Life Is Not A Spectator Sport. Play More. Watch Less.
I’m a little uncomfortable with the whole concept of spectator sports. Spectator sports is an oxymoron like government efficiency and well behaved children.
The truth of the matter is that spectator sports is pornography.
Not lock the office door, turn down he volume and clear the browser history pornography, but pornographic in the sense that we’ve idealized and objectified athletes in the same way we’ve idealized and objectified solid granite counter tops, exotic sports cars and Honey Boo Boo.
As a culture, we like to watch.
We crave heroes to worship and we lift athletes up as shining examples of what you can do if you put your mind, your heart and your back into it.
But we’ve taken their hard work and accomplishment and turned it into an excuse to sit around a 60 inch TV screen eating chips and drinking light beer. The blood and grass stains on their uniforms do not equate with the Cheetos stains on our fingers.
Our admiration suffocates our participation. We’d rather watch than play.
People who know how much I love playing hockey will often ask me why I don’t go to more NHL games and I always tell them the same thing:
“They don’t come watch me play. Why should I go watch them?”
It drives me crazy every year that our regular Sunday night hockey league is cancelled so everyone can stay home and watch a football game. I don’t get it.
Management consultants will tell you to learn the difference between your areas of concern and your areas of influence. Then concentrate your energies on things that you can affect.
Dale Carnegie tells us not to worry about things we can’t control.
And The Serenity Prayer asks for serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.
No matter how many times you wear your favorite player’s jersey inside out. No matter how loudly you yell at the screen. No matter how many times you call the idiot jerk on the sports talk show to set him straight. You have zero power to control, affect or influence the sports you’re watching on the tube.
Your area of influence is what happens in the 5 feet around you. With the 5 people around you. Your family. Your friends. Your business associates.
To the extent that watching sports can help you form a bond or sense of community with them, I’m all for it.
But you know what’s better for building bonds and community than watching other people do stuff? Actually getting off your ass and doing stuff yourself.
Do stuff with the people you love. Do stuff with the people you work with. Do stuff with people you want to work with.
Play More. Watch Less.
Turn off the TV and get in the game.
Terry Lancaster is the VP of Making Sh!t Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing. You can connect with Terry on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.