I am not an athlete. Not even remotely. As a teenager I experienced delusions of athleticism, dabbling in both volleyball and basketball in middle school and early high school, but my two-handed shot and inability to spike were easily and quickly overshadowed by more skilled team mates. I also took a spin around the track a few seasons in high school (and by spin I mean I did the high-jump and long-jump), but I did that for a boy so it never really matter to me to be good My sport--though even I argue that my lack of talent decreases the likelihood that one can call it a sport--was cheerleading, primarily because cheerleaders at my high school were able to play in the band and band was a sport I could get behind. (If cheerleading is a sport, so is band. You march a trombone for a twelve minute field show and tell me how it's not more intense than sideline chants.)
No, I am not an athlete; however, I do admire athletes--the grace, the agility, the competition, the adrenaline. It all appeals to something carnal and competitive in me. I am definitely a fan of athletes. Sometimes, I find myself even a little envious of athletes. But mostly I'm just a fan. Of athletes--not sports, but athletes. I can go months without seeing a sporting event, but when I do take in a game it's the athletes, not the sport, I watch.
After all, sports would be nothing if not for the athletes.