and golf stories, of course, but also chess, curling, yacht racing, backyard bocce, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, bullfighting, ballroom dancing, and drag softball.
There are many things I could write about in this column, from my love for the Cape to my frustration with how difficult it’s become to make a life here. Maybe another time.
Writing for the Indie, my view of sports has changed. After drag softball, how could it not?
I was watching the Masters Tournament — a high-brow golf extravaganza that in my teenage years I couldn’t have cared less about. But I’ve grown to love the game (and become completely frustrated by it), and the Masters is its fascinating pinnacle.
The pomp and circumstance surrounding the tournament is a bit ridiculous. But the soft piano music that accompanied the return to the course on the broadcast after each commercial break, together with the ritualistic silence during play itself, got me thinking about the relationship between sports and music.
Certain sports go naturally with certain kinds of music. Go to a baseball game and during warmups you’ll most likely hear country music, which tends to be laid back and pairs well with baseball. Get yourself early to a Cape League game this summer and I’ll bet the players will be listening to country.
Basketball and hip hop are a dynamic duo. Go to a Celtics game and it’s mostly hip hop that’s played during game stoppages.
Basketball is fast-paced, flashy, and energetic — just like the music. Basketball and rap culture have evolved over the years and styles have changed. In the 1990s, the game was more physical; the rap music of the time was rugged and aggressive. Now basketball players are flashier and more stylish, on and off the court. Today’s rap music follows suit.
LeBron James is a rap fan but has admitted he sometimes listens to classical music before games.
Hockey is rock-and-roll. It’s a physical game, played in the cold. The music tends to be loud and head-banging.
Football music comes in many forms. Down south, they like country. Up north, it’s hard rock or rap. The Patriots like to play AC/DC, which is also, strangely, a favorite of curlers.
Most golfers I know prefer silence, but some enjoy listening to tunes out on the course. One friend recently got a small speaker that attaches to a golf cart with magnets. The last time we played, we tried listening to classical music to ease our frustration. It didn’t help much.
In international soccer (or fútbol), the fans create their own songs that they sing all game long.
Sports and musical traditions change. What if one day there were a baseball star who grew up on polka music? Or a football player in a barbershop quartet? That would be fun.
Sports editor Ryan Fitzgerald is graduating from the Independent to become social media editor at Boston Globe Media’s statnews.com.