Christopher Halajian Talks About Sports and His Hometown Hero Robert Lipsyte
Christopher Halajian was born and raised in Shelter Island, New York. As a native New Yorker, he has gotten used to the hustle and bustle of city life even if he did live on the island. Being a huge sports fan, he is interested in all aspects of it; not only the teams and games, but all of it—from sports channels to commentators, sport writers/journalists, and the occasional sports novelists. Being a local of Shelter Island, Christopher Halajian is particularly proud of Robert Lipsyte, a fellow New Yorker who now lives in Shelter Island. Christopher considers Robert Lipsyte his hometown hero.
If you’re not a fan of sports, particularly professional sports in the country, the name Robert Lipsyte may not ring a bell; but for hardcore fans like Christopher Halajian, Robert Lipsyte is not only a familiar name, he is a good and decent human being who is in a league of his own.
The unconventional sports writer
For Christopher Halajian, what sets Robert Lipsyte apart from other sports journalists is the way he regards sports, especially professional sports. From his perspective, professional sports are a “grotesque distortion of sports,” to borrow his words. It glorifies and celebrates champions more than the sport itself, and this perspective has inspired his unconventional approach to sports writing. Truth to tell, this perspective is what keeps Christopher Halajian grounded, at least in terms of how he “adores” his favorite New York teams. It’s actually the attitude of the players and their respect for their teams and their respective sports that have kept Christopher a loyal fan.
He does not argue that victories should be celebrated and that deserving players be named MVPs; but he does share the writer’s perspective about the sport and how it’s played as being more important than victories and losses.
In a word, it’s how you compete that’s more important than winning or losing. This perspective gave Christopher Halajian a fresh take on professional sports. He admits that there was a time when winning was his only focus where his teams are concerned; but Robert Lipsyte’s view of professional sports made Christopher appreciate football and basketball, and all kinds of sports even more—from both sides of the fence.
This perspective has also helped Christopher Halajian through the ups and downs of his life—comparing playing, winning and losing to running his own life. He finds Robert Lipsyte’s dogged determination to remain true to his beliefs inspiring. In a world where conformity is expected and those who go against the norm are shunned and isolated, Robert remained true to himself. Nowadays, in this age of entitlement and instant gratification, staying true to yourself has become a rare commodity.
Christopher Halajian encourages everyone to take the time to read Robert Lipsyte’s autobiography, “An Accidental Sportswriter” as well as “The Contender” and “Free to Be Muhammad Ali.”
Robert Lipsyte continues to write for their hometown paper, the Shelter Island Reporter.
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