Note: If you like spending time watching sports and it doesn’t interfere with your other priorities, good for you! This isn’t about being Captain Buzzill here. I’m just sharing where I’ve saved a lot of time and broken some bad habits.
I watch very few sporting events for the same reason I don’t gamble. In absolute terms, the pain of losing $50 is much greater than the joy of winning $50. Same thing with sports: The joy of my team winning after a 3-4 hour investment is much less than the irritation of them losing. Same thing for college sports. Do I really want to let a mistake of some 20 year old on the playing field impact how much I enjoy my weekend?
And consider how in most leagues your team has a 1 in 30 chance of winning the championship. Even if you are as fortunate as I’ve been as a Lakers / Steelers fan (yeah!), you will still have many more losing years than winning years.
It used to be that your team could win a championship, then you’d read about it for a week or so in Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News and that would be it. Now you get many times the coverage of every lousy team every week than you used to get in a year. You can waste much more time than before.
And it isn’t just that these athletes don’t care about you as a person (given that they don’t even know you), it is that they often have contempt for you and your views. At the risk of using a cliche, there is way, way too much information about athletes now. The more I learn about what they think, the more I dislike them. Magic Johnson shilling for Obamacare? Kobe tweeting support for Jason Collins? (Yeah, because Kobe is the go-to guy for sexual mores, right?) The Steelers’ owner stumped extensively for Obama just because of his race? Ugh. And on and on.
So if you enjoy sports, that’s great. It can be a great way to spend time with family and friends. But I found one of the biggest savers of time and frustration ever by being very judicious about what I watch and read about.
Switching gears, how about sports participation? I’m a huge fan of exercise and its many benefits. We should all do at least a little exercise. But hobbies like golf can become their own gods if we aren’t careful. This was an excellent piece about putting golf in its place. I’ve known people who golfed both days every weekend then lived with the guilt of drug-addicted kids (possibly unrelated, but . . .). It is easy to pick on golf because I’ve only golfed twice, and those occasions were under duress (work outings). As I’ve always said, other than being too time-consuming, expensive and frustrating, golf is the perfect sport.
But before you golf lovers hate on me, I concede that our idol-factory minds can make gods of any hobby. The challenge is to keep whatever we do in perspective and do it for the right reasons.
So I encourage you to take a zero based budgeting approach with your sports time and see if it is in balance with what you want to accomplish in life.