I apologize in advance if this comes off as a rant. I don’t usually write Takes from a place of annoyance, but I honestly think it’s something some men and women need to hear.
It’s always an awkward moment when one guy in a group of guys admits that he doesn’t watch sports nor has any interest to do so in the future. Yet, I’d argue that it is the guys and girls who are super fans of sports teams that should be ashamed. Here’s why…
An entire culture…spectating
It’s not just sports that I should be going after, everyone works 9-12 hour work days and then goes home and either surfs the internet or watches television and movies. What are we generally doing in all these leisure activities? We’re watching someone else be great.
People don’t feel like doing things, they’re ok with watching other people do it. The problem I have with super fans is that have so much fun watching someone else make that amazing pass or score that incredible goal and on some level feeling like they are the ones doing it. Men often over identify with sports to such an extent that they lose themselves so that they can become athletes in their own imagination. The process happens subtly over time. One minute you’re watching enough games to remember player names and really get a great understanding of the game despite never playing it. Next you know you’re out of shape throwing on your home team’s jersey and saying “WE really need to focus if WE are going to win so no distractions while I’m watching the game.” This may be a touch extreme but it’s crazy to me what I hear come out of some guy’s mouth as if they are actually in anyway contributing to the success of their favorite team’s winning the game.
But so what? What’s wrong with pretending you’re an athlete? Well, as long as you’re pretending you’re escaping from the things you actually can be doing. You don’t feel the need to go to the gym and get as close to that athletic ability you pretend yourself having when you watch your favorite player race down the field. As wrong as it might be to say, you escape from the mediocrity of your own life—and while that is a huge value judgment, I think there’s a point to saying it because you could be so much more than you are do so much more than you are doing when you have that desire to be as good as your heroes.
When you’re a kid you go out and want to play soccer—you just want to play. You don’t want your assistant coach to make you watch the world cup on tv. That’s how it should be when you’re an adult. Yes, you watch and you learn from the players ability to push their bodies to amazing physical limits and that inspires you to find your own limits whether that be in sports itself, at your firm, in your relationship, whatever it is. But more often than not someone sits through a game and feels like “wow, I had quite a game today. That was a lot.” When really they’re not on the team, the team has nothing to do with them, and they did nothing.