Today is Super Bowl Sunday or, as some refer to it, just another Sunday.
When Beth and I were in Arizona, I watched one playoff game in Sedona (with Paul) and a second one in Goodyear (with Dave, Ann and Beth). This was the first time I’ve watched two consecutive football games in the 21st Century.
I was an avid fan in my teens and twenties when boyhood and sports were linked with alcohol, food and testosterone-fueled camaraderie. (In other words – good times!) So, I got right back into the fun and excitement of a great contest.
In my thirties, I moved away from spectator sports when we gave up broadcast television for a decade. As a father, I wanted to be involved in my kids’ lives, so I rarely took four hours away from my family to do anything with my guy friends.
For twenty five years, it was more likely for me to be watching a video of a Big Purple Dinosaur than a Big Blue (Giants) football game on TV.
I also became more aware of the brain and other bodily injuries that football players face and the way the owners, media and fans accept the violent nature of the game. In fact, I would regularly argue that football was a projection of permanent adolescence, an immature way for people to spend a Sunday. Of course, there is some truth in these opinions, but no one is forcing anyone to play or watch the game. Who was I to hold others guilty for enjoying a leisure time activity they liked? I bet they had more fun than I did watching Barney.
Because we don’t drink beer, eat wings or talk about sports, it’s unlikely for us to be invited to watch games. I think I miss it, though. When Gary invites us to a Yankee game, we have fun. When other friends have invited me to games, I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere of a ballpark, the drama of the competition and the escape from regular life.
Watching sports is not intellectually stimulating, for sure, but that’s the whole point. It’s a brief, necessary break from career, painting the bathroom, shopping for food, worrying about the next presidential election or who’s blowing up who around the world.
My friend, Peter, is an avid Red Sox fan. He refers to Fenway as “his sacred place.” When he took me to a game last year, he warned me that something amazing might occur just because we were there together.
What I did notice at Fenway (and I’ve seen it numerous times at Yankee Stadium) is a lot of really happy people generally treating one another well. Think about it – 60 or 75,000 people all in one outdoor place to have fun. That’s pretty awesome.
My decision to stop watching and enjoying professional sports is not irreversible. I can and might decide to care about reserving part of Sundays to sit back and enjoy watching people compete. Heck, I used to watch golf on TV and found it very meditative.
In ACA, we often speak of finding and taking care of our Inner Child and our Inner Adolescent. In my case, I used to play lots of games and watch them until I decided (in my adulthood) that watching and playing sports was no longer for me. Maybe millions of fans and almost as many pickleball players know something I’ve forgotten…
Play is good.